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Ruben Vardanyan of ‘Troika Laundromat’ fame consents to become prime minister of breakaway Artsakh Republic
The entrepreneur and investor Ruben Vardanyan has consented to become the new head of government in the breakaway Republic of Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh). Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan has supposedly offered the post to Vardanyan earlier this month.
This news article has been corrected. An earlier version said that Vardanyan would become the new president of Artsakh, but that was incorrect. Meduza apologizes for the mistake.
Vardanyan, in turn, said that he would assume his duties in Artsakh in early November. “I shall then outline our strategic goals and priority tasks that lie ahead; I’ll also report on the first steps we’re taking,” he wrote on his Telegram channel.
In early September, Vardanyan announced that he had moved to Artsakh and renounced Russian citizenship.
Realizing all the risks I was assuming, I made the decision to renounce Russian citizenship and to move to Artsakh as an Armenian subject. This decision did not come easily to me, but it is right.
Vardanyan also spoke of creating the Artsakh Security and Development Front, an organization tasked with advancing the agenda of the currently unrecognized state.
Ruben Vardanyan is the former owner of the Troika Dialog investment company and founder of the Skolkovo business school. In 2021, Forbes estimated his worth to be a billion dollars, ranking him 116 among Russia’s 200 richest people.
In 2019, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) published a series of investigations about Vardanyan and his “Troika Laundromat,” tracing $4.5 billion in hidden transfers to Russia’s most influential people.
In September 2022, hostilities resumed on the Armenia–Azerbaijan border. Each side blamed the other for the escalation, and more than 200 people were killed, according to official reports. Clashes of varying intensity continued in October.
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