Armenian millionaire offers compensation to Azerbaijani businessmen for losses due to street skirmishes
Sergei Sarkisov, a Russian millionaire of Armenian origin, has offered to compensate all Azerbaijani citizens for damages incurred due to clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Moscow.
A rather tense situation developed in the Russian capital last week. Videos began to circulate on social media of the two diaspora communities attacking each other. The unrest in Moscow arose against the backdrop of the military escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Between July 12-16, at least 17 people were killed in total on both sides.
In Armenia, the businessman’s appeal to make peace was perceived not as a gesture of goodwill, but as a pragmatic step. Experts believe Sarkisov is trying to restore relations with his Azerbaijani partners and continue running his business.
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What Sarkisov said
The billionaire called on representatives of the two communities in Moscow to renounce violence and stop those who provoke unrest from abroad.
In his statement, Sarkisov emphasised that he felt “very ashamed” before his Azeri friends for the ‘vandals who decided to show their national identity through violence and destruction’:
“It is not in the tradition of our peoples to make conflict in the house where you were received as guests, given the opportunity to live and work, and for your children to study. I am talking about Russia. Do not dishonor your people, your ancestors.”
The businessman announced that his family will compensate for the damage caused to Azerbaijani businessmen:
“I am sure that Azerbaijani businessmen agree with us and will do the same.”
Reactions in Armenia
Political scientist Hrant Mikaelyan commented on Sarkisov’s statement. The expert says that Sarkisov is most likely trying to smooth out the conflict in order to maintain relations with his Azerbaijani partners.
“I think that the damage caused to Azerbaijani business as a result of the Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes is very small. The benefit that Sergei Sarkisov can get from such compensation is higher from a purely pragmatic point of view,” Mikaelyan said.
The political scientist believes that there are hardly any people on the Azerbaijani side who are ready to take such a step, since Baku maintains a rather radical position on this issue:
“It is not a fact that the Azerbaijani side will respond in kind, although we will wait and see.”
Social media commentary
The news about Sarkisov’s proposal is being actively discussed not only by the Armenian, but also the Russian Facebook community.
Here are a few of the comments:
“By making this move publicly, the Sarkisov brothers smoothed over their positions and the situation in general. At one time, Gorbachev and the old men from the Politburo did the same, smoothing over the massacre in Sumgait, as well as a certain number of hooligans in Armenia. We already know what this led to. Now we see them singing the same tune. The Politburo has changed, but the methods have remained the same.”
“Another betrayal and desire to curry favor with the master!”
“They did this to survive in Russia, otherwise, they may lose business. Are they any better than Khodorkovsky?”
“I think Azerbaijanis will refuse this assistance, delicately and in a cultured manner.”
Who are the Sarkisovs?
Brothers Sergei and Nikolai Sarkisovs are from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Sergey Sarkisov is the founder of one of the largest Russian insurance companies, RESO-Garantia. He sits on the company’s board of directors and is a member of the board and presidium of the Russian Union of Insurers.
His fortune is estimated at $700 million.
Nikolai Sarkisov is the company’s vice CEO.