Ruben Vardanyan, “military” prime minister for Nagorno-Karabakh
According to the ranking of Forbes magazine, which estimated his wealth at 1.3 billion dollars, the former Russian-Armenian banker, 54-year-old Ruben Vardanyan, took the post of Minister of State for Artsakh, which has an Armenian name. Karabakh, November 1. Publicity dictated by the urgency and gravity of the situation of the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan “War Cataclysm of 2020”he explains in an interview with a Russian dailyKommersant it was published the next day. Judging political scientist Tigran Grigoryan, considering his philanthropic activities in Armenia, his appointment was quite well received in Yerevan. But conspiracy theories about him often abound in Armenia: he could be a man from Moscow appointed by Vladimir Putin to bring the country back into his orbit, or some other dark plot. “I do not believe that he is a person from the Kremlin the political scientist continues. He never took part in the political life of Russia. »
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The founder of Troika Dialog, a very popular investment bank in Moscow in the 1990s, which was forced to sell in 2013 to Sberbank, Russia’s first state-owned bank, for $1.4 billion, Vardanyan has since become a philanthropist in his country. origin, Armenia. He invested in tourism there, notably building the world’s longest cable car, which provides access to the magnificent monastery of Tatev. But at the same time, in 2014, he opened an international college in Dilijan, in the north of Armenia, which accepts scholars from all over the world. Always aloof from politics, he surprised with his loud announcement on September 1 that he renounced his Russian citizenship and settled in Nagorno-Karabakh, which he said was a matter of responsibility. After the military victory of Azerbaijan, the ceasefire signed in November 2020 under the auspices of Russia determines the loss of 80% of the enclave territory to Armenians since the 1990s and the dangerous status quo for 120,000 people. Karabakh”, provided by 2,000 Russian “peacekeepers”.
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About his new position as the head of the Artsakh government, which is not recognized by Baku, Vardanyan explains that he had no choice: Karabakh, “c.t is really the cradle of not only Armenian civilization, but also Christian civilization. One of the rare places where Armenians have lived for thousands of years. Unfortunately, most of the other sites were lost in Western Armenia [l’Anatolie] for example. It is very difficult to be a permanent refugee, to live in a situation where your roots and your grave are destroyed. However, he continues, the loss of this enclave, which Azerbaijan wants to reintegrate without giving special status or rights to its Armenian population, ” loses one of its bases »for the Armenian world, a diaspora scattered in 120 countries, including Russia and the United States after the 1915 genocide, as well as a millennial anchor in Syria, Georgia, Iran and Artsakh. “Leaving the land is the end of the story. sighs. His program? “ In this extraordinary and very dangerous situation, first of all, it is necessary to ensure the safety of the population, who must be able to feed themselves and educate their children. People here stay. We see many young people and children. Artsakhs have always been true warriors, ready to fight without fear of danger. »
His work is of no importance to him. ” In today’s conditions, we are all soldiers who have to protect the motherland, Ruben Vardanyan explains. Regardless of our differences, we must all come together. This is our responsibility. He assures us that the diaspora will be called upon to increase the profitability of agriculture in particular. Former banker compyou “must create an Artsakhtsi team as soon as possible so that people can see their future here thanks to new technologies and transparency”. Transparency is a word that frequently comes up in the speech of the new head of government and clearly targets the corrupt practices of local officials. ” After such a cataclysm, people want a change of leadership and are ready for tough decisions if they are sure that everything is open, transparent and fair. “, he adds.
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“We can do it,” Vardanyan was asked after the meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev organized by Vladimir Putin in Sochi on October 31. Decide the fate of Artsakh without consulting the population. This is unacceptable to me “. President Aliyev, taking into account that this issue remained unresolved at the Sochi meeting, ” The Karabakh issue is being resolved, and Armenians who want to stay will only have to live as citizens of Azerbaijan “. In his opinion, it is absurd: They cannot say that there is no problem, because there are about 120,000 people living in Karabakh with passports other than their own, with laws other than their own. And they will not be able to solve this problem by force: Baku does not need more victims. “.
It was then that the former banker revealed his experience as a negotiator. “If you have a noble and ambitious goal and you are 100% committed, everything succeeds” he smiled. In his opinion, except that the peaceful coexistence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Karabakh will be a long-term task. “The negative image that has been formed in the neighborhood for years and relies on Armenophobia is huge. We will have to convince them that it is in their interest to live next to us and not to destroy us.. Vardanyan considers it necessary for Russia to have another force in order to reach a compromise that allows for this coexistence. several decades “. In any case, the appointment of Ruben Vardanyan as the head of the cabinet, which is not recognized by Baku, did not go unnoticed. Several ultra-nationalist Azeri bloggers have already called for his destruction…