Boris Avagyan, who receives and loses various positions in Armenia and Artsakh, has appeared in the center of three information scandals in the last six months.
He first accused the British demining organization “HALO Trust” of espionage, after which he left his post in the staff of the Artsakh President on a voluntary basis. Then Avagyan, in the National Assembly, criticized the approach of the “My Step” deputy to the issue of prisoners of war and was relieved of the post of Deputy Director of the Artsakh NSS. And in May, when three prisoners returned to Armenia, the press wrote that it happened due to Avagyan’s efforts.
Media.am has already referred to Boris Avagyan’s sensational allegations. In this article, we talk about Boris Avagyan, who constantly appears in the center of information noises and holds various political positions, and who he really is.
Business and position in St. Petersburg
Boris Avagyan lived in Russia for many years, in St. Petersburg. There, he was known as a successful businessman. He headed the “Rosmoravia” customs intermediary organization. However, in 2009 the law enforcement agencies accused the founders of this organization of importing smuggled goods from China. The business collapsed.
Avagyan was not involved in the criminal case of “Росморавиа.” According to “Новая газета,” he cooperated with the investigators and helped them to discover the scheme of violations. After leaving Rosmoravia, he married the daughter of former Leningrad District Deputy Prosecutor Armen Arakelyan.
After the marriage, Avagyan entered the state service. Since 2010 he has held senior positions in the Russian Federal Agency for State Property Management (Росимущество), then in the Federal Agency for State Registration, Cadastre and Mapping (Росреестр). The Russian press wrote that the official was a lover of a luxurious lifestyle. The entertainment website Starhit.ru, the material of which was published by Sputnik Armenia, mentioned that Boris Avagyan inherited the wealth from his grandfather, the proceeds from the sale of his scientific patents.
During his tenure at Росреестр, Avagyan discovered violations at the Baltic Customs House in St. Petersburg.
Avagyan’s career in the Russian government as an official came to an end in 2016, when a fight took place at the “Music bar 11” karaoke club in St. Petersburg with his participation. Commenting on the incident, Avagyan, who appeared in the hospital, hinted that it was possible that he was attacked because of his work, as he had discovered illegal transactions.
From an official to being investigated in a criminal case
Shortly after leaving the state post, rumors spread in the Russian and Armenian press that Avagyan might be appointed Armenia’s representative in the EEU Eurasian Economic Commission. This commission is engaged in the development of integration projects in the EEU. Avagyan, who has not been appointed to the post yet, was already giving interviews about the future of the EEU.
At the same time, according to the St. Petersburg “Фонтанка” news agency, Avagyan has been active: He lodged complaints and appeals with the relevant authorities, assuring that the employees of the Customs Service (ФТС) and the Federal Security Service (ФСБ) are engaging in corruption.
However, hence Avagyan was questioned in the criminal case. In the summer of 2016, the Russian security forces accused Avagyan of smuggling and arrested him. His career in the EEU did not work out. Avagyan was arrested in Moscow when he was trying to pass information to journalists yet again.
Avagyan was placed under house arrest. However, the former official managed to escape to Europe on the eve of his own wedding. Shortly after the escape, Avagyan got married for the second time. His second wife is the winner of the beauty contest Yulia Ionina.
The website of the RF Ministry of Internal Affairs shows that Avagyan is still wanted. He calls the criminal case against him “fake.”
The guy from the video
Avagyan lived a luxurious life in St. Petersburg, but he did not forget his homeland. In 2015, he initiated the creation of the song “A city, where dreams come true” about Yerevan, and he himself was filmed in a video. One of the performers of the song, DJ Smash, is Avagyan’s friend.
After the Velvet Revolution, Avagyan and his wife moved to Armenia, where he began to hold various positions and give sensational interviews to journalists in his typical style.
The “key figure” of the revolution holds state positions
“He was acquitted in Russia, but Boris decided not to return, he became the key figure of the revolution,” the entertainment site peopletalk.ru made this incorrect statement.
Speaking about his personal ties to the ruling party, Avagyan stated that “My Step” MP, member of the “Civil Contract” party Arthur Manukyan is his close friend.
In July 2018, Boris Avagyan decided to renounce Russian citizenship. According to “Коммерсантъ” newspaper, the reason was his desire to hold a political position. He was going to found his own “New Armenia” party and saw Armenia’s future in deeper integration with Russia and the EEU.
Boris Avagyan and his wife did not start any activity with a political party. Avagyan’s wife has a travel agency, Avakian Premium Travel. And Avagyan has held state positions. He was the deputy mayor of Artik, Shirak region, acting mayor.
Since the days of the Second Artsakh War, he has also held positions in Artsakh: Adviser on Special Issues to the Speaker of the Artsakh National Assembly, Representative of the Artsakh President on special assignments working on a voluntary basis, Deputy Director of the Artsakh State Emergency Service.
Avagyan has held positions in Armenia and Artsakh at the same time (Deputy Head of Artik Community and Adviser on Special Issues to the Speaker of the Artsakh National Assembly, then Representative on Special Assignments of the Artsakh President). Article 31 of the Law on Public Service of the Republic of Armenia stipulates that persons holding public office and public servants, among others, may not hold a position in other state or local self-government bodies that is not conditioned by their status.
Avagyan often talks about his programs on 24News. In 2020 alone, he gave a studio interview for this news outlet more than 10 times, in some cases in Russian.
Boris Avagyan’s programs and donations
Avagyan’s biggest initiative was to create a free economic zone (FEZ) in Artik. The project was ambitious: Large oil companies were to be relocated to the Artik FEZ, Artik tuff was to be exported to war-torn Libya, and Libyan oil was to be sold through the Artik FEZ. The government rejected this application.
Avagyan has another ambitious program in Iran. His wife said that her husband’s investments in the Iranian project exceed $50 million. According to him, Iran has provided gold export quotas to structures belonging to their family.
Boris Avagyan makes donations on behalf of himself, his family or the community. He donated Bashinjaghyan’s canvas to the RA National Gallery, Russian books to the Artsakh State University, boots and gloves to the Artsakh NSSP.
He was positioned as dealing with the cases of more than 60 Shirak reservists captured in the Old Tagher-Khtsaberd section of Artsakh in December 2020, and in May the press wrote that the captives had been repatriated thanks to him as well.
Who can we thank for the captives being returned to Armenia?
Three of the captives held in Azerbaijan returned to Armenia on May 4. On the same day, the media wrote that this became possible “due to the efforts” of Boris Avagyan, together with the efforts of the Russian peacekeepers.
The source of the information was not known, but the news spread. On the same day, the press also wrote that Avagyan is a friend of the commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops Rustam Muradov and is engaged in negotiations over the return of the captives.
Later, Avagyan himself clarified his role, explaining that he only asked Muradov, with whom he has “good business relations.” A few days later, in the 24News pavilion, he was indignant that the office of Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan had announced that the captives had returned as a result of the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.
Boris Avagyan sees Armenia in the Russia-Belarus alliance
Boris Avagyan was one of the supporters of recognizing Russian as the second official language in Artsakh. He applied to the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
Wearing clothes with Putin’s image, he said that he was ready to go back to Russia “For example, if I am offered to become the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in St. Petersburg or to represent the country in the Eurasian Economic Union, where they wanted to send me two years ago.” He states that all his activities are aimed at the deeper integration of Armenia and Russia within the framework of the EEU and the CSTO.