What Line Was Crossed in Artsakh?


Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan is visiting Artsakh where he has scheduled meetings with President Bako Sahakyan, the speaker, heads of parliamentary groups and members of Artsakh parliament on February 8-10.

Ararat Mirzoyan’s visit happens against interesting developments. The point is about the statement of the former minister of defense of Artsakh Samvel Babayan which is his “application” for the presidential election in Artsakh in 2020 and he said he intends to start a petition for his nomination.

Not only did Samvel Babayan announce about his intention to run in the presidential election in Artsakh but also he made allegations against the Artsakh government. There was not only allegations about Serzh Sargsyan’s discussion on territorial concessions and the silence on this but also a hint addressed to Bako Sahakyan.

Answers to the “territorial allegations” of Samvel Babayan were heard from Artsakh and the spokesperson for the president of Artsakh stated that the relations between Bako Sahakyan and Samvel Babayan, like relations between any two citizens, can only be regulated by law.

Samvel Babayan stated that in his meeting with Bako Sahakyan last year he proposed him to draw a line in the past. He said now we’ll see whether Bako Sahakyan will draw the line or not. What line is Babayan speaking about? He did not go into detail. Instead he said he has to run for president. He said he does not meet the requirement of being a permanent resident for ten years but he will use the constitutional possibility of running through the signatures of 10% of the public. Babayan says in this context that he will see whether the government of Artsakh will set obstacles or not.

This tone of Samvel Babayan’s speech is interesting indeed. Why is he immediately mentioning the presumption that he will be hindered, at the same time making “concession” allegations against the Artsakh government, including his possible competitors the ex-prime minister Arayik Harutyunyan or the Security Council Secretary Vitaly Balasanyan who have also stated about their intention to run in the election.

Was Samvel Babayan’s offensive, aggressive, judgmental claim the answer to Bako Sahakyan’s failure to keep an agreement reached last summer, a so-called “drawn line”.

Having appeared in freedom after the velvet revolution Samvel Babayan left for Artsakh where he stated after the meeting with Bako Sahakyan that he has no political ambitions.

What has changed that he makes a statement full of allegations? Or maybe Bako Sahakyan has not breached the agreement but Babayan has learned that there is such intention. In this case, why not meet with Sahakyan again?

After all, Bako Sahakyan could have doubts that Samvel Babayan breached the agreement. And can they doubt, for example, that he has an agreement with Robert Kocharyan who may be dissatisfied that the government of Artsakh is not defending him with sufficient enthusiasm. Hence, could Robert Kocharyan make a deal with Samvel Babayan?

Or maybe the Armenian government could make a deal with Babayan. The president of Artsakh will try to clarify this during his meeting with the speaker of parliament of Armenia. On the other hand, Babayan’s statement reminds Nikol Pashinyan that back in July 2016 he clearly expressed his opinion on Robert Kocharyan.

Samvel Babayan did not specify what he told Pashinyan about Kocharyan during the dramatic days in July 2016 but this statement allows concluding that what he said was not so positive and Babayan reminds Pashinyan about it to ensure that Pashinyan does not perceive his statements on his likelihood to run in the presidential election in Artsakh as a possible game with Robert Kocharyan.

What turn will the developments take in the result of Ararat Mirzoyan’s visit to Artsakh? Will there be a need for Nikol Pashinyan’s stance or will Pashinyan demonstrate to the international community with the existing process of negotiations that the Armenian government gives up on the mandate and tradition of forming government in Artsakh.

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