Russian PM hints at gas price hikes in Yerevan
“Russia will not change gas prices for Armenia in 2018,” Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev announced while on an official state visit to Yerevan. However, local experts sense there may be a trick up his sleeve. According to the 2013 gas agreement between Russia and Armenia, Armenia received the right to buy Russian gas at domestic prices for a term of 30 years. Therefore, there shouldn’t even be a discussion about gas prices for 2018.
Medvedev’s statement has thus been eyed suspiciously as a hint that the price of Russian gas might indeed increase in the near future.
“When we signed this ill-fated ‘gas agreement’, the terms were very controversial. But the Armenian authorities told us at the time that, thanks to the agreement, a foundation of long-term cooperation would be established and that gas in Armenia wouldn’t become more expensive.
“But now, Medvedev has arrived in Armenia and he makes his words sound as if he is doing us a ‘favor’ by telling us that gas won’t increase in price this coming year. But gas prices have already been fixed until 2043,” said MP Edmon Marukyan, a member of the opposition party Yelk [ed. Armenian – exit].
Marukyan further noted that when Armenia entered the Eurasian Economic Union, the authorities claimed that gas prices wouldn’t increase, but now we see that this was also not true. “There are no guarantees that gas prices won’t increase next year,” he said.
The chairman of the ‘Informed Society’ organization, Daniel Ionisyan, believes that gas in Armenia is more expensive not only in comparison to other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union but also to Ukraine and the region.
“For example, there are two tariffs for the population of Ukraine: one for heating, and one for the kitchen. But both of these tariffs are lower than the Armenian one. Moreover, the tariff for heating gas is twice as low. Residents of Georgia pay 220 dollars for 1000 cubic meters of gas, while in Azerbaijan, they pay 125 dollars,” said Daniel Ionisyan.