By Saulius Kizelavičius

In times of geopolitical cold war every larger country or alliance aims to increasetheir zones of influence. All possible measures are used, starting with military and economic, ending with cultural and religious.

Sometimes it is hard to comprehend why the world‘s leading powers show interest in and invest in some country, which has no geographical relation whatsoever. However, influence is a very important thing and it does not matter if there is a big difference in geographical location, religion, culture or even economy. All leading powers and alliances try to influence other countries in Africa or South America.

It would be the easiest way to compare all these processesto expansion of retail chains in Lithuania. Sometimes Maxima opens a supermarket in a vicinity of another one – to ensure that IKI or Norfa would not take that place. It does not really matter that this supermarket will not be very profitable; however, it will be like an outpost, an obstacle for competitors’ influence.

Leaving all these introductions, let us proceed to the main topic of this article. What games do the European Commission, members of the European Parliament and politicians and diplomats of the US play with Armenia and Azerbaijan? What obstructs them from handling Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? Who profits from that the most?

In spring 2013, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, visited Moscow. President of Russia Vladimir Putin gave Cameron a bottle of 42 years old Armenian cognac, reminding him, that in 1945, in Yalta, during the meeting of the Allies, a similar bottle of cognac has been given by Joseph Stalin to the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill.

This example is very symbolic. The President of Russia who repeatedly shows respect to such historical figures as Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, and who often regretfully remembers the collapse of the Soviet Union, gives to his foreign guest a thing, which his country, his empire treats as the most precious, thus showing that Armenia is a part of his empire.

Imagine if the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom would present to his guests a box of Indian tea, thus reminding the times when India wasa colony of England and its rulers often presented such gifts to the honorable guests from other countries. If diplomats from the United Kingdom would allow such mistake to pass, they would make a huge and unforgivable mistake with some global repercussions. India would issue a note, etc.

In the aforementioned case of Putin’s cognac nothing happened. There was no global outrage and there was no reaction from Armenia. A conclusion can be made that, for example, Armenia has a certain place in Vladimir Putin’s created geopolitical concept of “the Russian world”, or, for example, that Armenian cognac has impact on Russian politics and diplomacy by making Russians, and sometimes influential foreign diplomats or politicians, to lose their heads.

From the first sight it would seem that everything is clear anddiplomatic demagogy cannot exist. Here are some facts: in 1993 the United Nations adopted resolutions Nr. 822, 853, 874 and 884 which claim that Armenians occupied Azerbaijani lands and waged unjustified war against Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity. The UN recognized “Nagorno-Karabakh” as a territory of Azerbaijan.

Everything would be different without this“cognac democracy”. It makes leaders and politicians lose their minds and it serves twisted imperialistic policies of Russia. It is now more than 20 years since Armenia ripped a large chunk of Azerbaijan’s territory. Armenia departs from decisions of the UN and pours more fuel to the already hot atmosphere in South Caucasus region. Tens of thousands killed. More than one million Azerbaijanis can not return to their land. They are refugees for more than two decades.

This enmity is advantageous not only for Russian imperialists, but also for some politicians of the European Union. If global organizations would have been more principled and unbiased, a verdict would have already been passed. Armenia would have been asked to withdraw its soldiers from the foreign territory in a given period of time or, in the worst case scenario, economically and militaristically stronger Azerbaijan could use its brave soldiers to push the aggressor out of its land, without any foreign intervention.

We say“the worst case”because it would mean more victims, mothers would lose their sons, wives–their husbands, and stray bullets would take away more than one civilian life. It would remind a painful but necessary medical surgery which would result peace – region, known by its astounding beauty and plentiful natural resources, would be able to evolve and go forward.

Unfortunately, at the moment all three countries are suffering – Azerbaijan and Georgia feel pain for illegally taken territories from them and their people turned refugees, whereas Armenia probably also feels no joy inthis dishonest administrationof foreign territory, especially when Armenia is not a sole independent governor of Nagorno-Karabakh.

It reminds of old Soviet animated show, in which Cheburashka wants to help Gena the Crocodile by taking his heavy bag, but only if the Crocodile agrees to carry both Cheburashka and the bag on its back. In reality Nagorno-Karabakh, along with Abkhazia, Transnistria, South Ossetia, Donetsk and Lugansk “Peoples’ Republics” are governed by Russia, including Armenia itself as its colony.

All because of the cognac diplomacy, which brings only mist and obscurity. NATO and the USA cannot make a full impact on this region and not because it would open another conflict with Russia (Russia has military bases in Armenia) but because of large and powerful Armenian diaspora in the US which has similar power as other powerful American diaspora. And when Obama became president, Armenia hoped to make its occupation of Azerbaijani territories legal.

