Gastric Disorder: Ratified deal with Russia gives up Armenia’s last share of its own gas resource

The Armenian parliament, led by majority ruling Republican Party of Armenia, is expected to ratify the sale of ArmRusGasProm’s remaining 20 percent shares to Russia’s GasProm, to absolute discontent of citizens and oppositional parties believing that it is “an anti-state step by which Armenia would accept its capitulation”.

Dozens of residents of the Armenian capital rallied Friday morning in front of the National Assembly demanding to disapprove of the sale-purchase agreement, which the Constitutional Court declared constitutional on Thursday.

The agreements on handing the shares to the Russian side as a payback for the $300 million debt accumulated since 2011, as the energy minister Armen Movsisyan said, and defining the order of setting tariffs for natural gas were signed during President Vladimir Putin’s December 2 visit to Armenia.

Armenia Today local online newspaper’s editor Argishti Kiviryan says the agreements are a direct threat against Armenia’s sovereignty and are in no way in Armenia’s interests.

“It did not become 20 percent in a day. When ArmRusGasProm was founded both sides – Armenian and Russian – had equal shares, 45 percent each, however over the years it came down to 20 percent, and now zero, which means that Armenia inside its own state has zero participation in natural gas supply and the country has to always purchase gas from Russia,” says Kiviryan, adding that he had hoped to see a bigger crowd of protestors, however, people have lost their hope and trust in their power to change anything, which has led to this “criminal indifference”.

Vahagn Minasyan, taking part in the protest, says approving the agreement is no less than national treason, as, he believes, the gas storage locations in Armenia will no longer be classified information, which means rival countries can simply target and hit those, and besides the agreement has a provision by which Russia is allowed to sell Gasprom to a third country without Armenia’s consent.

Oppositional activist Vargdes Gaspari got detained during the rally for “violating public order”, as well as around a dozen of others, who had chain-blocked Baghramyan Avenue for a while. After being briefly detained in police vehicles, he and others were released.