Russian Billionaire Flees to Nagorno-Karabakh, Angering Azerbaijan
STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—Russian businessman and billionaire German Sterligov has fled Russia for Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian media and various sources reported on Tuesday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh confirmed that Sterligov has been registered as a tourist in Artsakh.
According to the Russian News Service, Sterligov put his property, livestock, and vehicle fleet for sale in Russia before leaving the country. His assistant, Polina Sirota, has said that Sterligov left for Artsakh on July 4. Sterligov’s lawyer confirmed with the BBC on July 6 that he had left Russia.
“He has left for Nagorno-Karabakh, and it’s not known when he’s going to return. Serious circumstances have made him leave Russia. But it’s not bandits, it’s on a higher level,” Sirota said.
“It is unclear when he will come back, but he certainly will do,” she added.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has already announced that it will investigate the “illegal stay” of Sterligov and his family members in Artsakh, and include them on a list of “undesirable people”.
“The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry is inquiring the illegal stay of Russian billionaire German Sterligov and his family on the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia,” said Hikmet Hajiyev, an Azerbaijani foreign ministry spokesperson, on July 7.
By traveling to Artsakh, Sterligov has violated Azerbaijani state border laws.
“This person has illegally visited Azerbaijan’s occupied territories by violating Azerbaijan’s law on state border. In accordance with the procedures and the results of the investigation, his name will be included in the ministry’s list of personas non grata,” Hajiyev said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Ministry confirmed on July 7 that Sterligov had indeed arrived in Artsakh.
“Sterligov is staying in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. He was registered as a tourist in the consular department of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Foreign Ministry,” spokesperson Ani Sarkisian told Interfax on July 7.