In 1994, Nikol Pashinyan began his career as a journalist, working for several daily newspapers like 'Newspaper Day' and 'Molorak' ('Planet'), and worked as the Chief Editor of the 'Oragir' ('Diary'/'Blog') daily between 1998 and 1999. After 'Blog' was closed by the authorities in 1999, Pashinyan, with his own efforts, established the new daily newspaper, 'Haykakan Zhamanak', which is seen as a logical continuation of the 'Blog' daily.
He remained the chief editor of 'Haykakan Zhamanak' till the Armenian presidential election protest of March 1, 2008, following which he went into hiding, giving the post to Anna Hakobyan. After his release from prison, he briefly served as the chief editor in 2011 before leaving the post due to being elected as MP in May 2012.
He was politically aligned with Armenia's first president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who served his term from 1991 to 1998, and supported him when he decided to run during the February 2008 presidential elections. After Ter-Petrosyan lost to Republican Party chairman Serzh Sargsyan in a disputed vote, he led a series of mass protests against voting fraud.
The Armenian security forces violently dispersed the protesters, attacking them with guns and grenades while they were sleeping, according to witnesses, and claimed that they were thwarting an attempted coup. The death of 10 people during the handling of the protesters by the security forces caused Pashinyan to call for a proper investigation into the deaths and appropriate punishment.
During a crackdown on the opposition, Ter-Petrosyan was captured at Freedom Square and put under house arrest, but Pashinyan was able to go into hiding and remain underground for several months. In a later interview to a state-run TV channel, he mentioned that it was "shameful" that the National Security Service could not locate him while he spent most of the time hiding in Yerevan.
After the authorities announced that the political prisoners detained during the March 1, 2008 protests will be offered general amnesty, he came out of hiding and surrendered himself to Armenian police on July 1st, 2009. However, he had to spend nearly two years in prison till the amnesty measure was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia, amidst continuous anti-government protests, in late May 2011.
On May 31, 2011, soon after his release, he took part in an Armenian National Congress rally hosted by amnestied ANC supporters. There he mentioned that snap elections were the only possible option for restoring Armenians' confidence in their government.
Along with six other politicians and activists, he started a new political group called Civil Contract on December 9, 2013. The group sought to force Serzh Sargsyan to resign and Pashinyan confirmed that the group will take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
On April 22, 2018, Sargsyan issued a veiled threat to Pashinyan mentioning that he should have learned from the March 1, 2008 incident. The threat was interpreted as a confession of his involvement in the killings. According to opposition activist Mikayel Hovhannisyan, the president's ill-advised reference was like a rallying call even for people who had never been to a demonstration to come forward in support of the protesters.
Pashinyan, heading the 'Merzhir Serzhin' (or reject Serzh) campaign, staged a number of anti-government protests. It sparked a chain of protests and marches against Sargsyan's third consecutive term as the most powerful figure in the government of Armenia.
Serzh Sargsyan finally resigned on April 23, 2018 amidst rising opposition protests, and the government soon crumbled down. First, Deputy Prime Minister was appointed as the Acting Prime Minister, but within a couple days, Pashinyan's allies revealed his intention to become the interim Prime Minister as the candidate "chosen by the people".
His first attempt for the position was rejected in the parliament on May 1, 2018 as all representatives of the Republican Party, except for Feliks Tsolakyan, voted him down. However, on his second attempt on May 8, 2018, he gained the backing of the ruling Republican Party and won his premiership bid by 42 out of 59 votes.
Nikol Pashinyan luckily survived from an accident that exploded his car parked just outside the 'Haykakan Zhamanak' office in downtown Yerevan on November 22, 2004, at 8:40 pm. While the police quickly closed investigations, reporting mechanical issues, Pashinyan claimed that it was an assassination attempt orchestrated by wealthy businessman, Gagik Tsarukyan, whom he had accused of illegally cutting trees to build a resort.
On the January 20, 2015 issue of his daily newspaper, 'Haykakan Zhamanak', he published black images instead of a photo, advertisement and crossword. He did this to mourn the death of 6-month-old Seryozha Avetisyan, the seventh victim of the mass murder of the Avetisyans family which had happened a week ago on January 12, 2015.