Another important thing is the experience of NATO when interests of its two members – Greece and Turkey clashed. Any major move from NATO towards disagreement of Armenia and Azerbaijan would mean a renewalof conflict between Turkey and Greece, and the latter would probably take Armenian side.

The European Union plays many games at the same time. The EU does not want to lose influence over Armenia so it does not treat Armeniaas aggressor nor does it impose any economic sanctions. On the contrary – the EU at all costs tries to attract Armenia into its sphere of influence. At the same time political architects of the EU are busy attracting Azerbaijan as well, which could be a solid alternative for a monopoly of Russian gas in Europe.

Thus many bureaucrats of the European Commission and members of the European Parliament often visit Yerevan where they are treated that drink, which Joseph Stalin used to check Winston Churchill’s vigilance. However,Churchill was not only a professional politician, but also a professional alcohol consumer. A taste of good, brandished and strong drink did not impress him and he denounced expansion of the Soviet empire, occupation of the Baltics and forced socialism in the Eastern Europe.

Unfortunately, such personas intoxicated with Armenian-Russian diplomacy can be found in Lithuania as well. In previous Seimas a “Parliamentary group of friendship with Nagorno-Karabakh” was established and initiated by Algis Kašėta and Dalia Kuodytė, active members of The Liberal Movement, and which encompassed many parliamentarians from different fractions, thirsty for cognac of Armenian diplomacy. Leader of this political party Eligijus Masiulis was caught taking a bribe – a large sum of money was hidden in a box of expensive liquor.

The group was invited to Yerevan, but somehow, as if by accident, they all ended up in Nagorno-Karabakh. This visit was not coordinated with a legitimate sovereign of the territory – Republic of Azerbaijan. For Azerbaijan it was like a spit to the face. Later Azerbaijani Community in Lithuaniaasked members of our parliament, if they are also planning to establish a “Parliamentary group of friendship with Taliban”? There was no answer.

To sum up, we could say that while Western countries drink diplomatic cognac and play diplomatic poker, Russia is getting stronger and increases its influence around the globe. Russia has goals; it does not denounce its Tsardom politics or its totalitarian legacy of the Soviet Empire. Russia stays on the road of cruelty and ignorance carved by Tsar Ivan the Terrible. This country has not apologized to its former exploited colonies. Russia retained as much of them as it could. It tries to influencethose who managed to escape by using various informational, economic, cultural and military means, waiting for a good opportunity to “take them back” as it “took back” Crimea.

Russia can only be stopped by honest and hard politics of Western countries. One of the aspects of such politics should be following the resolutions of the United Nations.

In conclusion, let us wish Azerbaijan success in taking back its historical lands. Everything is possible, as an example of Lithuania shows. In the 20th century it was torn from all sides, but now it took back mostof its precious lands, including capital Vilnius and port city Klaipėda.

And let us wish Armenia to say goodbye to things that do not belong to it. With a release of Nagorno-Karabakh it could receive even more valuable thing – freedom and the real independence.

2017.10.25

Slaptai.lt presents a very interesting article by Parliament member Arvydas Anušauskas (who is also member of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense). The article is titled “Twisted Footprints in Daugai: Among Russian Deputies of the State Duma, Oligarchs, Diplomats, Federal Security Agents and Soldiers”.

Lakes of Dzūkija. Foto – Vytautas Visockas (Slaptai.lt).

The afore mentioned analysis was published in the second half of 2016 at author’s homepage www.arvydasanusauskas.lt, yet the article holds important information to this day. The analysis raises a question – what methods does Russia employ trying to spread its roots in our country: does Russia disguise it with sports, economic investments or Armenian refugees?

Interestingly enough, this article has not yet been analyzed or discussed in greater detail.

2017.06.24

XXX

Arvydas Anušauskas

Twisted Footprints in Daugai: Among Russian Deputies of the State Duma, Oligarchs, Diplomats, Federal Security Agents and Soldiers

A New Tradition in Daugai.

It is known, that 15ha land by the Lake Didžiulis in Daugai, including structures, has been property of private local business till 2013.

However, in 2013, all shares of that local business were sold to “Daugų sala”, company registered in Alytus. According to the data of the Centre of Registers, the company was founded in summer 2012. Later, some information appeared in the press, that officially the business was acquired by some company registered in Lithuania, but the real owners were Muscovites, whose activities included constructions, “gold trade” and many other things. In Daugai they planned investing into a very specific area – field hockey. The press was told that they plan building some hotels and few hockey fields. Yet looking over some of the publicly available documents some questions remain unanswered. Why a group of Muscovites acquired such local business in the beginning of 2013, and did the buyers have enough financial resources?

