Baku, Azerbaijan, July 31
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
The electricity tariffs will increase in Armenia tomorrow. Thousands of people have recently protested against this increase. The Armenian government did the only thing it could in this case. It stalled for time and misled people by promising to resolve this issue fairly. The Armenian compromise is that people achieved nothing by ceasing protests. The electricity tariffs will be increased. People will have to pay 7 drams ($0.014) more for 1 kWh of electricity in Armenia from August 1.
People urged to reduce the electricity tariffs, as well as to punish the police officers who used force against protesters and journalists while dispersing the rally on June 23. But strange promises about an audit were made. The audit described negative consequences for Armenia if the tariffs are not increased, rather than to prove that the Electric Networks of Armenia (a subsidiary of the Russian Inter RAO) unfairly urged to increase the tariffs.
It is obvious that people became the losers again. The world's best auditors will prove the correctness of the tariff increase.
The Armenian government will have to pay 2.5-3 billion drams (5-6 million euros) to the Electric Networks of Armenia on a monthly basis through the subsidies for the poor. This is not a big price to continue being in power. This money will likely to be obtained from the budget. The taxpayers, that is, people, rather than the government will pay.
However, the truce with the people was not long. The audit results in the Electric Networks of Armenia will be known in two to three months. If people are not pleased, the protests will resume.
People stopped striking in June, two weeks after the rallies began, by achieving promises to correct everything. But next time, these protests could turn into something more massive. People are too tired to endure another rate increase. The situation with the economy of Armenia is objectively aggravating. In case of another devaluation or an increase in prices on transport, gas, or bread, people's patience may give away and they will not believe the promises of the government any more.
Edited by CN