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“Amid the recent events in the world, the tragedy of the former Nagorno-Karabakh leaders arrested by Azerbaijan and our compatriot, Ruben Vardanyan, in particular are out of the limelight.

Vardanyan is no stranger to Russian charity. For many years, he helped Doctor Liza’s Foundation, responding, among other things, to emergency requests for helping homeless people. I know he helped both the Khabenskiy’s Foundation and Podari Zhizn. Yet, unlike many, he never publicly showed off his charity. Actually, not many philanthropists help the homeless: this is a very stigmatized area. Vardanyan really sympathized with it all. I know that recently he called his family, saying that everything was fine, and he asked his relatives to continue helping those in need, including refugees.

Overall, I’ve been closely watching how Vardanyan gave up everything and left to help his native Karabakh. Simply because a person willing to risk everything, his life included, and to give up such things as daily comfort, security, confidence in his future for the sake of an idea already demands respect. And in line with the laws of universal justice, people who provide assistance to those in need should get some good in return.

I sincerely do not understand why Vardanyan has to be in prison. In theory, his fate should have drawn at least the Armenian authorities’ attention, but they are still silent. I think that Russia should also get involved in his future: apparently, the situation cannot be resolved without it. I sincerely hope that this resolution will come.”

Ekaterina Vinokurova, journalist and public figure