The second question: if the buyers had no money – who and why provided it to them?

The last question is a tricky one: what is a relation between the buyers and the fund of member ofthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation?

Interestingly enough, public limited company “Tradition-L”, which was registered in Moscow on October 22, 2012, in just a month, on November 27, acquired 90 percent of “Daugų sala“ shares from one person in Alytus. On January 11, 2013, “Tradition-L” buys the company that ownedaforementioned real estate in Daugai. It is possible that this company was connected to family of one active Lithuanian Social Democrat.

The operation of acquisition was instant – only 80 days since the appearance of the company in Moscow.

The majority shareholder of “Tradition-L” was entrepreneur Ara Ginosyan, who had one third of company’s shares. Other business partners shared smaller holdings, 6.67 percent each. Do not be fooled – the starting capital of the company was only 30,000 rubles, thus majority share holder’s share was of 1000 litas value at that time. It could not be otherwise – company’s office was in remote suburbs of Moscow, where the same commercial building was shared by many small businesses and only neighbors were logistics centers.

Interestingly, “Tradition-L” activities in Moscow was not well known. According to trade-rent indicators, it placed 2750th in a list of similar companies. How could the company have 2 million litas in its balance for all those purchases (according to daily newspaper “Verslo žinios”, Armenian shareholders invested 600,000 Euro or about 2.07 million litas)? Why one of the “Tradition-L” shareholders Grach Petrosyan (with a holding of few hundred litas of shares) was responsible for this purchase? It was noted, that company’s shareholders could engage in various other activities, however, renting apartments for Armenian laborers (and some bakery business shares) was its only profitable activity. Grach Petrosyan’s company “Urartu”, with initial capital of 10,000 rubles (about 1,000 litas), could engage in “whole sale trade in gold and other precious metals”, as well asin “wholesale trade in gems”, yet its sole declared activity was constructions. In fact, these alleged constructions could not be found, as the company was liquidated in summer 2013. It could not be the other way – company’s office was in Dmitrov town, Moscow Oblast, where the same commercial building was shared by many small businesses.

Namely Grach Petrosyan becomes the main “player” at Daugai. In 2013 he founds Daugai field hockey club “Nansen club” and becomes its president. The club instantly joins Lithuanian business club in Moscow (alongside “Vičiūnai”, “Rūta” and other large manufacturers) when in reality there were no actual “business”. “Nansen club” was titled“a unique sports center” where international “lifeguard teams” would be trained. Firstly, in October 2013, the idea was to establish an international school of lifeguards where divers and land lifeguards could be trained. It was planned that lifeguards and field hockey players would get 3 houses for 20 people each in this recreational base. On August 1, 2015, Grach Petrosyan introduced his plans: the club will train “leaders” among the youth from CIS member states. According to him: “all unconventional games in this club are dedicated for one goal – training all-rounded youth “whoare not afraid to take responsibility and who can become full-time lifeguards”. The club prioritizes meeting of young people from different countries who could later become “an international lifeguard team”. In 2015 Petrosyan announced, that he will build one more training base dedicated to working in extreme conditions. Medical training will be part of the education: two or three times a month pupils will visit medicine institute and morgue, they will learn how to sew wounds and how to treat broken or severed limbs (meanwhile, an assembled team of amateur field hockey players takes the third place in B division of Lithuanian Championship).

Member of Lithuanian parliament Arvydas Anušauskas. Slaptai.lt foto

Interestingly, instead of Grach Petrosyan, his twin brother Grant Petrosyan is the real field hockey specialist – an honored field hockey coach in Armenia and former coach of Armenian women field hockey national team. In 1994 he came to Novosibirsk where he had a small business. Instead of caring for the future of field hockey in Daugai, Grant Petrosyan tried to revive this sport in his hometown Gyumri (former Leninakan, which was destroyed during an earthquake in 1988). From 2010 he supported Gyumri youth field goal team. Since 2007 he had an idea of building “Sport-City” complex in his hometown that would include 35 different sport attractions. Yet his ideas during the years 2007-2012 were not interesting to anybody. All suddenly changed in the end of 2012 when Russia became interested in possibilities to spread its influence in Armenia and Lithuania.

From FSB Novosibirsk towards Karelin.

