MOSCOW (Panorama.am) — Eight-year-old Luka Vardanyan’s mother Christina Konstantinova planned a visit to Baku together with Moscow school students and their parents in order to celebrate the end of the academic year. The trip program was planned beforeh and, Vardanyan’s surname was mentioned in all the events, and no questions emerged with regard to that, Luka’s mother – a pastry-cook, photographer, and Sweetslab project founder – wrote on her Instagram page. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGD391Vw9_5/?taken-by=kkristisha_sweetslab
She posted her son’s photo in the Baku Heydar Aliyev International airport and wrote that they had flown with 18 people on May 29. “I asked the custom house employees and the company representatives beforehand and on the day of the flight whether there might be any problems concerning the child’s Armenian surname. I received a negative answer,” Konstantinova wrote.
According to the mother, once in Baku, their documents were taken from them in the passport control, and they were stopped in the custom house because of the child’s surname and father’s name, which is also mentioned in Russian passports. Konstantinova noted that Luka, her husband and she have Russian citizenship. Her husband and Luka’s father, Ruben Vardanyan, was in Moscow at that time.
They spent about an hour at the custom house, after which, without any explanation, they were asked to move to another territory, the zone of deportees, under the control of the guard and with the documents in their hands.
All that time, her friends, who had already passed the control, were calling to the Russian embassy. One of its employees went to the airport in order to deal with the problem. Konstantinova writes that they spent 9 hours in the deportees’ zone. Nobody told them anything officially; however, they were told that the flight was at 5 in the morning. The security guards told them about it rather than the custom house employees, and only after Konstantinova’s demands to provide her with information.
“I would like to say that because of the situation, I told the custom house employees that I was ready to fly immediately, as there was a flight in an hour. I told them that it was easier for me to buy new tickets than to cuckoo. They told us to wait. Besides, while being under the control of the guard, I asked them to give me the opportunity to fly in another company’s plane (the Domodedovo flight was at 19:00). I wanted to buy the tickets and not to stand there till 5 of the morning, however, they did not agree,” the deported boy’s mother writes.
According to her, she decided to immediately leave Baku with her son; however, they were not allowed to. “Accompanied by the guard, we bought water, turned cartoons on, and tuned to wait another 7 hours. Later, at 22:00, all the representatives approached and told us with a smile that everything was solved and that it was a misunderstanding. They said that we were secure in their city, and that the security guards understood it at last. I refused and told them that I would not go for sure anymore,” Konstantinova writes.
Therefore, she decided to leave Baku, as she did not intended to stay at all, and the excursions and photos in the city were not already so desirable. “I made no provocation, we just went to celebrate the graduation with a big and friendly company,” Christina Konstantinova highlights.
Under another Instagram photo, Konstantinova wrote that the 8-year-old Luka was received in Baku with apologies, like an honorable guest. “But my son is a boy of character, and he said that he would rather go to Yerevan, to his great-grandmother,” she notes.
Armenophobia in Azerbaijan is also evident by the fact that people with Armenian surnames or the surnames that are similar to Armenian ones are not allowed to enter the republic. Thus, in 2010 because of illegal actions of the “Aeroflot” representation of Azerbaijan the Armenian delegation was not able to leave Moscow to Baku for the 64th General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union.
In June 2011, a photojournalist of the Bloomberg agency, a citizen of the United States and Russia Diana Markosian was deported from Baku to Istanbul because of her Armenian origin. MFA of Azerbaijan confirmed that the Armenian origin of the photojournalist of Bloomberg agency has served a reason for her deportation: “During her stay in Azerbaijan Markosian will face security problems because of her Armenian origin.”
In July 2011, two players of Russian “Torpedo” club from Armavir were deported from Azerbaijan immediately after arriving at the airport of Ganja.
In October 2011, representatives of “Azerbaijan Airlines” (AZAL), at the airport “Domodedovo” the representative of “AvtoVAZ” citizen of Russian federation Sergei Gyurjian was removed from Moscow – Baku flight, together with his Israeli colleague Shuhmahera Demitra, the Director of “LADA International Limited”, who were involved in the delegation in Baku for committing a deal to import LADA cars to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, the head of the press service of “Azerbaijani Railways” Nadir Azmammadov stated that “the entry of those having Armenia nationality, as well as citizens of other countries of Armenian origin is officially banned in Azerbaijan.”
In December 2012, at the Baku airport, a Russian journalist from Kabardino-Balkaria, Sufyan Zhemukhova, was detained. The cause of the almost failed deportation was the name of the journalist – Sufyan that reminded the Azerbaijani border guards the ending of the Armenian surnames.