YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — In a further show of support for Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, more than three dozen Russian businesspeople of Armenian descent launched over the weekend a multimillion-dollar investment fund which they said will finance various business projects in Armenia.
Karapetyan described the creation of the fund called the Investors Club of Armenia as an economic “breakthrough” for the country as he announced it at a special ceremony in Yerevan. He said it will not only attract “healthy and long-term investments” into the Armenian economy but also help to create a “new corporate culture.”
“I expect that it will make a qualitative change in our business environment and business atmosphere,” he said, sitting next to Samvel Karapetyan (no relation), an Armenian-born billionaire entrepreneur and the driving force behind the initiative.
The tycoon and the other founders of the fund issued a joint statement when Karen Karapetyan paid an official visit to Moscow in late January. They voiced “full support” for “profound reforms” planned by Karapetyan’s cabinet and expressed readiness to “participate in business projects with the Armenian government.”
Prime Minister Karapetyan said during that trip that Russia’s government pledged to help boost Russian investments in Armenia. This, coupled with the joint statement by the Russian-Armenian business leaders, was construed by some commentators in Armenia as an expression of Moscow’s support for the Armenian premier.
The current prime minister lived and worked in Russia from 2011 to 2016, holding senior executive positions in local subsidiaries of the Gazprom gas monopoly. He was appointed as prime minister in September and has since repeatedly vowed to embark on far-reaching economic reforms.