Noubar Afeyan on CNN

Noubar Afeyan on CNN: ‘Arresting, charging Ruben Vardanyan is psychological pressure on the world’s 10 million Armenians’


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( — Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, entrepreneur and philanthropist, as well as the co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of Moderna company, gave an interview to CNN commentator Christiane Amanpour. He spoke about what happened to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and its Armenians, and the Azerbaijani authorities’ arrest of philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan, another cofounder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

The video of this interview accessible here.

To Amanpour’s question as to how it happens that events take place in Nagorno-Karabakh in 24 hours that remain unnoticed and Nagorno-Karabakh is destroyed unnoticed, Afeyan responded that after 26 years of relative peace and negotiations, it was not possible to achieve lasting peace. He said that two years after the 2020 war, Azerbaijan blockaded the remaining territories of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in September of this year, Azerbaijan carried out a military offensive which led to the expulsion of the local indigenous Armenian people.

When asked about his personal motives for raising the alarm, Afeyan noted that he is an Armenian whose family was forced to be displaced for generations, and spoke about the Armenian Genocide and its consequences.

Amanpour asked also about the arrest of Vardanyan by the Azerbaijani authorities.

Afeyan said this issue is very painful for him, and noted that he has worked with Vardanyan for 23 years, within the scope of dozens of humanitarian and charitable projects.

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Afeyan said he saw Vardanyan’s role and contribution not only in Armenia, but in the whole world. He said Vardanyan, deeply concerned about the fate of his people, moved from Russia to Nagorno-Karabakh last fall to help the people living there regain their dignity and try to help them endure Azerbaijani oppression. Afeyan said that during that time, Vardanyan held the position of Minister of State for three months. After that, he stayed there and carried out humanitarian projects, helping people overcome difficulties.

Afeyan noted that when this recent surprise one-day war started in September, Azerbaijan announced that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh were free to leave, and therefore Vardanyan also tried to leave with others. However, he was arrested by Azerbaijanis and charged with no grounds, while no evidence was presented.

Actually, Vardanyan is the symbol of Armenians all over the world, Afeyan said. He noted that Vardanyan, as a successful businessman and philanthropist, is the most famous citizen of Armenia in the world, and therefore arresting him, making a show of it, and bringing charges against him is psychological pressure on 10 million Armenians around the world.

Afeyan said when we are talking about 120 thousand Armenians who are natives of Nagorno-Karabakh and had to leave their land, it is classic ethnic cleansing. That’s the assessment of most international experts who have spoken in the past months. And at the end of it all, Vardanyan and seven other former Karabakh leaders were arrested and face show trials, Afeyan added.

Afeyan concluded by expressing hope that the international community will not remain indifferent because all this encourages more and more injustice and impunity.

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