“Zhamanak” says Russia has allocated a $200 million loan for arms supplies to Armenia because it realizes that its large-scale arms deals with Azerbaijan could undermine the military balance in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. The paper claims that Moscow at the same time wants to give Baku a strong incentive to buy more Russian weapons.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” wonders whether the Russians think that new weapons would deter Azerbaijan or put the Armenians in a better position to defend themselves in case of an Azerbaijani offensive. “Does Russia intend to let Armenia to play an independent military-political role in the region?” asks the paper. “Russia allows such things only to those countries which it believes will in no case act against it with an independent role.”
“Zhoghovurd” reports that the Armenian authorities have still not clarified the source of funding for an energy price subsidy that was promised by President Serzh Sarkisian last Saturday. The paper notes media speculation that they could use the $200 million Russian loan for that purpose. It believes that such a solution, if true, would not be beneficial for Armenians because it would mean that they eventually have to pay the higher electricity price.
“Zhamanak” says the only acceptable solution is to force “government representatives” and corrupt executives of the Armenian national electric utility to subsidize the energy tariff from their own pockets. Former President Robert Kocharian must also be forced to pay up because he is the one who oversaw the utility’s privatization more than a decade ago, concludes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that former Energy Minister Armen Movsisian had also played a key role in the privatization of the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) company. The paper points out that the ENA was sold in 2002 to an obscure offshore-registered firm, Midland Resources, at a suspiciously low price.