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Examining Russian influence in Armenia’s mining sector: Ownership and impact

Armenia’s mining sector holds immense economic significance, contributing to over 30% of the nation’s total exports. Predominantly driven by metal mining activities, it also stands as a major source of tax revenue for the country.

However, the sector is not without its complexities. On one hand, it faces environmental scrutiny and political entanglements, while on the other, it heavily relies on foreign investments, particularly from Russia.

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Russian investors have entrenched themselves in Armenia’s mining industry, exerting considerable control over key mining assets. The recent introduction of Armenia’s beneficial ownership register sheds light on the ownership landscape of the sector.

Among the notable figures disclosed in the register is Russian businessman Roman Trotsenko and his son, Gleb, who have acquired substantial shares in Armenian mines. Trotsenko’s interests extend to the Zangezur copper-molybdenum combine, a significant contributor to Armenia’s tax revenues.

The influx of Russian capital into Armenia’s mining sector has raised concerns about the country’s economic dependency on Russia. Despite this, Russian investors continue to expand their foothold in Armenia’s mining industry.

One such example is the acquisition of shares in the Zangezur Copper Mine by Trotsenko, which sparked controversy due to legal disputes and tax evasion allegations. Trotsenko’s involvement in other mining ventures further underscores Russia’s growing influence in Armenia’s economy.

Additionally, Trotsenko’s influence extends to other major mining companies operating in Armenia, such as GeoProMining Gold and Paramount Gold Mining. Through a web of intermediary companies, Trotsenko maintains significant control over these entities, consolidating Russian dominance in the sector.

The situation is further complicated by the involvement of other Russian businessmen, such as Mikhail Zurabov, in Armenian mining ventures. The ownership structures of these companies often involve offshore entities, adding layers of complexity to the ownership landscape.

The Armenian government’s ownership stakes in these mining ventures also raise questions about transparency and accountability. While the government holds shares in some mining companies, the extent of its influence remains uncertain.

Despite these challenges, Armenia’s mining sector continues to play a vital role in the country’s economy. However, the increasing influence of Russian investors highlights the need for greater transparency and accountability in the sector to safeguard Armenia’s economic sovereignty.

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