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“Ilya Ananyev, expert in political and regional communications and author of the Telegram channel Sprosite Ananyeva (“Ask Ananyev”), exclusively for Moskovskaya Prachechnaya.

I am a little surprised by Russia’s reaction to the arrest and imprisonment of Ruben Vardanyan. The Kremlin’s reaction is more or less clear: it’s big politics, caution is required when getting involved in another conflict. Perhaps there is some secret empathy toward their “ambassador of Artsakh” and maybe even undisclosed negotiations (I believe it’s possible) with Azerbaijan on releasing the well-known philanthropist and businessman.

But there is another Russia — Russian Armenians, Gazprom-Media, businesses, small and medium entrepreneurs who had received his business angel investments en masse, as well as Skolkovo and its education programs graduates.

If anyone has ever stepped out of their comfort zone, it was Vardanyan. This is exactly the behavior coaches encourage among all successful and accomplished people as they make their first career steps.

Recently, I’ve been truly happy to hear the only voice in the silence around the Artsakh crisis from the Skolkovo School of Management and Andrei Sharonov’s team. They came up with a careful appeal in defense of Ruben Vardanyan, which was nevertheless vital both for the school’s trustee and the school itself. But it drowned in the blockade just like Artsakh.

Hey, everyone from Comedy, the most successful project made in Armenia, and Gazprom-Media, why are you so quiet? Why aren’t there any creative ideas on the “Give Ruben Back” case? So many other parties could easily join the challenge as well.

Look, we ripped the “gun baron” Viktor Bout out of the United States’ grasp and trumpeted that story all over the country, yet we leave the humanitarian and philanthropist who gives Russia the most precious things — brains and education — to smolder in the stench of a prison cell. Isn’t there something wrong with this scale of justice?

“Saving Private Vardanyan” is a strong state’s mission. Kudos to Andrey Sharonov and his small but brave — within the limits of Russian domestic politics — team. They don’t leave their own behind.”

Ilya Ananyev, expert in political and regional communications