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Big Plans: Russian-Armenian businessman has expensive ideas for Armenia investment

By Julia Hakobyan

ArmeniaNow Reporter

A well-known Armenian-Russian businessman announced this week his plans for a multi-million dollar investment into development of tourism infrastructure in Armenia’s resort town of Tsakhkadzor.

Ara Abrahamyan, president of the Moscow based Union of Armenians of Russia said that if his plan is approved by Armenian President Robert Kocharyan he envisages to invest $100 million in the first phase of hotel construction in Tsakhkadzor. Abrahamyan demonstrated to journalists a sketch of the hotels network in the area, which will take over 100,000 square meters. He said that Tsakhkadzor, a popular skiing area in Armenia can become an attractive tourism destination and mentioned that for example in Austria 35 percent of its budget comes from tourism.

Russian-Armenian businessman sets eye on Tsakhkadzor

“We have already come to the agreement with the Russian Minister of Sport that 500 Russian sportsmen will take rest and training in Tsakhkadzor year round,”said Abrahamyan, adding that the hotels will be 3 and 5 stars.

Abrahamyan, 48, who is also a founder of the World Armenian Congress told journalists that last year his organizations distributed more than 5,000 computers in the schools of Armenia and Karabakh.

However the businessman blamed Armenian authorities for their insufficient efforts toward strengthening Armenia-Diaspora ties. He mentioned that both his organizations do a lot in uniting Armenians throughout the world and promoting Armenian issues, but without support from the Armenian government the efforts of his both organizations are not effective enough.

He mentioned that he donated $200,000 last weekend to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation for promoting genocide recognition. In all $1.7 million was raised at the February 26 banquet in Paris to contribute to the activity of Hai Dat (for genocide recognition).

Abrahamyan who is known for his close ties with the Kremlin mentioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is to visit Armenia later this month.

“This year we plan to erect a monument dedicated to Armenian genocide in Moscow’s Victory Park,” he said. “Until now there is not one monument in Moscow in memory of genocide victims, except a khachkar in the yard of an Armenian church. Also, a discussion on genocide has been suggested in the Russian State Duma.”

Referring to the process of passing of a number of Armenian enterprises to Russia to reduce the Armenian debt, he said that the deal was profitable both for Armenia and Russia. However he said that sufficient work was not done for their exploitation and creating of jobs.

(In exchange of debt of $93 million Armenia has passed five enterprises to Russia, such as Hrazdan Heat Power Plant, “Mars” plant and others.)

Abrahamyan complained that he is unable to complete construction of buildings in a plot of land he acquired in the North Avenue complex – the area of elite businesses and residences under construction now in the center of Yerevan. “I have desire, I have money but it is not possible to work. It is a paradox.” Abrahamyan however refused to explain the reasons and did not specify whom he accuses in stagnating construction. He only said that he knows that people who lived in that area are unsatisfied with the compensation they got to leave their houses which were demolished for the avenue construction.

“I was accused that I bought land and did not pay money to people, but I had nothing to do with compensation. I deal with municipality and agree that they did not pay enough money to the people,” he said.

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