An attempt to create a "Dove of Peace" from Vardanyan — Struggle over the wealth of the separatist billionaire-ANALYTICS

An attempt to create a "Dove of Peace" from Vardanyan — Struggle over the wealth of the separatist billionaire-ANALYTICS
# 24 April 2024 13:41 (UTC +04:00)

On April 8, strange information circulated regarding Armenian businessman Ruben Vardanyan. It was reported from Vardanyan's office that he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his services in "Advancing Peace Initiatives" and for his efforts in addressing the "humanitarian catastrophe" in Garabagh by some initiative group. The names of several influential individuals in that initiative group, including a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, were reported, although their identities were not disclosed.

This information raised many questions. Firstly, the composition of the initiative group and the non-disclosure of the members' names raised suspicions.

On the other hand, the arguments put forward by the initiative group to nominate a prominent figure like Ruben Vardanyan for the Nobel Peace Prize...

Because Ruben Vardanyan has never been involved in any peace initiatives regarding the Garabagh issue; on the contrary, he has played a significant role in radicalizing Armenian-origin residents of the region and rejecting constructive dialogues proposed by official Baku. On the other hand, he directly contributed to the artificial humanitarian crisis in Garabagh.

The anti-terrorism measures implemented on September 19-20, 2023, were indeed a logical consequence of Vardanyan's and those like him activities in Garabagh. Instead of accepting constructive dialogue, embracing Azerbaijan's offered integration plan, and creating conditions for Armenian-origin residents to accept Azerbaijani citizenship, Vardanyan continued to fuel hostility among the Armenian residents of Garabagh.

Ruben Vardanyan's illegal entry into Garabagh by renouncing his Russian citizenship in September 2022 highlighted this even more prominently. How could his assumption of the fictitious role of "minister" in a region unrecognized by any country and accepted globally as an integral part of Azerbaijan constitute a peace initiative?

On the contrary, from November 2022 to February 2023 - for more than 4 months - Vardanyan, working as the "minister" of the puppet regime in Garabagh, contributed negatively to the process of resolving the Garabagh issue. After Azerbaijan restored its customs and border control on the Lachin road, Vardanyan became one of the main architects of the artificial "humanitarian catastrophe" and "blockade show" created in Garabagh.

In Ruben Vardanyan's interviews and statements regarding the Garabagh issue, it is almost impossible to find any mention of "advancing peace initiatives". His statements consist solely of expressions aimed at escalating the situation.

Let's look at the facts.

On January 22, 2023, during his interview with BBC's "HardTalk" program, Ruben Vardanyan attempted to provoke Western audiences by making radical statements on behalf of the Armenian residents of Garabagh, portraying the actions of Azerbaijani eco-activists on the Lachin road as a "blockade", and trying to create the perception of a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Garabagh.

"We have said since the first day of the demand for independence: we understand and accept that we will live side by side, but we will be a separate territory, a separate state. We do not see ourselves as a part of Azerbaijan. "Artsakh" will not be a part of Azerbaijan, that is clear," Vardanyan said.

"We are sure that "Artsakh" should be independent and not part of Azerbaijan," he said in an interview with the Armenia service of Radio Liberty on May 23, 2023.

On May 29, 2023, Ruben Vardanyan made new radical statements. He reacted unacceptably to Azerbaijan's statement about the necessity for the Armenian residents of Garabagh to accept Azerbaijani citizenship. He described negotiations with Azerbaijan as unacceptable.

"It is no longer possible to continue the demagogy about supposedly defending the rights of Artsakh's people as a part of Azerbaijan. They want to destroy us or enslave us. The limit has been exceeded: either you stand up for Artsakh's defense, or you are against the entire Armenian people," Vardanyan said.

In his statements like this and others, it is impossible to find a call for peace, an initiative, or even a statement. What is the basis for trying to dress Vardanyan, who has been called to incite, prepare, and provoke the Armenian population against Azerbaijan into the costume of a "peace bird"?

Or regarding Vardanyan's supposed services in preventing the "humanitarian catastrophe" in Garabagh... After Azerbaijan restored control over the Lachin road, Vardanyan opposed the opening of the Aghdam-Asgaran-Shusha road, tried to create artificial tensions there, and played a key role in creating humanitarian problems for the Armenian residents of Garabagh.

"Everyone who speaks about using the Aghdam-Shusha road serves Azerbaijan's interests," Ruben Vardanyan said on July 19, 2023, while commenting on the blocking of the section of the Aghdam-Shusha road by radical separatists.

Vardanyan, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, directly applauded the prevention of the shipment of 40 tons of flour from the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society to Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian origin in Garabagh from Baku amidst the humanitarian catastrophe show in Garabagh. Is this how one opposes humanitarian catastrophe?

Another issue related to Vardanyan involves his involvement in illegal financial activities. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) noted in its 2019 investigation titled "The Troika Laundromat" that "Ruben Vardanyan, through his ownership of Troika Dialog, which was once Russia's largest investment bank, and through elaborate offshore companies created in the names of unsuspecting Armenian citizens, was implicated in laundering billions of dollars and profiting from various illegal operations." The investigation noted that the huge offshore network created by Vardanya carried out the circulation of billions of funds through banks belonging to the Russian Federation.

Associating the influential Nobel Prize with a figure like Vardanyan, whose business activities are entirely shady, is an example of absurdity.

The facts mentioned above alone indicate the groundlessness of the claims regarding Ruben Vardanyan's involvement in both peace initiatives and humanitarian activities; instead, they provide evidence of his skill as a financial trickster.

The group behind the idea of nominating Vardanyan for the Nobel Peace Prize also realizes the absurdity of this proposal. So, what is the purpose of spreading such information about Vardanyan and keeping him in the international spotlight?

The main reason is Ruben Vardanyan's wealth. According to information as of March 2024, the Vardanyan family possesses a fortune worth $1.1 billion. Considering that Ruben Vardanyan may not be able to lead his business empire in the coming years, it can be inferred that he is engaged in a struggle to access financial resources around his wealth. The emergence of suspicious, undisclosed groups behind the scenes, creating publicity around Vardanyan's name, is precisely the direct result of this struggle: how much money will people make from Vardanyan's wealth? Why not? As they say, 'directly permissible.'

It's no secret to anyone that Ruben Vardanyan's activity in Garabagh only serves to fuel separatist sentiments, escalation, and military confrontation. In this context, his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt aimed at making money.