Today.Az » Politics » Unwary of impending threat, Kremlin man in Azerbaijan's Karabakh goes all out to steal thunder
27 December 2022 [14:06] - Today.Az
By Sabina Mammadli
On December 25, several hundred separatists with the blood of innocent Azerbaijanis on their hands took to the streets of Khankandi in protest at the ongoing picket of Azerbaijani eco-activists on the Lachin road.
Since December 12, the Azerbaijani eco-activists have been demanding unimpeded access to monitoring of mineral resources deposits in Karabakh under the temporary control of the Russian peacekeeping contingent though the latter in concert with the local separatists is obstructing the rightful demand.
Amid growing pressure and in a desperate effort to save his drowning business and prove his attachment to the region by the Kremlin was a right move, the so-called “first minister of Karabakh,” Ruben Vardanyan, utilized all last resources to ensure a high turnout in the rally.
Reportedly, local separatists did not hesitate to go as far as intimidating the locals, threatening them with dismissals from their jobs and ousting from the region if they refused to attend their illicit protest. Moreover, Vardanyan and his pack offered $30-40 dollars, free internet, and gasoline to those who would attend the rally.
Those who gathered in the center of the city chanted various slogans, composed in advance by ringleaders of the separatists. It is beyond any doubt that the illegal presence of criminal elements on the sovereign land of Azerbaijan automatically makes it a legitimate target for the Azerbaijani army, which definitely doesn’t favor the billionaire.
For Vardanyan, Khankandi is the starting point for a career in Yerevan’s political ladder, where he was assigned with the rehabilitation of the "Karabakh clan" and the return of all tools of influence on both domestic and foreign policy. Surely, a big part of his financial concern consists of protecting the interests of his numerous offshore companies that are currently plundering natural resources, to be precise, gold and copper-molybdenum mines of Azerbaijan.
The west, which is so eager about its support of Karabakh Armenians, blaming Baku for the alleged blockage of Lachin road, should pay more attention to the backstage details of Vardanyan's companies.
In this vein, Vallex Group, a monopolist of the Armenian metallurgical industry, signed an agreement with one of the largest Russian banks, VTB Bank, on getting a $257 million loan for 12 years to develop Teghut copper and molybdenum deposit in Armenia back in December 2007. The relevant agreement was signed in Yerevan by the Armenian Copper Program (ACP), a subsidiary of Vallex Group. According to the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's Office, Vallex Group received 200 million dollars of illegal income only from the exploitation of Vezhnali precious metals deposit in Zangilan District from 2009 to 2017.
Paris and Washington, which were so vocal about their concern for the well-being of the "Karabakh Armenians" from the UN rostrum, are here covering a swindler, whose activities are far from ensuring the peace of ordinary people.
To recap, following discussions with the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent on December 3 and 7, 2022, Azerbaijani specialists from the Ministries of Economy, Ecology, and Natural Resources, the State Service for Property Issues under the Ministry of Economy, and AzerGold CJSC were to conduct primary monitoring on illegal exploitation of mineral deposits on Azerbaijani territory. However, the monitoring failed due to the provocation of ethnic Armenians.
Since December 12, Azerbaijani eco-activists and NGOs have been holding a peaceful protest near Shusha. Their demands are legitimate and logical.