Tashir Update

An update to my previous post:

According to the newspaper “Armenian Time”, the purchaser of Inter-RAO’s Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) is in fact Samvel Karapetyan’s Tashir Group.

“According to the story, Samvel Karapetyan will buy 50% of the shares of the facility, while the other 50% will be distributed among three wealthy Armenian businessmen – Gagik Tsarukyan, former head of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Karen Karapetyan, former head of ArmRosgazprom gas distribution company (now Gazprom Armenia) and a former member of the National Assembly of Armenia Harutyun Pambukchyan.”

But Radio Liberty’s Armenian service reports:

“A spokeswoman for Tsarukian flatly denied, however, that he will be part of the deal.”

Who Is Liormand Holdings Limited?

Russia’s Inter-RAO is interested in selling its electricity assets in Armenia, according to media reports. This comes on the heels of protests this summer over rate hikes that were intended to cover losses that the company had incurred due to corruption and mismanagement. The protests started up again last weekend.

According to Radio Liberty’s Armenian service:

“Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian announced the state-controlled Russian company’s intention to sell the ENA to the Cyprus-registered firm Liormand Holdings Limited at a weekly session of his cabinet.”

Liormand Holdings Limited” was registered on 30 November 2010.

Russian media reports that the farthest they’ve been able to track Liormand is to an “international asset management firm” also located in Cyprus at the same address, Marcuard Trust (Cyprus) Limited.

Marcuard has offices in several locations including Moscow.

According to public records, Marcuard’s directors in Cyprus are Alexis Xenophontos and Andreas Hadjimichael.

Hadjimichael appears to be a CPA located in Larnaca, Cyprus. According to the ICPAC (The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus), his website can be found here. I’ve provided a screenshot of it below:

Hadjimichael's Website

Hadjimichael is or has been named on at least 121 corporations in Cyprus, including a holding called “Tashir International Holding Limited“.

Tashir’s Directors are named as Andreas Hadjimichael and Sinan Robert Bodmer.

Bodmer is a co-founder of Marcuard, and is also on the Board of Directors at Fora-Bank, which is beneficially owned by Samvel Karapetyan, “an Armenian-born Russian”.

There have been rumors that Samvel Karapetyan’s Tashir Group was the purchaser of the assets. From what I’ve been able to dig up, that looks to be the case. I will provide updates as more information appears.

Russian Society’s Limits

A little over two months ago, Alfred Kokh asked the following question on his Facebook page:

“…it seems that Russia has a huge margin, before the coming danger of the disintegration of all social institutions.

“But the fact is that our understanding about the stability of a society and its ability to face the challenges of the outside world is very superficial and unconvincing. Sometimes it seems that the the edge is much closer than it actually is.”

And we still poorly know how society works, in order to be able to accurately predict the limits of its tolerance.

I was reminded of this post when I saw Andrei Kolesnikov’s recent interview in Ekho Moskvy:

The people need to be scared, to be kept off-balance, by the regime, Kolesnikov says. The current situation with the falling GDP, 15% inflation, and the unstable ruble makes this necessary “in the abstract sense”. Mass repression is not needed. Russia is “not yet a totalitarian regime”.

“The authoritarian regime demonstrates just what it is capable of…”, emphasizing its cruelty, and targeting various peoples and groups, emphasizing its arbitrariness.

Of course, this signal is understood by the public in such a way that it is better continue to behave calmly, it is better not to twitch, not to offend the Lord, to be quiet. Do not join any protests. To adapt to the life as it is.”

Meanwhile, small demonstrations are taking place, as Paul Goble notes:

“Novyye izvestiya” reports today that Russians took to the streets in Volzhsky, Kalach-na-Donu, Blagoveshchensk, Chita and Birobidzhan not to protest this or that action but rather the decline in living standards as a result of central government policies (newizv.ru/politics/2015-08-31/226365-banalno-net-deneg.html).

Goble continues:

Valery Borshchev, a former Duma deputy and rights activist, says that “the higher leadership of the country receives information about all protest actions and about [this] change in their character. But it is necessary to point out at the present time the Center really doesn’t have a genuine chance to provide help to the regions. For the banal reason that there is no money.”