Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak at a conference in Armenia alongside one of the first Russian officials the U.S. sanctioned following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.
Giuliani arrived in Armenia earlier this week to attend the Eurasian Week conference, an annual affair dedicated to improving relations within the pro-Russia Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The former mayor of New York has said that he’s in Armenia as a “private citizen,” not as Trump’s personal lawyer.
Regardless of his formal position, conference organizers said Giuliani is scheduled to speak on Tuesday alongside Sergei Glazyev, a Russian official who has been sanctioned by both the U.S. and European Union for his role in Russia’s 2014 incursion into southern Ukraine.
Glazyev, identified by the conference as an “adviser to the president of the Russian Federation,” has a distinct history with American far-right activists. As ThinkProgress reported earlier this year, Glazyev was once close with noted American anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche, even going so far as to use LaRouche to translate one of Glazyev’s books into English. Glazyev was also one of the most vocal Russian officials opposing Ukrainian membership in the European Union, and reportedly helped organize protests across Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2013-14 EuroMaidan revolution.
The title of Giuliani’s and Glazyev’s scheduled talk is “Technological Breakthrough and EAEU Potential,” a topic on which Giuliani would seemingly have little expertise.
Giuliani’s panel will be moderated by Ara Abrahamyan, who, according to EurasiaNet, initially invited Giuliani to the conference. As EurasiaNet’s Joshua Kucera wrote:
[Giuliani] came to Yerevan at the invitation of Ara Abrahamyan, a Russian-Armenian businessman and head of the Union of Armenians of Russia, who prides himself on his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He gives orders and I carry them out,” Abrahamyan has said of Putin.
Neither Giuliani’s consultancy company nor conference organizers immediately responded to ThinkProgress’ questions about the scheduled appearance.
With his participation in this week’s conference, Giuliani appears to be the most notable American figure to affiliate with EAEU in any capacity.
Formally founded in 2015, the group comprises Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan and has long been billed as Moscow’s rejoinder to the European Union. Ukrainians’ refusal to join the EAEU, and to instead favor the EU, played a substantial role in sparking the EuroMaidan protests, which tossed out former strongman president Viktor Yanukovych. In the time since, the EAEU has wilted, and has been largely ignored outside the post-Soviet space.
This week’s conference, the third of its kind, doesn’t shy away from promoting the EAEU. Describing itself as the “largest international business forum in the Eurasian Economic Union,” the conference not only lists the Kremlin-funded Sputnik outlet as an official “media” partner, but its homepage features Crimea as a part of Russia.
In addition to his visit to the conference, Giuliani stopped by the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, where he told reporters that he recognized the Armenian Genocide. “The Armenian Genocide should not be forgotten because to do so is to make possible similar horrific acts of terror in our era and in the future,” Giuliani wrote in the memorial’s guestbook, according to ArmenPress. “The recognition of this Genocide will help prevent such inhumanities in the future.”
Giuliani also met with Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan. The Armenian official and Giuliani discussed security issues, according to a release from the Armenian Defense Ministry.
The conference appearance fits in with a pattern Giulani has developed while serving as Trump’s personal lawyer. Despite his role working with the president, Giuliani has taken on numerous private clients via his security firm, Giuliani Security & Safety.
Earlier this year, Giuliani penned a letter claiming that the Romanian government had done too much to combat corruption — a sharp break from American diplomatic efforts to promote transparency in Eastern Europe. Unsurprisingly, Giuliani later revealed he was working on behalf of those helping Romanian officials targeted by the country’s anti-corruption agency.
None of his exploits, however, have ever brought Giuliani this close to a sanctioned Russian official.