Zaruhi Postanjian, an outspoken opposition parliamentarian, hit back at Armenia’s post powerful security agency on Wednesday after it accused her of calling for a violent overthrow of the government, a criminal offense under Armenian law.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the National Security Service (NSS) warned that it will counter more such calls with “all legal means” at its disposal. It did not elaborate
The NSS referred to Postanjian’s speech delivered on Friday during heated parliamentary debates on President Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial plans to amend Armenia’s constitution. Postanjian, who is a leading member of the opposition Zharangutyun party, urged Armenians to respond to the constitutional reform process by toppling Sarkisian. She also described the NSS headquarters in downtown Yerevan as an Armenian “Bastille” that should be demolished.
Postanjian denounced the NSS statement, calling it a government attempt to “persecute” her. “It’s evident that the authorities were terrified by my statement because there is a really revolutionary situation in Armenia right now and any appeal against this authoritarian regime poses a danger to them,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“If they have the courage to again start a war against me, I’m ready for such a war,” added the 43-year-old mother of four known for her harsh criticism of Armenia’s leadership.
Postanjian also clarified that she did not advocate a physical destruction of the NSS building. She said it should be turned into a “museum” honoring scores of people who were executed in the 1930s and 1940s by the Armenian branch of the Soviet NKVD secret police, of which the NSS is the successor.
Levon Zurabian, the parliamentary leader of another opposition party, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), drew parallels between the wording of the NSS statement and the NKVD rhetoric. “It’s a caricature of the ruling regime,” Zurabian said of the statement. He went on to accuse the NSS of illegally meddling in a political process.
By contrast, the security agency’s warning was strongly backed by Vahram Baghdasarian, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party. He said that Postanjian deserves punishment for her “provocative” statements that “discredit our country.”
“Such individuals must be dealt with very seriously because such statements are dangerous for our state,” Baghdasarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).