February 26
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Former commander of the Defense Army of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Samvel Babayan responded to questions regarding his relationship with the Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sassoun) Party, Vitaly Balasanyan’s statement and the presidential elections of Artsakh and other questions in an interview with Armenian

Armenian Mr. Babayan, you say Artsakh has to be a part of Armenia, the Sasna Tsrer Party has launched a process to turn Artsakh into a province of Armenia. Vitaly Balasanyan has declared that whoever says Artsakh should be a province of Armenia should not cross the border.

Samvel Babayan: Artsakh has to be a part of Armenia in the future. As far as Zhirayr Sefilyan’s statement is concerned, I recommend that he and his supporters read the four UN Resolutions carefully. I have met with Sefilyan and clearly stated my opinion. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. By uniting Artsakh with Armenia, Yerevan will become fully responsible. The adversary might unleash a war and Armenia might make advancements, while the UN might convene a session and decide to punish Armenia. This is why I consider this subject closed for now. Nobody wants Karabakh to be a part of Armenia more than I do, but there are political issues that you can’t publicly talk about. I don’t think it’s right in this stage.

As far as Vitaly Balasanyan’s opinion is concerned, he is the one who believes he can speak on behalf of the people. We’ll hold a petition and see if the people want citizens of Karabakh and Armenia to have the right to get elected in Artsakh or not. If they say they do, then people like Vitaly Balasanyan and the rest can sit down and be quiet. Nobody can speak on behalf of the people.

Armenian You said they were trying to hinder the petition that you had initiated to have an opportunity to run in the presidential elections. What are the authorities afraid of?

Samvel Babayan: We have addressed the electoral commission with this issue. Our actions will be clear when we receive a response. I don’t recommend the authorities to have hopes that they can refuse to register me. I talk to the people and see that they are rebelling, and this will lead to a negative outcome. If the authorities are doing this, it means they have a serious problem. I want to be law-abiding, but the people might rebel. The people are ready for anything, but I don’t want to see turbulence in our country.

Armenian The presses wrote that a member of the Sasna Tsrer Party had met with you and offered to not run in the elections and endorse the party’s candidate instead.

Samvel Babayan: Nobody has met with me, nobody has offered and can’t offer me anything. It’s not easy to offer me something. Let them participate with their candidate. I met with Zhirayr Sefilyan eight months ago, but we didn’t talk about that. The presses are constantly trying to link me to the Sasna Tsrer Party. There are members of the political party who support me, but I recommend those who link the Sasna Tsrer Party to me to not waste time because it’s not going to work out.

Armenian You once declared that the adversary committed sabotage in 2016. Do you still think so?

Samvel Babayan: My position remains unchanged. What happened on the night of 1 April and in the morning of 2 April was sabotage. Later, when the adversary seized the military positions and the developments unfolded, it turned into a war. If there was a high level of discipline at those military positions, those positions wouldn’t be surrendered. This is brilliantly evidenced by the results of the forensic-medical expert examination. Baku brought new troops on 3-4 April 2016, and if a large-scale operation was envisaged, nothing like that would happen.

Knkush Hovhannisyan

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