STEPANAKERT (Azatutyun) — Ruben Vardanyan, a prominent Armenian billionaire, warned of a “tough road” ahead for Nagorno-Karabakh as he formally took up the post of the country’s prime minister, on Friday, November 4.
Born and raised in Yerevan, Vardanyan moved to Russia in 1985 and made a big fortune there in the 1990s. Over the last 15 years he has developed major business interests in Armenia as well as increasingly financed charitable projects there.
Vardanyan, 54, received Armenian citizenship in June 2021 and is understood to have mostly lived in his home country since then. On September 1, 2022 he announced that he has decided to renounce his Russian citizenship and move to Karabakh.
Arayik Harutyunyan, the Karabakh president, offered to appoint the tycoon as his state minister one month later. Vardanyan accepted the offer later in October. Karabakh officials say that he will have more powers than his predecessors.
“I and the people have very high expectations from you, Mr. Vardanyan,” Harutyunyan said while introducing him to officials in Stepanakert.
“I must honestly tell you that I don’t see any chance of a miracle,” Vardanyan said at the meeting. ”A very tough road awaits us. We have no more than 900 days to effect changes, to address security and development issues.”