STEPANAKERT (Public Radio of Armenia)—Russian billionaire German Sterligov has settled in Shushi, Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Public Radio of Armenia, and although he and his family have not made their specific location known, they have not refused to speak to journalists about the details of their move.
Sterligov and his wife, Alyona Sterligova, plan on revealing the reason behind their move to Artsakh at a press conference on Monday.
Speaking to Public Radio of Armenia, Sterligova said that she and her husband have Armenian friends and were planning on visiting Armenia, but never thought that circumstances would change and that they would move to Artsakh.
“It was my husband’s decision,” Sterligova said. “We were in Belarus. My husband came and said we immediately had to leave for the Caucasus because of some reason. These circumstances do not allow us to return to Russia at this point. I did not ask anything, as this was not the first such case in my life (we moved several times in 1990s).”
According to Sterligova, the most important thing for her is to see her spouse and children safe and healthy. She’s not upset about being forced to start a new life in a new place. Instead she says she is very inspired, and the nature and people of Artsakh are the source of that inspiration.
“I don’t know where else we could feel as comfortable and where our children would feel as safe,” Sterligova said.
What attracts her most in Artsakh? Everything there is natural. Chickens are not vaccinated, products are pure, animals are healthy, she told Public Radio of Armenia.
“This is what German has been talking about for a few years,” Sterligova says.
The Sterligovs reportedly intend to replicate of their famous “sloboda” in Artsakh. A sloboda is a historical settlement common in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Today the term is used in Russia to describe a type of rural locality.
Sterligov and his wife are currently travelling in Artsakh in search of land for their project. According to Sterligova, the land where they intend to build an “Armenian Sloboda” should have a beautiful landscape, good climate, and water for a mill.
Sterligova has already opened a fashion house in a vacant room in a carpet museum in Shushi. She says that future models should be suitable to Armenian taste. Inspired by the carpets, she reportedly has decided to copy the prints on fabrics and to sew Armenian clothes.
The Sterligovs do not know how long they will stay in Artsakh. “The decisions may be sudden,” Sterligova says. “That does not mean, however, that the ‘Armenian Sloboda’ will stop operating.”
Lured by the nature of Artsakh and Armenian traditions, Sterligova says “it’s possible to restore an ecologically clean economy in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“In that case many people will express the desire to come here, and you’ll have a choice whether to allow it or not.”
The Sterligov’s presence in Artsakh has aroused great public interest. Public Radio of Armenia reports that many of the family’s friends have been seen visiting Artsakh.