After Nikol Pashinyan came to power, the relations between Armenia and Russia have only worsened. Since last year, the Russian Gazprom had to conduct negotiations on an additional agreement with new Armenian authorities and obviously, these efforts hit a dead end. The Armenian government has long insisted on reducing the price of gas, but all of its efforts were in vain. After all, Gazprom was able to strike a deal with Yerevan on raising its wholesale gas price for Armenia from 150 USD to 165 USD per 1,000 cubic meters starting from 2019. However, Armenian authorities are not ready to raise domestic tariffs. The Russian Kommersant newspaper says that following these developments, Gazprom may reduce investments in Armenia.
“Russia’s initiative of increasing gas prices is quite logical. It can be explained with several reasons. First of all, Russia is striving to lift gas prices for those to whom it sold cheaper, thereby gradually reaching the market prices. Secondly, by raising gas prices Russia gives a certain signal that more increase is possible, in case the new Armenian government headed by Pashinyan takes hostile steps against Russia,” Director of Institute of Political Studies of Russia Sergey Markov said.
Pashinyan still continues to deceive population that increase in gas prices will not represent any negative consequences for Armenia. According to experts, Pashinyan’s loud statements should not be taken seriously.
“In 2015, the increase in energy prices led to a rise of protest sentiments. And now Nikol Pashinyan and the representatives of his government say that they are trying to ensure the stability in prices for consumers. Pashinyan’s government is trying to find a solution and that’s why they are looking for alternatives,” Russian political analyst Mikhail Neizhmakov said.
The increase in prices will have a negative impact on the deplorable socio-economic situation in this country. However, the Armenian leadership by all means is trying to find a way out of this problem, because there is a high possibility of protest sentiments among the population. This will further aggravate the situation, as the country has been suffering from serious political crisis for a long time. The authorities are now considering the possibility of purchasing gas from Iran. Pashinyan himself confirmed that such alternatives are being discussed. He further added that Yerevan is still negotiating about prices with Moscow. But, seemingly the developments are not in Armenia’s favor.