Co-Chairman of the Council on the National Strategy Iosif Diskin commented to a REGNUM correspondent on raising prices for the Russian gas supplied to Armenia up to $110 for a thousand cubic meters.
“For Russia it is a question not of politics, but of economy. The gas price in the Transcaucasus is defined guiding exclusively by economic reasons, namely: there is an alternative to the Russian gas supplies in Armenia, it is the Iranian gas. Hence, the price of the gas of $110 for a thousand cubic meters is optimal, so in case of its further increase Armenia will be able to buy the Iranian gas at an appropriate price. So, it is not in Gazprom’s interests to lose its long-time trade partner and ally.
”Nevertheless, raise of gas prices will be a heavy burden for the Armenian economy, but Armenia has an opportunity to make up for the expenditures at the expense of having rent for deployment of the Russian military base in its territory. Besides, a substantial part of the Armenian economy belongs to Russian owners and there is always an opportunity for compensation and mutually admissible decisions.
“If an exclusion is done for Armenia as a strategic partner and Russia’s ally in Transcaucasus, so the assumption will be ruined about the exclusively economic approach that will cause a new series of scandals and international claims. Hence, it is necessary to stick to the current policy: prices for the Russian gas should be determined by commercial reasons, and political problems should be solved apart, with no relation to gas prices.
”In the long run, Armenia is not interested in aggravating the situation. Theoretically, it can solve the issue at the expense of gas supplies from Iran and total refusal to buy the Russian gas, as the Iranian gas will be supplied at the same price, and Iran, contrary to Russia, will give no favors to Armenia. So, it is necessary, without lowering the gas prices, to search for an agreement and a mutually appropriate ways, as far as to Armenia entering a unified economic space with Russia.
“The issue of gas prices for Armenia will also depend on how talks with Georgia about a gas pipeline end, as it is necessary to have safe transit routes.”