TODAY.AZ / Politics

Amid biting anti-Kremlin sanctions, Armenia helping Russia's IT sector to skirt bans

24 May 2022 [13:42] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

There is great joy in Armenia - the sanctions against Russia are getting tougher and tougher. This boils down to the fact that Moscow's strategic ally has great opportunities to solve its financial, economic, and demographic problems, Azernews reports.

Debates are nowadays underway in Armenia over the choice of a definition to describe the dazzling prospects. Some want to see a new Singapore in Armenia, others are in favor of an Armenian version of Silicon Valley. The unexpectedly opened prospects for a sinking state are blinding the eyes and depriving of logic and a sense of self-preservation.

According to the Armenian Central Bank, about 16,000 non-residents, mostly Russian citizens, had opened accounts in Armenian banks as of early May. Due to the events in Ukraine, hundreds of Russian companies have applied for relation to Armenia. In anticipation of an influx of foreign brains and money, the Economy Ministry even formed a special working group for the relocation of foreign businesses to Armenia to establish new companies. Minister Kerobyan said that most of the IT companies relocating to Armenia are the ones with direct ties to Western markets, and they cannot continue working in Russia because of the sanctions.

When we talk about Yerevan's lack of a sense of self-preservation, we have in mind Washington's constant warnings to penalize countries that are helping Russia to bypass sanctions. U.S. National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden Jake Sullivan earlier announced a list of countries suspected in this case, and Armenia was named among them.

Armenia is used to remaining impunity under any circumstances, and this time, too, it is probably relying on the power of its lobby and Diaspora money, which will get it out from U.S. attack, in case anything happens. Therefore, Russian companies that are fleeing to this country are being met with open arms and are working actively in Armenia. To make their image in Armenia even more attractive, conditions have been simplified for Russian entrepreneurs, especially those engaged in the IT sector.

Some 50 percent of the income tax levied on new employees will be refunded to these companies. According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, 113 Russian IT companies have already moved to Armenia, as well as about 1,000 private enterprises and 250 limited liability companies have been established by Russian citizens in this country. The Russian Federal Security Service reports that since the end of February about 140,000 Russians have arrived in Armenia. Among them is Ruben Vardanyan, a notorious oligarch of Armenian origin, who is on the sanctions list. The fugitive oligarch announced the beginning of a new era for Armenia and turned it into a “window” for Russian business.

Special Telegram channels have been opened in which Russians are provided with the necessary information on how and what to do. The most popular among Russians are "Armenian Economy" and "Move to Armenia/Mutual Aid”.

Why have Russian IT specialists chosen Armenia? In Armenia itself, this is explained by a certain development of the IT sector in the country, a certain high intellectual potential, and other magnificent exaggerations of reality. But, it should be noted that IT companies and other structures relocated to Armenia with their staff and so far no expansion of staff at the expense of the so-called Armenian intellectuals is planned. So this point can be crossed out of the collective auto-training of the Armenian society.

In addition to unscrupulousness, there is another reason why Armenia was chosen as the "Noah's Ark" for Russian IT companies. It is the only Russian ally that has signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union. The agreement lowers trade barriers for services and commercial goods from Armenia, as well as simplifies the process of obtaining licenses. According to analysts, Armenia's growing trade with the European Union last year created favorable conditions for all kinds of schemes.

Back in March, the Geopolitical Monitor conducted its own research on the issue and came to the conclusion that the methods of withdrawal of Iranian products from the Western sanctions through Armenia had reached unprecedented scales. In the past, according to the publication, due to its favorable geographical location, Armenia helped Iran in money laundering operations and facilitated its access to the international financial system.

Will Armenia be penalized for its behavior? So far, the U.S. is busy with China and does not pay attention to the small country that is getting in the way. Meanwhile, this country is slowly but surely turning into a hotbed of cyber-threat. And in this case, it's not a threat to Azerbaijan alone, not to pay attention to it by tradition. In Armenia, under the wing of Yerevan, an army, a think tank, is currently being formed. It has nothing to do with the "intellectual resources" of Armenians and is not being created with Armenian money, although Armenia will, of course, pick the plum.

If Armenia is not penalized for its actions, then the question arises - where is the West looking at? Why is it being selective? This country has long been first in line for Western sanctions. But for 30 years of aggression against Azerbaijan, occupation of its territories, and ethnic cleansing, Armenia has neither been punished for its actions nor even reprimanded.


Print version

Views: 519

Connect with us. Get latest news and updates.

Recommend news to friend

  • Your name:
  • Your e-mail:
  • Friend's name:
  • Friend's e-mail: