Who is protecting “Putin’s wallet” in the West?

Who is protecting “Putin’s wallet” in the West?

This happened after Vardanyan’s profile was published in the Ukrainian database “Myrotvorets’ on June 17th, which lists accomplices to the Russian aggression.

Vardanyan’s file was submitted to the database by the Ukrainian Secret Service (SSU) and the reason for blacklisting him is the fact that he held positions in “the top management of a major Russian company involved in the material support (transport, logistics and others) of actions aimed at undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.

This is not the first time Ukrainian authorities pay attention to the activities of Vardanyan, nicknamed “Putin’s wallet’. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vardanyan was placed on the Ukrainian government’s list of sanctioned people for his role as a board member of the Russian air cargo company Volga Dnepr, which plays a major role in Russian military air transport.

But Ukrainians are neither the only nor the first ones who demanded to bring Vardanyan to justice. In March 2019, three years before the barbaric Russian invasion, 22 Members of the European Parliament addressed the President of the European Commission demanding an investigation on Vardanyan, who gained his riches in Moscow through companies that today are on the list of Russia’s most western-sanctioned companies. They quoted the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) investigation about billions of euros laundered by Vardanyan for Putin’s close circle.

In 2022, 46 members of the US Congress called to impose personal sanctions on him.

Strangely enough, nothing happened. Two years after that Vardanyan was made a “State Minister” of the so-called government of Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory partially occupied by Kremlin-backed pro-Armenian and pro-Russian separatists. Western media even interviewed him in spite of the fact that he was obviously Putin’s henchman and headed an unrecognized separatist “republic”. He was dismissed from the post because of a series of publications in leading American outlets concerning his connections to the Kremlin, as it made his role as a creator of instability in the Southern Caucasus more apparent. To quote The European Conservative, “Whether true or not that Vardanyan is profiteering from human desperation, he is certainly jeopardizing prospects for peace”.

But he continues this activity in the midst of an attempt between the EU and the United States to bring about a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Recently Vardanyan urged Armenians in Karabakh to take up arms. In his speech at the rally on May 9 in the city of Khankedi he reiterated the “need for the Russian military presence in Karabakh”, which the Wall Street Journal calls a tool for preserving Putin’s influence in the Southern Caucasus.

So, who is protecting him in the West? Let’s see which Western media outlets support Vardanyan, and where their allegiance lies.

The Armenian Weekly, a publication of the ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America), which lobbies Armenian interests in the US, is one of the major media supporters of Vardanyan.
For example, they quote Vardanyan’s interview by Ehsan Movahedian, professor of international relations at ATU University in Tehran. In the interview, published on February 13, 2023 Vardanyan reflected upon the importance of the Russian troops stationed in the separatist enclave and upon Armenian-Iranian relations.

Movahedian is one of the ideologists of the Ayatollah’s regime, well-known for his anti-Western, anti-Israeli and overwhelmingly Antisemitic stance. The Israeli media and the US think tanks are well acquainted with his activities.

On February 6th, 2023 the ANCA Western Region hosted a packed online Town Hall meeting with Vardanyan. Representative Adam Schiff, one of the major pro-Armenian lobbyists, who was among the attendees, did not even blink, when Vardanyan explained that the numbers of the “Russian peacekeepers” are “very limited, less than 2000 people”.

Later, The Armenian Weekly decried dismissing Vardanyan from the post of “State Minister” of the separatist enclave, totally ignoring, of course, him being Putin’s henchman.

ANCA republishes his interviews on its website. ANCA retweets Vardanyan’s posts and tags him, while turning to the US high ranking officials, despite Vardanyan’s attempts to derail the negotiations the US is in the process of facilitating.

What we can gather from everything above is that it is, in fact, the Armenian lobby which is the power that supports and protects “Putin’s wallet” from justice. So the question is, whose interests is this lobby actually serving?


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