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Vardanyan must be behind bars

Vardanyan must be behind bars

Ruben Vardanyan, an Armenian businessman, and former Minister of State of the Karabakh region is sitting in an Azerbaijani prison, where a trial is underway against him in Azerbaijan.  He also faces charges from the state of Ukraine since he was arrested on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. Some people are not familiar with Vardanyan’s political and criminal actions and therefore do not understand why a man who is considered a philanthropist, a politician who returned to his native country and shows concern for his people is sitting in prison under conditions that can be difficult. But Vardanyan deserves a long prison term for the actions he did when he roamed the earth freely.  

In his youth, Vardanyan studied economics and even served in the Soviet army in the regions of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Vardanyan is Armenian by origin but lived for many years in Russia. After graduating, Vardanyan slowly began to enter the field of financial investments. But Vardanyan was not satisfied with his money and began to profit illegally from trading and investing in the capital market, or using less official language – he began to launder money.

It is important to note that today Vadanyan’s business companies (or those owned or managed by him in the past) are subject to Western economic sanctions. This is how Vardanyan managed to get rich at a very high level until eventually, he entered Russian politics. He was involved mainly in government financial management committees (it’s not just junior committees, but committees that affect the Russian economy) and the Russian Industrialists’ forum. With the help of Vardanyan’s fortune, he was able to advance in his public positions in Russia, until finally, he was able to enter the limited circle of close associates of the President of Russia – Vladimir Putin.

Vardanyan is considered one of the richest people in Russia and his money has done Putin a great service. With the help of Vardanyan’s huge fortune, he used to take care of laundering money for Putin and his close people, according to their demands and needs. Money laundering was so associated with him that Vardanyan’s nickname became “Putin’s wallet”, indicating the huge amount of money that passed between these two men.  

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which caused the beginning of Western pressure on Russia and Putin’s regime, Vardanyan realized that it was not safe for him to stay in Russia, so he left the country where he became rich and renounced his Russian citizenship. The reason for this is a move to escape the Western sanctions imposed on the senior officials of the Russian regime after the invasion of Ukraine.

Vardanyan is probably the oligarch with the most luck, or with good friends in the West because most of the oligarchs and rich people who renounced their Russian citizenship and fled Russia after the war started lost their assets, businesses, and bank accounts connected to the land of Russia. The reason for this is of course the Western sanctions designed to delay and slow down Putin’s men.

Ruben Vardanyan kept his fortune from the West. After escaping from Russia he returned to his homeland Armenia and after declaring many times over the years that he had no political ambitions, he entered Armenian politics. On top of that, he even declared a dream to run for the country’s presidency. Vardanyan was appointed Minister of State in the separatist government in Karabakh, although his only connection to the politically and sovereignly disputed land is the fact that Vardanyan is of Armenian descent and holds Armenian citizenship. Later the motive for this political move was discovered, and it is the Kremlin from Moscow. Vardanyan was sent to Armenia to be Putin’s Russian branch in the region, to direct Armenia’s political policy to Putin’s needs.  

As mentioned, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the West imposed economic sanctions against Putin’s Russian regime, including blocking trade routes of essential products which also include weapons. Therefore, Russia had to find a way to transfer to its territory the weapons products it needed for the war, without being exposed to the eyes of the West. For this, Vardanyan was sent to Armenia, which turns out to be a major exporter of essential chips for advanced weapons, exactly what Russia lacked after the imposition of sanctions.

It seems that Vardanyan has entered with all his might into the Russian-Iranian-Armenian axis, where he works behind the scenes for his master in the Kremlin. Iran supplies Russia with suicide drones, Armenia supplies Russia with essential chips for advanced weapons, and transports through its territory the weapons that the Iranians send to Russia. Without Vardanyan, this entire logistical system would not exist and work as efficiently as it does these days. Vardanyan has an active part in the destruction that is happening to Ukraine and its citizens Since the Russian invasion, Vardanyan has faced accusations in Ukraine and the state institutions want him to be in prison for his actions against the country.

But Vardanyan was actually arrested by the Azerbaijani military forces at the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia after he tried to escape from Karabakh to the territory of sovereign Armenia. Azerbaijan accuses Vardanyan of sabotaging the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, crossing the border illegally, financing terrorism and personally dealing with Armenian terrorism directed towards Azerbaijan.

According to evidence, Vardanyan used to cross the border of Karabakh (the province is considered Azerbaijani territory from an international legal point of view) illegally to supply separatist gangs with money and ammunition to be used against the Azerbaijani army. The amount of weapons that the Armenian separatists received from Vardanyan is so great that to this day they continue to find the weapons he donated to them. Vardanyan never denied these claims, and even more so. More than once Vardanyan has been caught threatening the Azerbaijani government, asserting the rights of the Armenians and presenting views that even Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claims are extreme.

Vardanyan openly glorified the Armenian terrorists who carried out Operation Nemesis, in which many senior Azerbaijani officials were murdered, and also threatened: “Anything can happen to the government of Azerbaijan.” As mentioned, Vardanyan served as Minister of State of the separatist government in Karabakh, but four months after his appointment in Armenia they gave in to the Azerbaijani demand to fire him. The demand was part of Azerbaijan’s list of demands to end the siege of the Armenian enclave in Karabakh, so he was dismissed from his post but vowed to remain living and working in the region.    

Vardanyan is a dangerous man, extremist in his nationalist views, funds terrorism, belongs to the circle of dark people, you can call him “one of the enemies of the West” and a financial criminal in addition to everything. This is a man the people of the world should be glad is behind bars, where he should stay.




Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and the editor of the Economic Peace Center, which was established by Ayoob Kara, who served as Israel's Communication, Cyber and Satellite Minister. For close to a decade, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iran, and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.