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Grisha Balasanyan

The Palatial Estates of Armenia's Oligarchs

Oligarchs in Armenia have a weakness for gaudy palatial estates, replete with gold encrusted domes, statuettes the size of people and marble walls. Some Arab sheiks have similar tastes when it comes to their homes.

Such homes are being erected in the outlying districts of Yerevan – out of public sight. Most have high walls to keep the curious away.

Architect Sashour Kalashyan said that these designs are a reflection of the inner, psychological, essence of the oligarchs.

“Such palaces are surrounded by high walls so that passerby cannot see what is going on inside. It is not by accident that such homes are built away from streets and inaccessible. The owners are fearful that others might get jealous and do harm. The jealousy springs from the fact that most of the money enjoyed by the oligarchs is ill-gotten,” Kalashyan told Hetq.

The architect knows some individuals who have even built churches in their estates where they pray to God every night.

“There’s the Christian belief that one can be absolved of sin through prayer. So these oligarchs pray for absolution one day and go about their criminal business the next,” noted Kalashyan.

The most ornate private homes of the oligarchs belong to Prosperous Armenia Party president and MP, Gagik Tsarukyan.

At least his estates can be seen. On the road leading to Abovyan, high on a hill overlooking the town, two of Tsaroukyan’s homes magically rise up. Architecturally, they look the same.

No one doubts the financial resources that Tsarukyan commands, especially since he seems to enjoy flaunting his wealth.

In a recent conversation with Hetq, Tsarukyan’s press secretary Khachik Galstyan, said that the businessman/politician derives his wealth from the 35 companies making up his MultiGroup holding company.

Some of MultiGroup’s diverse holdings are – the Abovyan Measuring Equipment Company, the Yerevan Chemical Drug Firm, the MultiGaz chain of filling stations, the Mek furniture store chain, the Ararat Cognac and Wine Company, the Ararat Cement Factory, etc.

In 2009, Gagik Tsarukyan and his wife Javahir purchased the Bulgarian Gorna Banya mineral water company for 25 million Euros.

General Seyran Saroyan, an MP affiliated with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, can also point with pride to his palatial house in Etchmiadzin. Unlike Gagik Tsarukyan’s Abovyan estate, General Saroyan’s house, surrounded by high walls, is located on a central street in Etchmiadzin.

The house is monitored by a security team day and night and the walls prevent the curious from peering inside.

They say that General Saroyan owns other homes as well besides the one in Etchmiadzin.

Each morning and evening, the gates open and out streams a phalanx of Hummers and other pricey SUV’s.

MP Saroyan spends little time within the halls of parliament, let alone in Armenia.

Our sources tell us that he owns businesses in Odessa, Ukraine.

In Etchmiadzin, Saroyan owns the Sar Kop wine, vodka and cognac factory and other businesses.

Saroyan’s assistant, Boris Mkrtchyan told Hetq that while he had no idea regarding the property holdings of the MP, Saroyan had no business links per say.

Right now, we only possess the 2009 financial disclosure statement of MP Saroyan.

According to the disclosure, as of 2009, Saroyan had 63,143,440 AMD.

Comments (11)

