|Born||5 March 1959|
Askeran, NKAO, Azerbaijan SSR
|Service/||Artsakh Defense Army|
|Years of service||1990—2005|
|Commands held||Artsakh Defense Army|
|Battles/wars||First Nagorno-Karabakh War|
Vitaly Balasanyan (Armenian: Վիտալի Բալասանյան, born March 5, 1959), was the secretary of the National Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh, a former presidential candidate and retired Major General.
From 1977 to 1979 he served in the Soviet Army and subsequently lived and worked in his native Askeran. In February 1988, Balasanyan participated in the first violent incident of the Karabakh conflict, when an Azerbaijani column attempted to march from Agdam and Stepanakert, but was stopped at Askeran with fights breaking out.
In 1990 Balasanyan was elected commander of Askeran region's self-defense and in December 1991 member of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Artsakh. He led the defense of Askeran between 1992 and 1993, in June–July 1993 was a key commander in the Battle of Aghdam and subsequent fighting as commander of the Askeran defense district. In 1997, Balasanyan became the first commander of the newly established Mardakert mountain-rifle division and in 1999 promoted to deputy minister of defense of the Republic of Artsakh in charge of veterans' affairs. Balasanyan earned the rank of major general in 2000 and in 2002 became the 8th person to be awarded the title of Hero of Artsakh.
Balasanyan retired from the military in 2005 and was elected to NKR National Assembly as a candidate for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Dashnaktsutyun. From 2007 to 2010 he was an Adviser to the President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan and was re-elected to parliament in 2010. In 2011 he received a degree from the Armenian State University of Economics.
In 2012, Balasanyan was the main challenger to Bako Sahakyan in the 2012 NKR Presidential Elections. He received some 33 percent of the vote. Balasanyan was re-elected to parliament for the fourth time in 2015.
After the start of 2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes he helped coordinate Armenian defense in Askeran direction, where he was previously a commander, rising to social media prominence after a series of interviews.
In November 2016, Balasanyan was appointed secretary of the National Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh.
Balasanyan was a presidential candidate in the 2020 Artsakhian general election. He finished third with 7.98% of the vote.
|Artsakh||Order of the Combat Cross of the First Degree|
|Artsakh||Hero of Artsakh|
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