“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that next week’s parliamentary hearings in Yerevan on the electricity prices may be held behind the closed doors because the Armenian authorities fear embarrassing revelations by Yevgeny Bibin, the Russian chief executive of the Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA) utility. The paper notes that several years ago it emerged that the ENA financed the purchase of several cars by the Armenian presidential administration.
“Zhoghovurd” reveals, meanwhile, what it calls more financial irregularities involving ENA executives. The paper claims that Armenian law-enforcement authorities are aware of these alleged abuses but are doing nothing about them. “So everybody knows how electricity gets lost but turns a blind eye to that,” it says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that a higher electricity price sought by the ENA would not only hit hard Armenian households but also deal a “severe blow” to Armenian businesses. The paper claims that their resulting higher production costs will reflect negatively on Armenian exports. It goes on to emphasize Russian ownership of Armenia’s power distribution network. “The problem is not Russia’s attitude [towards Armenia,]” it says. “The problem is that we are paying a price for our security. We always have.”
“From time to time Russia raises the cost of that security,” continues “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “But we have no choice but to accept it. It has long been recognized that he who renounces freedom for the sake of security deserves neither security nor freedom.”
“Zhamanak” reacts to the consecration of two more churches in Armenia built by senior government officials or individuals close to them. The paper says those officials finance such projects in order conceal their serious failings and make ordinary people “forget about their obligations.”
“Aravot” reports that in his income and asset declaration filed with a state commission Labor and Social Affairs Minister Artem Asatrian claimed to own no cars, apartments or any other property. “I have what I have,” Asatrian tells the paper. “The apartment where I live with my family is registered in my wife’s name.”