Against the background of a general decline in freedom in Russia, individual large financial groups feel even more and more free. It turns out that they are capable of opposing themselves even to the position of official Moscow, which is making diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the confrontation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The administration of the FoodCity agro-cluster, owned by the immigrants from Azerbaijan, God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev, expelled dozens of trucks of Armenian traders outside the market, and the FoodCity private security company “Vityaz” forcibly expelled Armenian diplomats who arrived to negotiations for lifting the food boycott.
As a former adviser to the Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia, I can say that the forced expulsion of embassy workers for the diplomatic world is an incredible case. Green passports, red numbers, the Vienna Convention, as well as the general system of relations with diplomatic missions in the world, accustom diplomats to a sense of their special inviolable status. Even states, declaring a diplomat persona non grata, expel them according to a special procedure without the use of threats.
At the same time, the co-owner of the Evropeyskiy and Sadovod shopping centers Ilgam Ragimov, a longtime partner of God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev (founders of the Kievskaya Ploschad group), openly declares that the Vityaz private security company did not act on its own initiative, but carried out an order … In an interview with the news portal Minval, he said: “We immediately drove them out of our territory, without listening. As the leaders of FoodCity, we considered the presence of Armenians there inappropriate ”.
Such manifestations actually transfer the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan to the territory of Russia, reducing its peacekeeping efficiency. This is all the more surprising since the philosophy of retail business forms a priori implies apoliticality and is traditionally far from political escapades.
Answering Minval’s question about the attempts of the Russian authorities to contact him to discuss the situation in “Foodcity”, Ilgam Rahimov admitted that he received many calls about this and each time replied “Do not interfere in this matter.”
“It is clear that they will want to put pressure on me and on God Nisanov, and they will complain, but our position is clear, it is unchanging, and we do not intend to retreat,” Rahimov said. Questions about the authenticity of the interview remain, but so far Ragimov has not refuted it. And looking at the reaction of numerous Azerbaijani media outlets, delighted with the statements, this is not a misunderstanding, but a purposeful policy.
Judging by the lack of prompt comments from law enforcement agencies and high-ranking officials, the Kremlin either does not attach great importance to these events, or deliberately ignores these issues. And this is strange, considering that the situation is developing in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani clash in Tovuz.
The authorities tried to hush up the conflict at the grassroots level, although the Kremlin usually reacts toughly to cases of arbitrariness in the geopolitical direction. The next day, the head of the Moscow Department of Trade and Services Alexei Nemeryuk reported: Armenian exporters already have access to the territory of the Food City market near Kaluga highway, thus admitting that he was aware that they had not previously had such access. However, according to the Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganyan, the situation has not been completely resolved: there are fewer Armenian products at Food City, and the entrepreneurs have sent convoys to other retail outlets.
Eliminating the focus of tension will not change the general state of affairs. “Foodcity”, “Sadovod” and other objects of Kievskaya Square, like Cherkizovsky once, have turned into enclaves, states within a state with their own authorities and an economic block represented by the management, “taxes” in the form of regular formal and informal rents of exporters, ” police “and” special services “represented by the private security company” Vityaz “. Now it turns out that these enclaves are also capable of conducting an autonomous foreign policy.
For the townsfolk, the picture of the expulsion of embassy workers by the Chopovites seems surprising, however, only a person unfamiliar with the practice of the private security company can be surprised at such Vityaz’s tactics. Back in 2011, employees of the private security company were used to disperse eco-activists who defended the Khimki forest. Later, Vityaz’s fighters repeatedly acted as the main argument in solving various difficult situations in enterprises entering the orbit of Kievskaya Square, for example, during clashes with merchants in all the same “Food City” or “Sadovod”.
In February 2019, employees of the same private security company “Vityaz” broke into the office of the SDI Group, which belonged to me, took away the bank keys, primary documentation and planted a new management. One could assume that bandits dressed in Vityaz uniforms raided the office, but a video surveillance camera in the office on Kutuzovsky Prospekt recorded the face of the founder of the Vityaz private security company Maxim Kotov, who personally gave commands to his people.
A couple of days earlier, in Moscow, other people, also in the form of the private security company Vityaz, had similarly established control over three construction sites of the SDI Group holding: the Vernadsky residential complex on Vernadsky Prospect, Pirogovskaya Riviera in the Mytishchi district, and the Akkord residential complex. Smart-quarter “in Odintsovo.
The banal seizure of premises by the security forces can, as my personal experience has shown, initiate a long struggle for the return of lost property, which lasts for years and costs millions of dollars. And in terms of interethnic relations, it can even cost the taken away human lives.
All this happens when the laws of a huge country stop working for its individual parts and citizens. Due to the tyranny of large corporations, super-wealthy businessmen and financial-industrial groups and their “exclusive rights”, we have forgotten how these events could develop in a rule-of-law state. As in the case of Armenian traders and diplomats in Food City, so in the case of the SDI Group holding, the arbitrariness of the Chopovites could easily have been stopped with the arrival of the Police.
It should be noted that as an Azerbaijani I do not take the side of Armenia in the confrontation with my Motherland, but at the same time I consider the manifestations of intolerance and enmity, which only add fuel to the fire, harmful and dangerous.