High Gas Price, Ruined Families And Ovid`s Metamorphoses


March 1 2011

Armenia`s gas policy is number one issue for the entire population
now. The high gas price is ruining families, and the people is ready
to rise, Vahan Hovhannisyan, Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D) faction, stated in Parliament,
commenting on the ARF-D`s initiative to set up an ad hoc gas committee.

“The ad hoc committee is to answer the following question: Why does
Armenia purchases gas from Russia for U.S. $180 per 1,000 cubic meters
and sell it to the population for U.S. $360? Why does Moldova, with a
similar territory and population, purchase Russian gas for U.S. $233
and sell it to the population at U.S. $312? Did they not want or were
they unable? That is the question the ad hoc committee must answer,”
Hovhannisyan said.

He stressed that the committee will not raise a question about the
reasons for Russia raising the gas price for Armenia. “It would be
the right thing to ask this question though. Why did Russia raise its
gas price for us? It did because we failed to properly explain our
situation. It did because we failed to properly explain our role to
it,” Hovhannisyan said. He pointed out that the ad hoc gas committee
will be a trump card in President Serzh Sargsyan`s hands in discussing
the issue with his Russian counterpart and allow him to defend his
position better.

Hovhannisyan stressed that the committee can propose ways of reducing
gas prices for consumers. “One of the ways is as follows: since
gas-supply is a monopoly, the Government can set the highest rates for
it. You cannot sell gas to consumers at a higher price. Apply modern
technologies,` the Government can say to the monopolist,” the MP said.

If things go on like this, Armenia will lose its forests because the
population will fell them to use as fuel. He urged the Parliament to
support the ARF-D`s initiative to set up the gas committee because
they were not elected “only to sit and press the buttons.”

“I think most of the Parliament members received classical education,
know Latin and read Ovid`s `Metamorphoses` in the original,”
Hovhannisyan said. He proposed postponing the voting until the next
four-day sitting of the Parliament as the assembly hall was almost
empty. His request was satisfied.

From: A. Papazian

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