Okay, enough about me. Apparently Forbes is about to publish a list of the Ten Richest Men in Armenia. The Armenian blogosphere (oh yes, there is one) has already picked up on this, so I'm coming a couple of days late. But anyhow, you don't have to know a thing about Armenia to find this list interesting. Check it out:
Gagik Tsarukyan (commonly known as Dodi Gago) - businessman; Armen Avetisyan - The Chairman of the State Customs Committee; Mikael Baghdasarov - businessman; Hrant Vardanyan - businessman; Suqiasyan Family - businessmen; Yervand Zakharyan - Mayor of Yerevan; Robert Kocharyan - President of the Republic of Armenia; Serge Sargsyan - RoA Minister of Defense; Andranik Manukyan - Minister of Transport and Communication of the RoA; David Harutyunyan - RoA Minister of Justice;Gagik Tsarukyan -- the first on the list -- is said to have a fortune of around 400-500 million dollars. He's Armenia's top oligarch, and he probably deserves a post of his own. The last few names are down in the $60-100 million dollar range. Now, note that we have not one, not two, but six high-ranking government officials here. Including the President, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Transport, and the Minister of Justice. Interesting stuff. Is this true? How would I know? I've been here less than a year, I still don't speak the language beyond the see-spot-run level, and Armenian politics is of a complexity that goes past Baroque, beyond Byzantine, somewhere into non-Euclidean. But I would say that, in my uninformed opinion, this seems... not entirely implausible.