Jasmin
добрый день! Была в Эчмиадзине и видела Особняк похожий стилем на Исаакиевский собор, такого бреда я не видела ни в какой стране. Причем первое мое предположение было что это музей, но когда я у соседей спросила, открыт ли музей, то мене с тяжелым вздохом ответили чт это не музей а чей то дом , но как я поняла то э то дом каког то Священно служителя. Вообщем не понимаю сей бред происхождения этой страны. Пока люди которые там проживают не начнут держаться друг за друга порой страна так и будет разваливаться. Жаль не могу прикрепить фото.(
Арарат
Они забыли 1918-й год. Сколько просуществовала Первая Республика? Причины те же самые. Все по барабану, главное - нажраться сейчас, а после - хоть потоп! Олигархи, кто защищать будет государство?
aram
kardaceq xndrem http://hetq.am/arm/news/7156/varchapet-tigran-sargsyani-ev-harutyun-araqelyani-hakamartutyuny-nor-tap-e-stanum.html
aram
et [email protected] [email protected] vekalum en,1 tali joxovrdin,chnayac vor [email protected] et el chen tali,et carukyanin urduc etqan exav,harka mucum?ira maman el a asum,mucem [email protected] kethan kazinonerum kkrven,@ntruthyuna,2 kopek ktan,heto [email protected] kthankacnen u het kvekalen et [email protected],vonc vor misht...ira ashxatoxneric harcreq goh en?plen en......
Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam)
stue (8) - But getting rich at whose/what EXPENCE? If Tsarukian wants to do (fair) businnes-fine. But WHY is he at the same time member of parliament and Olympic Committee chairman? WHY DO NOT all these oligarchs let the Armenian Parliament make laws FOR THE PEOPLE and COUNTRY. Where is the MIDDLE CLASS in Armenia? Answer: eaten by these oligarchs.
stue
Who says being rich is evil ?..We need more propel like Tsaroukyan and Saroyan in Armenia...
Վահագն
Ժողովուրդ հարցին մի ուրիշ տեսանկյունից մոտեցեք, վաղը որ պարզվեց, որ այս կամ այն ապօրինի եղանակով են կառուցված այդ դղյակները կամ մեղավոր են մեկ այլ հարցում, ապա գույքի բռնագրավման հարցում չեն ասի` փող չուներ, կատարողական վարույթը կարճվում է` պարտապանին սնանկ ճանաչելու հիմքով: Սա համենայն դեպս ուրախալի է, այլ ոչ թե տխրելի: Իսկ դու Վարազ Սյունի, քիչ խոսա Սյունիքից ու Սյունյաց երկրի նույնիսկ ամենավատ մարդկանցից: Սա քեզ խորհուրդ:
Ara Manoogian
Could the Saroyan property be the one found half a block from Saint Hiripsime Church? It can be viewed on google map at: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=erevan+armenia&hl=en&ll=40.1673,44.306284&spn=0.001748,0.002181&sll=36.958671,-119.772949&sspn=7.275112,8.931885&vpsrc=6&hnear=Yerevan,+Armenia&t=h&z=19 Dodi Gago's house though is much bigger and the house that is next to his is even bigger. Below Dodi Gago's house is a Church he had built after having a son. This all can be viewed on google map at: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=erevan+armenia&hl=en&ll=40.23636,44.574484&spn=0.006986,0.008723&sll=40.166701,44.309205&sspn=0.001748,0.002181&vpsrc=6&hnear=Yerevan,+Armenia&t=h&z=17 And then there is the house I've driven by so many times who I was told belongs to Lifik Samo, who has a monopoly on sugar and can be viewed at: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=erevan+armenia&hl=en&ll=40.220093,44.584858&spn=0.003494,0.004361&sll=40.166701,44.309205&sspn=0.001748,0.002181&vpsrc=6&hnear=Yerevan,+Armenia&t=h&z=18 Hetq should do a google map tour of all the homes and properties held by the MPs, government officials and their family and friends.
Վարազ Սյունի (Ամստերդամ)
Նույն ոճով 3-հարկանի մի դղյակ էլ Կապանի ներկա դաշնակ քաղաքապետ Ա.Աթայանն է կառուցում իր համար Կապանում.Կապան-Կավարտ ճանապարհի սկզբին.«աչքից հեռու»: Հետաքրքիր է, պարոն քաղաքապետը ումից է պաշտպանվում? Համաձայն եմ Ճարտարապետ Սաշուր Քալաշյանի ասածներին:..................... ՀԳ. Նույնիսկ ՔԱԴԴԱՖԻՆ մի կեղտոտ ջրախողովակում վերջացավ: Հայաստանի քԱԴԴԱՖԻԿՆԵՐԻՆ պարիսպները պիտի պաշտպանեն?........................PS. Edmound (1) - Good comment. So true.
karen
Petq e miayn unezrkel ed bashibozuknerin.Tox irenc qrtinqov apren, voch te azgin talanelov.
Edmound
No wonder that Opera house in central Yerevan is no more visible - due to streets cafes ‎owned by different politician and oligarchy!! ‎ No wonder upon arrival in Zvartnoz airport one sees only Ad´s for alcoholic drinks and ‎tobacco!‎ No winder that in every single “exhibition” we see again and again the same pavilion of ‎‎“Arrarat brandy” or a similar alcoholic drink!‎ No wound that even the underwear for babies being imported form Turkey or China ‎including child food o poor quality!‎ ‎ A bunch of “businessmen” who have established “import Inc” or have got a licenses for a ‎mining area ‎ ‎ Does any of theses Armenian oligarchy owners a car fabric or electronic fabric or a company ‎which does produce machinery in Armenia? or they are simply producing vodka and cheap ‎wine ( e.g. making out of one bottle of Vodka 10 bottle of wine!) and did established street ‎cafes around Opera making money. Soon we will see casinos around opera one cannot see ‎already the Opera hose- they have stated building two story “street cafes” - Tourist form ‎Armenian Diaspora should better avoid vesting cafes in green areas in Parks in Yerevan and ‎around Opera house owned by Oligarchy and corrupt opticians! A change of mentality is ‎needed, but how? When even the mayors of Yerevan are own of “street cafes”! ‎

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