After 2012 elections, Lithuania started preparing for the presidency of the Council of the EU. Starting from January 2013, it was going to be an important member of the trio. Armenia had its presidential elections coming in February 2013, and it had to choose between the Eurasian Customs Union andthe EU Association Agreement. It is obvious, that due to an old tradition, Russian Federal Security Service had its influence in these foreign politics. One of the strongest directorates of Russian FSB always was in Novosibirsk where FSB had its own school and many supervised academic centers. Almost 40 thousand Armenians lived in Novosibirsk. Part of FSB activities were associated with these Armenians to keep Armenia under Russia’s influence. Many leaders made their careers in this FSB directorate as it was an important knot between Europe and Asia – there were always some work to do. Chekists from Novosibirsk were usuallygiven a job in Moscow: FSB Colonel General Yevgeniy Sysoyev, Head of FSB Novosibirsk Regional Directorate 2009-2011, left to Moscow and was later appointed Deputy Director of Russia’s FSB and Head of the National Antiterrorism Committee. General Lieutenant Viktor Ivanovich Batukin, the next Head of FSB Novosibirsk Regional Directorate, was also summoned to Moscow and Sergei Boiko took his place in April 15, 2013.

We can only guess, that FSB Novosibirsk Regional Directorate knew about business activities of Petrosyan twins in Moscow and Novosibirsk and that one of them was trying to implement his projects in his Armenian hometown where Russian military base was located. Grant Petrosyan’s Gyumri “Sport-City” project was remembered and the Russian government promised its financial support. Maybe in return he had to do a favor – to acquire essentially useless real estate in Lithuania? Or maybe one of the brothers had to establish Nansen club where “lifeguards” would be trained (and which later would agitate for giving refugees and non-citizens so called “Nansen passports”) and had to join Lithuanian business club in Moscow? Maybe another brother had to contribute with a positive influence among Armenian diaspora in Novosibirsk and Gyumri? Maybe all these questions are retorical? Maybe all of this is just a conspiracy theory?

Was it a coincidence, that just after the successful transaction in Lithuania, on February 12, 2013, there was a meeting between Grant Petrosyan (brother of Grach Petrosyan), businessman from Novosibirsk Artur Movsesyan and members of “Karelin-Fund” belonging to Aleksandr Karelin (politician, athlete, member of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee).

One of the members ofthis initiative group was Ruben Tatulian, businessman from Sochi, who build Karelin’s sports center for training Russian national teams. According to Grant Petrosyan, the construction was needed not only to improve social situation but also for family members of Russian soldiers who wanted to be involved in sports.

It was known from the beginning, that Aleksandr Karelin, representative of the Novosibirsk Oblast in Russian State Duma, plans investing in sports complex “Sport-City” in Gyumri, Armenia (“Sport-City” was planned as a town with 1500 workplaces). Grant Petrosyan treated A. Karelin as a close friend (in 2008 he attended anniversary of “Karelin-Fund”, later, however, he claimed, that his meeting with Aleksandr Karelin  to discuss “Sport-City” matters was arranged by Mnac Iskandaryan, Olympic champion of 1992, working as couch in Novosibirsk).

As the 102nd Military Base in Gyumri was the main Russian base in Armenia, Grant Petrosyan claimed: “we expect Russia to pay for skating rink and swimming pool, because Russians still live in Gyumri”. But why he missed the fact, while searching for investors in Novosibirsk, that his brother invested 25 million rubles (at contemporary rate) in “sports complex” in Lithuania? One piece of information from Grant Petrosyan’s lips tells us that he perfectly knew about those plans; and negotiations on “Sport-City” construction took place not only in Novosibirsk, Moscow and Yerevan, but also in Lithuania. It is not clear with whom and how, however, it came to agreement that “Karelin-Fund” will build closed swimming pool and ice skating rink. It was officially announced, that A. Karelin was influenced by fact that thousands of soldiers are stationed in the Russian 102nd Military Base in Gyumri and together with their family members it makes over 10 percent of city residents.

On March 6, 2013, a project was introduced and the office of “Gyumri-City” fund was opened to coordinate the project further. Grant Petrosyan and Russia’s Consul General Vasiliy Korchmar also attended the presentation. No one asked a question, why a construction project of year 2007 was abandoned for 5-6 years? According to Russia’s Consul, he met with Grant Petrosyan many times before and discussed questions related to obligations from Russia’s side. The total estimated budget was 25 million dollars. President of the fund Ara Abramyan announced, that Russian businessmen and prominent sports funds came to an agreement. Sport-City Facebook page appeared on the same day.

