(Saturday, June 13)
“168 Zham” reports and comments on the refusal by Yevgeny Bibin, the chief executive of Armenia’s Russian-owned electricity distribution network, to testify at Friday’s parliamentary hearings in Yerevan on his company’s efforts to raise the prices of electricity in Armenia. In an e-mail message to the chairman of an Armenian parliament committee that organized the hearings, Bibin said he considers his participation in them “not expedient.” “Once again, it was publicly demonstrated how a Russian official treats a state where his company effectively plunders the population through its monopolist activities,” alleges the paper. It says Bibin showed “contempt” for the National Assembly because he knew that it almost unanimously voted for Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” notes that the electricity prices in Armenia did not change from 2002-2013. They are now set to rise for a third time in two years. The paper shrugs off official justifications for the unpopular measure. “The fact is that as soon as Armenia decided to join the Eurasian Economic Union Russian companies felt that the times of niceties are over and that they can now do whatever they want,” it claims.
“Zhoghovurd” says that with his no-show Bibin “sent the parliament to hell.” “The head of the Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) knows that one of the duties of Armenian state bodies is to go along with all of its whims,” writes the paper. “In a normal country, the authorities would certainly not tolerate such an attitude towards its institutions on the part of a foreign mercenary.”
“Those who link the dismal record of the Armenian electricity network with the specificities of Russian management exaggerate things,” editorializes “Aravot.” “Getting into consumers’ pockets in order to solve financial problems is customary for all bad managers, regardless of their nationality. But contempt for the parliament and citizens of a foreign country and voicing threats instead of admitting one’s own mistakes result not from the ethnic factor but from the fact that the ENA belongs to a country whose ruling elite regards us, Armenians, as its subjects … to whom they can do anything.”