(Saturday, January 23)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” suggests that unlike President Serzh Sarkisian, his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) is “not quite enthusiastic” about the prospect of a new power-sharing deal with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). The paper says that Sarkisian is either creating a semblance of discord within the HHK in order to minimize concessions to Dashnaktsutyun or facing a real revolt by the ruling party for the first time ever. “One must bear in mind that Sarkisian’s dependence on the party has increased after the [recent] constitutional changes,” it claims.
“Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has taken two days off after the HHK’s governing body discussed a possible coalition deal with Dashnaktsutyun. The paper too suggests that the HHK leadership has not reached a “common denominator on this issue.” “It is possible that Hovik Abrahamian is one of the generators of the intra-HHK discord,” it says. “After all, it is clear that that at stake is the issue of future power, future [parliamentary] majority.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” Vartan Harutiunian, the chief executive of Armenia’s national gas company owned by Gazprom, confirms that the Russian energy conglomerate is now negotiating with the Armenian government on a possible decrease in its gas price for Armenia. Harutiunian also confirms Gazprom’s talks with Georgia over the Georgian transit fees for Russian gas supplied to Armenia. “The Georgian transit tariff -- 10 percent -- is now the highest in the world, and that is not acceptable to Gazprom,” he says. Significantly, Harutiunian does not exclude that the failure of Russian-Georgian gas talks would lead the Russians to “supply gas to Armenia via Iran.”
Citing the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC), “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) power utility has earned 2.8 billion drams ($5.8 million) in extra revenues since its new owner, Russian-Armenian tycoon Samvel Karapetian, took over the company in September. The paper says that the PSRC will take this facto into account when it reviews energy tariffs in Armenia in August.
In a separate report, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says that some of the Armenians hospitalized as result of a continuing flu epidemic are being forced to pay for their treatment. The paper cites a Health Ministry spokesperson as saying in this regard that a ministerial order mandating free-of-charge treatment of all flu patients was valid for only January 1-20.