“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the latest fire in Armenia’s troubled Nairit chemical plant is the third major accident to occur there in the last 11 years. “If Nairit worked, provided jobs to thousands of people, was constantly modernized in the process, paid taxes to the state budget and exported its products, one could weigh up benefits and dangers created by it,” writes the paper. “One could discuss whether or not we need Nairit. But with Nairit periodically exploding, burning and putting people’s lives at risk and at the same time standing idle, there is probably nothing to weigh up. The Nairit problem requires a radical solution. It must either operate at full capacity or become a thing of the past and cede several hundred hectares of land occupied by it to other businesses or be turned into a big and nice park.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” believes that the sorry state of Nairit is “the result of populism.” “Nairit’s operations were not discontinued on the grounds that thousands of people work there,” it says. “That seemed very convincing. However, if there was a political decision to liquidate Nairit under legal and transparent procedures, proceeds from the sale of its expensive equipment would be enough to properly compensate its thousands of employees.”
“Zhoghovurd” notes that the Nairit fire erupted just weeks after a group of European investors made renewed efforts to take over the plant and restart its production operations. They met with Deputy Prime Minister Vache Gabrielian on August 8 to present their $100 million investment plan. They also made clear that they need to conduct a thorough audit before finally deciding whether to invest in the Soviet-era giant. The paper also notes that the fire broke out in a Nairit unit whose chief manager and two dozen other employees were fired in July. They were tasked with preventing accidents. “Time will tell whether these events are connected with yesterday’s fire or whether this is just coincide,” the paper says.
“Hraparak” hits back at President Serzh Sarkisian’s strong denial of suggestions that his 2013 decision to make Armenia part of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) at the expense of a major deal with the European Union was a last-minute U-turn. The paper argues that just days before the announcement of that decision senior Armenian officials were insisting that Armenia has no intention to join the EEU.