By Armen Dulian
Ara Abrahamian, an Armenian-born Russian tycoon close to the Kremlin, will support Armenia’s governing Republican Party (HHK) and its leader, Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, in the upcoming parliamentary elections, a source familiar with his thinking said on Friday.
The source, who asked not to be identified, told RFE/RL that Abrahamian will soon endorse the HHK on behalf of his Union of Armenians of Russia, which claims to represent the country’s estimated 2 million Armenians. The HHK will reciprocate the move by including one of Abrahamian’s younger brother Sergey on its list of candidates.
Sergey Abrahamian, who is a member of the current National Assembly in 2003, has until now had close ties with the Orinats Yerkir party of former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian. Orinats Yerkir was ousted from the governing coalition last spring and is now in opposition to President Robert Kocharian.
In a November interview with RFE/RL, Abrahamian said he will get involved in Armenia’s unfolding electoral race. He specifically pledged to provide political support and even money to one of the contenders despite an Armenian barring political parties from receiving financial assistance from foreign citizens.
In the last parliamentary vote Abrahamian openly supported a small pro-Kocharian party that failed to win any parliament seats and is now at loggerheads with him. The Ramkavar Azatakan party decided last November to pull out of the tycoon’s Moscow-backed World Congress of Armenians.