At the end of May of the current year, the head of the puppet regime created in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Araik Harutyunyan appointed "ex-defense minister" Samvel Babayan as "secretary of the Security Council."
This appointment caused bewilderment among the Karabakh Armenians. Since the period of the Karabakh war, Babayan has a criminal reputation. In Babayan’s biography, there are not only military “merits” to the puppet regime, but also a ruthless struggle for power in an attempt to establish a dictatorship.
Babayan is implicated in dirty financial transactions and found to be abusive to business partners. The British journalist Thomas de Waal in his book "The Black Garden" described in detail the tricks of Babayan.
“Everyone who found himself on the path of Babayan risked being in Shusha prison and then redeeming himself for a huge bribe. One family father was required to bring any of his teenage daughters to Babayan. He forbade the daughters to leave the house, and he rushed to collect a ransom of five thousand dollars. This part of Babayan’s biography was the most disgusting. I was told that young women were afraid to go out in the evenings, because Babayan and his friends, in the manner of Lorenius Beria, slowly drove around the streets in a Mercedes in search of "booty,"" Thomas de Waal writes in his book.
This is only a small part of what made him leave Karabakh and settle in Russia. For the attempt in 1996 on the then head of the puppet regime Arkady Ghukasyan, Babayan was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but less than five years later, in 2004, he was pardoned. Samvel Babayan is one of those “Karabakh heroes” who noticeably improved their well-being as a result of the conflict, while hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis experienced unprecedented horrors of the war and its consequences.
After the four-day war of 2016, Babayan returned to Karabakh, where a small group of people demanded that he be appointed Minister of Defense. Considering that the "finest hour" had again come for him, Babayan did not behave like an ordinary soldier. He decided to take advantage of the discontent over the fact that the April war claimed many lives, and initiated the movement “Voice of the People” for his appointment to a leadership position. Local residents perceived such an attempt by Babayan to reanimate his political career as speculation on emotions.
In 2017, Babayan was detained on suspicion of smuggling the Igla air defense system. According to the press center of the National Security Service of Armenia, during the investigation, information was received that the persons who acquired and delivered parts of the air defense system to Armenia acted on the order of Samvel Babayan and in a preliminary conspiracy with him. Later, the Armenian special services reported that with the Igla air defense system it was planned to bring down the plane of the then President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. The trial court sentenced Babayan to six years in prison; the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence. However, after Nikol Pashinyan came to power, Babayan’s case is sent for further investigation, and as a result he is free. He again moved to Karabakh, declaring that he was not striving for power.
Only two years will pass and Babayan will declare his political ambitions, as well as his desire to become the “president” of the puppet regime. Having lost the “election”, the enemy of the Karabakh clan and protege Pashinyan, nevertheless, receives the post of “secretary of the Security Council” as a consolation prize. In addition, the United Homeland party led by Babayan won 9 seats in the parliament.
The appointment of protege Pashinyan to the post of “Secretary of the Security Council” essentially means that the Armenian authorities are not interested in a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. An active participant in the hostilities against Azerbaijan, guilty of murders of the peaceful Azerbaijani population, as well as of numerous crimes, including against Karabakh Armenians, Babayan became part of the ruling elite of the puppet regime. With this step, the Armenian authorities openly demonstrated their intentions to continue the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan.
In one of his interviews, Babayan stated that “de facto today Karabakh is part of Armenia” and it is no coincidence that the party he leads is called “United Homeland”. Thus, he made it clear that he is not a supporter of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the principles of international law and the preservation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Moreover, the appointment of Babayan gives Azerbaijan an excellent reason to discuss the true intentions of Armenia, on international platforms, to deliberately delay the negotiation process and consolidate the status quo. The Azerbaijani side can also take this opportunity to hold Babayan accountable for committed war crimes.
At the same time, despite the criminal background of Babayan, the Karabakh Armenians do not express their protest against his appointment. Have they forgotten his “exploits” in relation to their wives and daughters? The appointment of Babayan obviously will not bring anything good for the Karabakh Armenians, who will soon again recall the terrible days of his impunity for atrocities.