Armenia to Sell Shares to Russian Gas Giant

Gazprom

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The Armenian government seems ready to sell its remaining 20 percent share in the domestic gas distribution network to Gazprom in order to subsidize the recently increased price of Russian natural gas delivered to Armenia.

The Russian energy giant revealed late on Monday that its chief executive, Alexey Miller, discussed the matter in Moscow with Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian.

“In the course of negotiations the aspects of Russian gas pricing for Armenian consumers were discussed,” Gazprom said in a statement. “The meeting also looked into the possibility of increasing Gazprom’s stake in ArmRosGazprom (ARG) to 100 per cent.”

The announcement came amid Armenian government efforts to secure funding for subsidizing the Russian gas price, which officially rose by 50 percent to $270 million per thousand cubic meters in April. A 30 percent subsidy promised by the government has meant that the price hike will be much less drastic for Armenian households.

Armenian officials have said that Yerevan is seeking a Russian “grant” to finance the subsidy. But they have given no details of that arrangement so far.

The Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources refused to comment on the Gazprom report on Tuesday. A ministry spokesperson said that only Movsisian can give relevant explanations.

The government was already rumored last year to have ceded its 20 percent stake in ARG to conceal a secret rise in Russian gas price and make sure Armenian voters are unaffected by it until the February 2013 presidential election. Government officials dismissed this speculation, saying that the gas price remains unchanged. However, Armenian customs data showed that ARG paid considerably more for Russian gas than was officially reported in 2012.

Opposition lawmakers were quick to criticize the government’s apparent readiness to place ARG under full Russian control. Gazprom currently owns 80 percent of the gas network.

“This once again shows that our authorities are not capable of doing anything,” said Artsvik Minasian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. “They can declare that we will get a grant but we won’t get it or will cede more state assets in return.”

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10 Comments

  1. An Armenian said:

    What happens when Armenia has no more state assets to sell to foreign governments or companies? The authorities have sold out the country to retain their grip on power. Once everything is sold, would Armenia be considered independent and sovereign?

  2. Unimpressed with Armenia said:

    Why don’t they just hand everything to Russia for free and be done with it?

  3. GB said:

    Gazprom will buy even Serjik’s made in Armenia underwear, right in the middle of winter time!!

  4. zohrab said:

    if u keep selling nothing will be left even u who is selling will be at their mercy wake up

  5. Gago said:

    So, the grant that the PM Tigranchik was negotiating with the Russian side was always a back door asset sale. The guy sold the gold reserves, sold Nairit shares for less than they are worth, now is selling the minority interest in a strategic enterprise. Russians will own 100% of gas distribution, forget about buying gas from any other neighbor. Even if they find shale deposits, to distribute it to the consumer will be limited to what Gasprom allows. Instead of buying the 80% back, they are selling the 20% – these guys don’t care about anything. Why is anyone surprised, they have sold their souls to the devil – selling hard assets is nothing for them.

  6. Tsayt said:

    Next: Yerevan, with all its buildings and its people, will be up for sale to the Kremlin. I think the only real estate left for Armenians will the lands Armenians own in Diaspora.

  7. Avetis said:

    Had it not been for a handful of men like Robert Kocharyan, Serj Sargsyan and Seyran Ohanyan, Armenia would have been turned into a cheep brothel servicing Western powers and their Turkish allies in the region a very long time ago. Armenians have proven that Moscow cannot trust them. This “news” organization is one of the proofs, so is Raffi Hovanissian, Vartan Oskanian, Levon Petrosian, Paruyr Hayrikian, PFA, Civilitas, Sardarapat, etc. In fact, seeing the scary political landscape in Armenia today where most politicians will sell the country to the highest bidder, I am surprised at how well Russia has treated our untrustworthy people.

    As an Armenian nationalist, I beseech Moscow to do wherever is necessary to keep our self-destructive peasantry (both in and out of Armenia) to stay dependent on Russia; I beseech Moscow to do whatever is necessary to force Armenia into the Eurasian Union.

    God bless Mother Russia, because unbeknownst to our fake “nationalists” she is actually ensuring Armenia’s survival.

    • GB said:

      Yes Avetis, this is why Russia loves and support oligarchy regime in Yerevan, so they can have better control over poor people, where 30% of population living below poverty level, and the rest leaving for “mother Russia” to find a job and serve in their advanced army!! You must have full stomach, filled with Russian “cartophy soup” or Borsht!! Armenia’s future is in EU not in corrupted Eurasian Union and we are not living in the time of 1915, where Russia let Turks to slaughter Armenian population and took over our Western part!!

      Armenia is for Armenians of the world without Western or Russian involvement!!

      • Harutik said:

        Armenia belongs in the EU? LOL I see you are trying to board a sinking ship. Even European nations don’t belong in the EU! How old are you?

        Whether you like it or not, Armenia falls under the Russian sphere. Armenia is a Eurasian nation politically, geographically, genetically and culturally. Armenia’s future is intertwined with that of Russia’s. Armenia must do everything in its power to join the Eurasian Union.

        PS: Not having Russian involvement in Armenia means having Turkish and Western involvement in Armenia. There is no other way. Wake up and smell the Borsht.

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