The editor of “Aravot” sums up the reaction in Armenia to the recent arrest in Moscow of wealthy Armenian businessman Levon Hayrapetian: “Ours are being beaten”. He continues: “No doubt, as a native of Karabakh, he has done a lot of charity for his homeland. Hats off to him! But to state with 100-percent certainty that this arrest has anything to do with Armenia or Karabakh is, at least for now, premature. It is clear that falsely accusing a businessman is easy in both Russia and Armenia. It is almost ruled out that anyone could become a millionaire in our countries without breaking the law. In this sense, the charges brought against Hayrapetian may have some political or rather economic implication… But the question is whether all this is connected with the Armenian reality.”
“168 Zham”, meanwhile, sees the possibility of such a connection. “No matter how incredible it may appear, the arrest of Levon Hayrapetian could have a direct connection with the current tensions in the Armenian-Russian relations. Hayrapetian is a person who has invested millions of dollars into the economy of Karabakh, he has encouraged people in Karabakh to remain attached to their homeland by organizing mass weddings and assistance to new families, he has created jobs and made Karabakh attractive for tourism by building roads, modern hotels and renovating historical-cultural monuments. Hayrapetian thought about the defense of Karabakh and for that purpose he sponsored the construction of the unique cadet military college in the region that would supply officers to the Karabakh army. Now Russian Federal Security Service workers have arrested him and accuse him of having ties with a criminal group. It can hardly be regarded as a step that is not aimed against Armenia and Karabakh.
“Zhoghovurd” also does not rule out political motives behind the Armenian businessman’s arrest “considering the current political situation in Russian when justice is administered solely by [President Vladimir] Putin’s instructions and whims”. “Let’s not forget that Levon Hayrapetian is considered to be a leading international lobbyist in the matters of both the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Besides, in the recent period he has leveled some harsh criticism at the Armenian government,” the paper reminds its readers.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun”, meanwhile, does not think that the arrest of the businessman is necessarily connected with his activities in Karabakh. “Nevertheless, some chill can be felt in the Armenian-Russian relations in recent days,” it writes. “No, we are far from hinting at anything. But we don’t want our strategic ally, purely out of its business interests, to ‘extradite’ Levon Hayrapetian to Azerbaijan where he could be prosecuted for “illegal business activities carried out in the occupied territories”. We would remind you that Russia considers Karabakh and surrounding territories to be part of Azerbaijan.”