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Businessman, philanthropist, former head of government of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Ruben Vardanyan was detained by Azerbaijani special services on September 27, when he tried to leave Karabakh for Armenia. In Baku, he is accused of several crimes at once – financing terrorism and illegal border crossing. He faces up to 14 years in prison.
Armenia demanded that Azerbaijan provide information about where Vardanyan is now (a week has passed since his detention, but there has been no news about him since then). A rally was held in Yerevan on September 30 in support of the entrepreneur, and the other day Vardanyan’s children spoke appealwhere they called on world leaders, human rights activists and the media to help free their father.
Today, Russian cultural figures, entrepreneurs and scientists spoke out in support of the businessman. They signed an open letter in which they called for the release of Vardanyan, writes RBC.
“We appeal to everyone who has the power to achieve the release of Ruben Vardanyan. We urge him to be given the opportunity to reunite with his family and return to creative work for the benefit of people,” the letter says. More than 20 people signed the appeal. Among them are businessmen Mikhail Kusnirovich and Mark Kurtser, Natalia Solzhenitsyna, writer Evgeny Vodolazkin, directors Pavel Lungin and Alexander Sokurov, ex-director of the Pushkin Museum Marina Loshak, Nyuta Federmesser, dean of the economics department of Moscow State University Alexander Auzan and others.
Ruben Vardanyan is one of the founders of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, as well as the former head of the Troika Dialog company. In September 2022, he renounced Russian citizenship and left for Nagorno-Karabakh to head the government of the self-proclaimed republic. In February 2023, he was dismissed, but he remained in Stepanakert. And on September 19, 2023, Azerbaijan launched an “anti-terrorist operation” in the regions of Karabakh, which ended with the surrender of the unrecognized republic.
Photo: frame from video Ruben Vardanyan/Youtube