Shadows of Russian Parliament Member.

“Karelin-Fund” was a perfect solution for opaque financial support, because it constantly was under surveillance of Russian law enforcement and FSB (favor in exchange of favor). Founders of the fund had a financial group. „Accept“ bank was also partially controlled by one of the cofounders. A story below confirms this claim. In 2012, Vladimir Gorohov (former Karelin’s assistant, who later became deputy of Regional Parliament) addressed to Russian Ministry of Finance and later, in December 2013, to General Prosecutor of Russia with a request to investigate the corporate raid on “Mashkomplekt” (logistics complex of 1 billion rubles value) initiated by members and cofoundersof „Karelin-Fund“. However, since February-July 2013, tax inspectors refused investigating this incident. Meanwhile, corporate raiding in Russia is “one of the most profitable and corrupt criminal activities. It cannot exist without corruption and without support of the government”.

On January 31, 2016, another article was published, where aforementioned businessman from Novosibirsk revealed Aleksandr Karelin’s business structure. As a deputy A. Karelin could not directly manage his business so he did it through mediators: Yuri Sereda and Yuri Tokarev who at the same time where cofounders of “Karelin-Fund”.

Even though activities of A. Karelin and cofounders of his fund were under surveillance, he did not lose trust of Vladimir Putin. Since 2001 A. Karelin was a member of Upper House of Federation Council (as a representative of United Russia political party). In August 14, 2013, he received fromthe presidentan honorary award for promoting sports, even though at that time he belonged to State Duma’s International Affairs Committee. Another interesting fact from his biography is that in 1999 Aleksandr Karelin was Sports Adviser for Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin (1994-1995 Head of FSB) and it is assumed, that he helped Boris Ivaniuzhenkov to become Minister of Sports, who was formerly known as a member of organized crime group “Rotan”.

A. Karelin retained V. Putin’s trust, even then Viktor Golubev, godfather of Karelin’s children,board member of his fund, president of “Crystal” sports holding and the man who built sport related objects in Berdsk and Iskitim was arrested, because hehad a small illegal oil refinery that earned him 270 million rubles. FSB also accused V. Golubev of money laundering (over 100 million rubles) through “Accept” bank which belonged to another cofounder of “Karelin-Fund”. A. Karelin was still in favor of the president. On December 28, 2015, he visited military airport near Latakia and together with Colonel General and Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bondarev greeted Russian soldiers in Syria.

Sport-City near Gyumri Military Base.

Finally, Gyumri city provided 12.5 ha of land for free. Since that day Grant Petrosyan became an active supporter of Russian and Armenian relationship and he often emphasized the close collaboration between Russian and Gyumri as there was the 102th military base located in the city. Moreover, the FSB Directorate in Russian military base in Gyumri monitors military personnel and their environment. And very little happens in that environment without their knowledge.

On December 2, 2013, President of Russia Vladimir Putin visited Gyumri military base. He was satisfied, that Armenia finally terminated all negotiations with the European Union on increasing gas import. Meanwhile in Lithuania the last “crusades” were initiated against liquid gas terminal construction and energy independence… Who do you think were initiators of these crusades?

Source – www.arvydasanusauskas.lt

2016-09-14

O. Ozge

Such statements do exist. Usually Armenian Diaspora states that in 1915 during WWI the Ottoman army killed a lot of Armenians. In 1915 the Ottoman Empire was in war with tsarist Russia. When the Ottoman army attacked the Russian army in the Easter territories of the present Turkey, Russians equipped Armenians living in these territories. Armenians lived in the whole territory of the Empire, but those living in the Eastern part, were equipped by Russians and attacked the Ottoman army from the rear. That is why the Ottoman government was forced to take certain measures and deport those Armenians to Southern Anatolia so army can be safe from the rear. During this deportation some Armenians perished, because of battles with Armenian militia and clashes with the local people or because of severe climate conditions of Eastern Turkey. I can add, that in those days less than 1,5 million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire. Scientists, who analyzed the data of those days, state that about 300 thousand Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire. It is unclear, why the number of perished is 1,5 million, when only 300 thousand lived in the Empires territory. To my point of view, these statements are not right. It may be also added, that during those military attacks 200 thousand Turks living in the Ottoman Empire perished as well as Armenians did. A lot of people were killed during sporadic clashes with Armenians, because of hostility between Armenians and the local people of Eastern Turkey. Both sides – Turks and Armenians – lost a lot of their people, though it is not right to declare that 1,5 million Armenians perished. Armenians were not treated they way it is stated.

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