"Systemic" Problems Of Armenian Businessmen

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"Systemic" Problems Of Armenian Businessmen

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia - 19/9/2014

It has become common for any sensational events affecting people engaged in politics or in contact with political elites to become politicized. Early this week, the political subtext was found in the accusation against Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the owner of Sistema and Bashneft, one of Russia's richest men, of money laundering.
The house arrest of Yevtushenko was declared, based on the testimony of Igor Izmestyev, a Russian ex-senator who had earlier testified against Levon Ayrapetyan, one of the most active Armenian lobbyists and a rich businessman. The latter is suspected of acquiring Bashneft shares and legalizing funds gained illegally.
The "Armenian trace" in Sistema can be seen very explicitly. Robert Kocharyan, an Armenian ex-president, has been a member of the board of directors for years. Experts claim now that the problems of Sistema will affect the resources of Kocharyan in the internal political struggle in Armenia. Sistema has never had an office in Armenia, it had companies representing it there. Sistema owned 53.1% of the shares in MTS and 50.9% in Komstar-OTS. The latter companies were shareholders of Armenia's second largest mobile operator K-Telecom (a trademark of VivaCell-MTS) and internet provider Kornet-AM respectively.
Kocharyan, who has numerously declared his plans to return to Armenian politics, has no problems with Russian law. Levon Ayrapetyan, however, who has never officially been in politics, does have such problems.
The Armenian diaspora abroad is doing its best to politicize the case of Ayrapetyan, one of the world's richest Armenians. Activists of the diaspora have organized anti-Russian protests in European and American cities, and urged French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour to cancel a Moscow concert on October 3 as a symbol of solidarity with the businessman.
Areg Galstyan, a political analyst and Armenia expert, accused diaspora officials who were not efficient enough of politicizing the process: "If Baku and Ankara can order the arrest of one of the most influential Armenians in the world, it means that we have big problems and our diaspora all over the world is worth nothing."
Attempt to politicize the process went beyond sanity when it became clear that the Armenian public was not as worried about his fate as needed. "The great son of the Armenian people is in danger and the reaction should be immediate, support for Levon Ayrapetyan is the moral obligation of every Armenian, regardless of their residence and social status. Support should be moral and absolutely concrete. We need to evaluate the work of Mr. Ayrapetyan, as Armenians and need to say that "We are all Levon Ayrapetyans,"" urged Galstyan.
We can only hope that attempts to interfere with justice will only remain words. Everyone understands that only Themis can evaluate the actions of a citizen and decide ones fate.

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