STEPANAKERT—The Russian tycoon, German Sterligov, who moved to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic this week, announced on Wednesday that he will hold a press conference in Shushi on Monday to discuss factors relating to his relocation to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Meanwhile, Russian television reported that Sterligov’s wife, Aloyona, will pursuing her passion for fashion design in Artsakh and has already begun putting together a line.
“My wife has already begun sewing and very soon she will open a fashion center in Karabakh called the Alyona Sterligova center,” German told Ren-tv.
The 48-year-old Russian businessman has not elaborated his reasons for moving to Artsakh, saying that he will answer all questions during a press conference in Shushi.
He posted a picture on Tuesday on his personal page on the Russian social media site, V Kontakte of him riding a donkey in a village, with a tagline “I just came down from the mountains, surfed on the Internet and got stunned,” referring to Russian media reports that claimed that he had fled Russia to avoid prosecution for his alleged involvement in criminal activity.
“I am scheduling a news conference for next Monday,” he said on V Kontak. “The venue — the blooming garden of Nagorno-Karabakh, the ancient Armenian town of Shushi. Dear journalists, arrange assignments [to Karabakh] and you’ll learn the truth.”
Some Russian media outlets reported that Sterligov fled Russia because incriminating testimony was given by two people who are serving time in Russia for “politically motivated killings.”
His lawyer, Artur Ayrapetov, who is Armenian, called those reports “slander,” adding that they provided Sterligov “additional incentive” to leave.
Azatutyun.am reported that Ayrapetov said on Monday that his client has moved to Karabakh because he has a “good rapport with many respected persons in Armenia.” “Besides, all those values which he has applied to his Sloboda in recent times have already been put into practice in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he told the “Moskovsky Komsomolets” daily.
According to Azatutyun.am, Sterligov rose to prominence in 1990 when he founded, together with several other Russian entrepreneurs, the Soviet Union’s first commodities exchange at the age of 24. It served as a launch pad for a financial empire with offices in London and New York which he built in the following years.
Sterligov subsequently became known as a deeply religious man with hardline nationalist views and extreme hostility to science and technology, which he accuses of destroying humankind. He tried unsuccessfully to run for the Russian presidency in 2004 after failed bids to become mayor of Moscow and governor of the vast Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia.
In 2004, Sterligov abandoned much of his wealth to move deep into the Russian countryside and live a traditional peasant lifestyle there with his wife and five children. As he explained to the BBC afterwards, he wanted to escape “the mercenary atmosphere, the envy and the hustle” of Moscow.
Four years later, Sterligov founded in central Russia the Sloboda rural commune that offered free housing, healthcare and other public services to young and married Russians willing to work there as farmers or craftsmen. Later in 2008, he resumed his entrepreneurial activities in Moscow, setting up a trading and financial services company.
The Russian media reported over the weekend that the eccentric tycoon wearing a big bushy beard is again selling off his assets and has left Russia for Karabakh together with his family.
“He was forced to leave the country by serious circumstances,” the Interfax news agency quoted an aide to Sterligov, Polina Sirota, as saying. “It’s not bandits, it’s a higher level,” she added without elaborating.
On Tuesday, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry placed him on the now infamous black list of people who visit the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.