Why the Sterligov family has settled in Artsakh

Lusine Avanesyan
Public Radio of Armenia

Russian billionaire German Sterligov has settled in Shushi, Karabakh. The family does not make the address public, but never refuses to meet journalists. Sterligov and his wife Alyona avoid speaking about the reasons behind their decision to move to Artsakh, but promise to reveal the truth at a press conference Monday.

Speaking to , Alyona Sterligova said they have Armenian friends and were planning to visit Armenia, but never thought the circumstances would change and they would move to Artsakh.

“It was my husband’s decision,” Alyona 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).”

The most important thing for Alyena is to see her spouse and children safe and healthy. She’s not upset for being forced to start new life in a new place. Instead, she’s 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,”Alyona Sterligova says.

What attracts her most in Artsakh is that everything is natural here: chickens are not vaccinated, products are pure, animals are healthy. “This is what German has been talking about for a few years,” Alyona says. They intend to create the replica of their famous ‘Sloboda’ in Artsakh. They are currently travelling in the country in search for a proper land.

The place, where they intend to found the ‘Armenian Sloboda’ should have beautiful nature, good climate and water and a mountainous river that will operate a mill.

Alyona has aalready opened a fashion house in one of the rooms of the carpet museum in Shushi. She says the future models should be suitable to Armenian taste. Inspired by the carpets, she has decided to copy the prints on fabrics and sew Armenian clothes.

The Sterligovs do not conceal they do not know how long they will stay in Nagorno Karabakh. “The decisions may be sudden,” Alyona says. That does not mean, however, that the ‘Armenian Sloboda’ will stop operating.

Lured by the nature of Artsakh and the Armenian traditions, Sterligova says “it’s possible to restore the 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 or not.”

Irrespective of the reasons behind the Sterligovs’ decision to move to Nagorno Karabakah, their presence has aroused great interest. Many of their friends can be seen visiting Artsakh.