Armenian Election Rhetoric Grows Violent


At a June 8 rally in Aragatsotn province, Nikol Pashinyan recalled that when he came into power he did so promising that he would not carry out retributions against officials from the authoritarian regime he toppled.

Now, as he faces a difficult reelection campaign, his rhetoric has hardened, and he has promised a “vendetta” against his opponents.

Pashinyan is facing a large slate of challengers in the early elections, which were called after a long political crisis following the country’s disastrous defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan. The discourse has been heated from many sides.

This is not the first time Pashinyan has drawn criticism for his violent language. In September 2018, four months after coming to power, he threatened to “put on the asphalt” the bodyguards of oligarchs, a threat that became notorious. In April 2019, he expanded on the threat, telling “those who would try to solve problems with violence” that he would “not only put them on the asphalt but throw them against the wall.”

The country’s Ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, issued a statement on June 9 expressing concern over the campaign’s tense atmosphere: “This deepens the polarization in society and undermines the prospect of restoring solidarity in the country.”

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