The president of Nagorno-Karabakh, Bako Sahakian, insisted on Monday that he is unaware of the existence of anti-government forces which Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said are plotting conspiracies and treasonous acts in Karabakh.
Pashinian charged earlier in the day that “specific forces representing the former corrupt system” are “using their corrupt connections to carry out false propaganda against the Armenian government and the prime minister” in Karabakh. He suggested that they are intent on provoking a war with Azerbaijan, losing “some territories” to the enemy and blaming that defeat on his government.
“I consider it as an activity equivalent to high treason, and as prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, as the guarantor of Artsakh’s security … I will take the toughest measures to expose and root out such conspiracy intentions,” added Pashinian. He did not name names or elaborate on those measures.
Commenting on Pashinian’s statement, Sahakian said: “If there are such figures and forces then we must expose them, and if they do have such intentions then I too will characterize that as treason.”
“I have no information that there are individuals and forces preparing such treasonous actions,” the Karabakh leader told reporters in the Armenian parliament.
The secretary of Sahakian’s national security council, retired General Vitaly Balasanian, and Pashinian’s spokesman Vladimir Karapetian, traded bitter recriminations earlier this month. Balasanian began the war of words when he criticized the authorities in Yerevan for not heeding Karabakh leaders’ calls for the release of Robert Kocharian, Armenia’s Karabakh-born former president facing coup charges.
A court in Yerevan ordered Kocharian’s release from custody on Saturday after Sahakian and his predecessor Arkadi Ghukasian guaranteed the ex-president’s “adequate behavior” in writing. The court order angered Pashinian’s allies and supporters.
Pashinian blasted judges and vowed a “surgical intervention” in the Armenian judiciary at an emergency meeting with senior state officials held on Monday. He attacked the alleged treasonous forces at the same meeting.
Incidentally, the Armenian police stopped and tried to search a car carrying Balasanian just outside Yerevan late on Sunday. A police spokesman said they suspected that there were illegally possessed weapons in the car. He said the Karabakh official was not the target of the police action.