The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, did not discuss at the meeting the fate of the former minister of state of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), the former head of the Troika Dialogue company, Ruben Vardanyan. The press secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters about this, noting that he does not know what was discussed at the closed part of the meeting.
“No. There was a one-on-one part of the conversation that was quite long. And I don’t know what they were talking about,” he said.
Vardanyan was detained after the outbreak of military clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19. The Azerbaijani authorities explained their actions by “restoring constitutional order.” The Karabakh official was charged with “financing terrorism” and detained for four months. In early October, the office of Azerbaijani Human Rights Commissioner Sabina Aliyeva stated that Vardanyan was not complaining about the conditions of detention.
Peskov said on September 27 that Vardanyan has Russian citizenship, so Russia should be informed about his detention. He added that Moscow will protect Vardanyan’s rights. At the same time, the Kremlin representative did not comment on the refusal of the former NKR State Minister to renounce Russian citizenship.
In the fall of 2022, Vardanyan announced his decision to renounce Russian citizenship and move to Nagorno-Karabakh. Vardanyan explained his move with a desire to support local residents who are “in a difficult psychological state.”
In addition to Vardanyan, former presidents of the unrecognized republic Arkady Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan and Araki Harutyunyan were detained. It was also reported about the detention of former NKR Foreign Minister David Babayan, ex-commander of the Karabakh army Lieutenant General Levon Mnatsakanyan and others.