Hetq recently reported that several business tycoons/oligarchs have not donated to the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund this year. The money is slated to go towards restructuring projects in Shushi, located in Nagorno-Karabagh. Apparently Armenia’s wealthiest don’t care about rejuvenating their country anymore.
Here’s what the article revealed:
At a press conference today, All Armenia Fund Director Ara Vardanyan disclosed the names of some famous Armenian politicians who did, or did not contribute, to this year’s Telethon. Mr. Vardanyan noted that former RoA President Robert Kocharyan, as in years past, had pledged an amount equal to one month of his salary. He failed to note the amount, however. The former president’s son, Sedrak Kocharyan, is said to have donated 1 million AMD.
Regarding the contribution made by current RoA President Serzh Sargsyan, Mr. Vardanyan noted that the amount was included in the $8,100 pledged by the presidential staff office. Again, Mr. Vardanyan stated that he didn’t know the exact amount. He did say that Sashik Sargsyan, the president’s brother, had not made a pledge this year.
Mr. Vardanyan stated that there was no pledge from businessman Gagik Tsarukyan this year. He had pledged $2 million in 2008. “I haven’t talked to Mr. Tsarukyan yet, so there’s sa chance he will make a donation as well,” Mr. Vardanyan noted.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the RoA’s first president was also noted as not having made a pledge to this year’s Telethon.
Um, former Armenian president Robert Kocharian is from Karabagh, and as anyone who follows Armenian politics knows he was the president of the self-declared independent republic in the 1990s. He is known to have a stake in Vivacell, which is likely the most popular cellular telecommunications provider in Armenia. His son is the reputed exclusive importer of Toyota passenger vehicles–virtually all police cars cruising Armenia’s roads have been upgraded to Corollas. He also purportedly is the official reseller of Nokia mobile devices, and they don’t come cheap. Kocharian senior is officially making an estimated 320,000 dram ($831) monthly salary, which is the amount he donated. How generous of him.
Presdient Sarkisian as everyone knows is also from Karabagh, and he has considerable business ventures of his own, as do his brothers not only in Armenia but in the US as well. You’d think they would have a significant sum of money to donate towards rebuilding Shushi, which is so sacred to Armenians as a cultural center. Obviously not.
Levon Ter-Petrossian led the Karabagh Committee in the late 1980s and started the movement for self-determination of Armenians living there. As a result he was elected the first president of the Armenian republic. Why the hell isn’t he donating anything?
Armenia’s most user-friendly and congenial oligarch Gagik Tsarukian, who owns everything bearing the “Multi” name from sour cream to cement, has been investing in Bulgaria of all places. Seems like he’s making preparations for the worst case scenario by diversifying his capital, whatever he thinks that is.
RFE/RL also revealed some interesting information in an article that was published on Wednesday. It had me fuming after I finished reading it. It shows how cheap, how utterly unpatriotic these oligarchs are.
I can’t believe for a second that the world financial crisis is to blame for their refraining from making generous donations. The crisis in the Armenian financial sector has been played up to the hilt. Along with the $1.6 billion cash influx in emergency loans is a significant rise in luxury vehicles, swanky restaurants and yes, new construction projects for “elite” apartment buildings.
These guys have plenty of cash. Why do they refuse to build up Shushi? It’s on historic Armenian land, and Armenians lost thousands of lives to call it their own. Shushi as anyone who has traveled there knows is in a pitiful state, with no industry, poor infrastructure and no job opportunities. Less than 5,000 people are estimated to be living there now. What will $15.8 million in donations really accomplish there?