“We don’t comment on such press reports,” said Lusine Avanesian, the spokeswoman for Karabakh President Arayik Harutiunian.
The press office of Ruben Vardanyan, the Karabakh premier, also declined a comment.
Tigran Petrosian, a Karabakh opposition activist, claimed that Harutiunian returned from Moscow earlier this month while Vardanyan is currently in the Russian capital.
Russia, whose peacekeeping forces are stationed in Karabakh, has repeatedly urged Azerbaijan to unblock the sole road connecting the Armenian-populated region to Armenia. Baku has so far ignored such calls, also made by the United States and the European Union.
Vardanyan, 54, is an Armenian-born billionaire who made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s and 2000s. He was appointed as Karabakh’s state minister in November two months after renouncing his Russian citizenship.
Azerbaijan’s government condemned Vardanyan’s appointment, saying that the former investment banker was sent to Karabakh by Russia. Russian officials denied that.
The Karabakh leaders’ alleged visits to Moscow came amid reports of a rift between them related to the blockade.
According to Petrosian, Harutiunian asked the Russians to help him sack Vardanyan. A senior member of the president’s party denied that.
“The president and Ruben Vardanyan may have different approaches to some tactics but there is definitely no disagreement between them which could turn into feud or some conflict,” Aram Harutiunian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Arayik Harutiunian reportedly tried to sack Vardanyan and force snap presidential and parliamentary elections last month. Vardanyan publicly made clear that he will not step down.
Opposition leaders in Stepanakert said at the time that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian pressured Harutiunian to replace the holder of the second-highest post in Karabakh’s leadership. Armenian opposition figures likewise accused Pashinian of seeking to get rid of Vardanyan to facilitate far-reaching concessions to Azerbaijan.
The Armenian government did not comment on the political developments Karabakh. But some Pashinian allies and supporters criticized Vardanyan, implying that his exit is necessary for ending the blockade.
Vardanyan has made defiant statements throughout the two-month blockade. He has said that the Karabakh Armenians will continue to resist Baku’s efforts to regain full control over the territory.