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“Haykakan Zhamanak” reacts to the disclosure of a massive debt owed by a state-run thermal power plant in Yerevan to to Russia’s Gazprom energy giant. “It is still not known just how that debt has been incurred,” writes the paper. “The Yerevan power plant mainly uses Iranian natural gas and does not directly deal with Gazprom’s subsidiary in Armenia.” It suggests that the plant was simply forced by the government to assume the gas debts of two state-owned chemical enterprises that have gone bankrupt after being for years mismanaged by shadowy offshore firms.

“Why everyone in Armenia owes money to Gazprom is just not comprehensible,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” The paper argues that individual and corporate consumers fully pay for electricity supplied by the gas-powered Yerevan plant and the latter should have had no trouble paying for Russian gas. It speculates that Russia may be trying to acquire more Armenian energy assets in payment for the newly disclosed debt.

“Zhoghovurd” reports that the Armenian government’s tax revenue again fell short of the budgetary target in July. The shortfall made up 1.5 billion drams ($3.2 million) last month. “We could have turned a blind eye to this fact had there been the kind of economic developments in Armenia that would have made us hope that the situation will improve soon,” comments the paper. “However, there is a lingering widespread sense of despair and lack of faith in the future in Armenia. The main reason for this phenomenon is that the country’s political life remains unchanged.” The paper specifically laments Armenians’ inability to change their government through elections.

“Hraparak” comments on the collapse of the Armenian government’s compromise agreement with the opposition on the proper conduct of next year’s parliamentary elections. The paper brushes aside logistical problems cited by the Armenian authorities, saying that the latter have simply “fooled” the parliamentary opposition.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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