Armenia: Potatoes for Votes

The latest Armenian Parliamentary Election Monitory at Oneworld Multimedia rounds up the latest election news with a large section devoted to Gagik Tsarukian, who is now making headlines not for losing tons of money or gunfights involving his hired muscle, but for giving out potatoes to buy votes.


  • Just to point out some comfusion that you might have had with my reference to Tsarukian’s companies posting losses which you wrote as “losing tons of money.” In actual fact, he is not believed to be making any losses. However, it is commonplace for companies to post losses so they don’t pay their taxes as Emil Danielyan explains in the article I linked to in the post.

    The Armenian authorities have released new data on Armenia’s leading corporate taxpayers. The previously unreleased data reveal the first results of the government’s new crackdown on tax evasion.


    The list had some glaring omissions, including several of Armenia’s most lucrative firms. Gagik Tsarukian, arguably the wealthiest man in the country, owns more than 40 medium and large companies. Only a handful of them were on the list and only one of them, a Yerevan-based winery, posted any earnings. Its first-quarter profit tax of nearly $20,000 is less than the price tag of any of the dozen cars that normally make up Tsarukian’s motorcade.

    Tsarukian’s business empire has seen an incredible expansion in recent years. The former arm-wrestler started out as a minority shareholder in one of Armenia’s two largest breweries in the late 1990s. The brewery has claimed to be loss-making since then, and it is not clear how exactly the unusually beefy tycoon, who is very close to the ruling regime, has earned his millions. Some local observers suspect that more powerful individuals are behind Tsarukian’s businesses.


  • Thanks for the clarification. I certainly suppose I could have been clearer about that.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.