Since the turn of the century, President Kocharian’s administration has ‘Privatized’ most of Armenia’s billions of dollars worth of state assets, much of it transferred to Russian companies using deceitful finance mechanisms. The ‘Blowing the World Bank Whistle’ campaign has exposed that agenda and how the World Bank, the IMF and the Armenian authorities have fabricated an economic boom and covered up the alarming increase in corruption that has led to Armenia’s present crisis.
Now Armenia’s recently self appointed President Sargsyan is donating hundreds of millions of dollars to those private Russian companies to help their owners make even greater profits – again at the expense of the Armenian people.
On the 16th May the Armenia Liberty news reported that Tigran Davtian, Armenia’s newly appointed Minister of Finance, signed an agreement under which Germany will provide Armenia with another 74 million Euros ($117 million) in fresh low-interest loans designed to improve energy and water infrastructure and financial services. Davtian explained that the bulk of the sum (64 million Euros) will be spent on upgrading Armenia’s largest hydro-electric plant and building two high-voltage power transmission lines in the country’s northern regions.
Armenia’s largest hydro-electric plant is Gurmush, one of the five Sevan – Hrazdan Hydro Cascade Power Plants (HPP’s). In 2003 the entire Sevan – Hrazdan Hydro Cascade system was valued at over one hundred million dollars but was ‘Privatized by Russian Companies’ at the giveaway price of twenty-five million dollars. In 2004, Vahan Hovhanissian’s Parliamentary Commission studied the Privatization and found that the package included a fifteen billion Drams ($29 million) cash donation from the Armenian Government and a 15 million dollar loan from Kfw. The result was that the Armenian people paid several million dollars for the honor of having that particular state asset privatized.
Armenia’s power transmission system was privatized in 2002 by Midland Resources Holding Ltd (MRH), this time at a giveaway price of $37 million, after the Government had spent a $40 million World Bank credit to prepare for the privatization, plus a further $45 million from Japan’s Overseas Economic Corporation Fund. That state asset privatization gambit cost the Armenian people more than fifty million dollars.
MRH stems from Moscow, with offices in Canada, so it was not surprising when in December 2004 the Armenian News Network / Groong reported that the company was transferred to Russia's power grid monopoly company Unified Energy System, better known as ‘RAO UES’
Today, the people of Armenia will be pleased to hear that, after having paid tens of millions of dollars to be relieved of the burden of their strategically vital and most profitable energy sector assets, the Government has now taken on a new Kfw loan to donate to the Russian owners so that they can make more profit from their companies. And Minister Davtian has signed a sovereign guarantee on behalf of the Government, committing the people of Armenia to repaying the more than one hundred million dollar credit.