Russia set to buy Armenian energy network - paper

Haykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
1 Dec 04

The former head of the Russian presidential administration, Aleksandr
Voloshin, who at present occupies the post of president of the RAO UES
[Russia's power grid monopoly Unified Energy System] board of
directors, is visiting Armenia. He met President Robert Kocharyan
yesterday [30 November]. We got information from the press service of
the Armenian president that Kocharyan and Voloshin discussed
Armenian-Russian cooperation in the energy sphere, in particular they
touched on the programmes implemented by the RAO UES in Armenia.

It has become known from trustworthy sources that Voloshin has come to
clarify finally the details of buying the Armenian energy network
company. It became clear that the RAO UES wanted to buy the Armenian
energy network in November, when the vice-president of the RAO UES,
Andrey Rapoport, held negotiations with the management of Midland
Resources Holding, which is the owner of the Armenian energy
network. That time it was clear that the bargain would fail because
from the very beginning the World Bank was against giving the Armenian
energy network to the Russian company. When selling the network to the
Midland Resources Holding, the Armenian government signed a contract
with that company, in accordance with which the company needs the
consent of the Armenian government to sell the network to a third
party. If the Armenian authorities consent to sell the network to
Russia, they will have problems with the World Bank.

According to our information, to avoid this possible conflict the
Armenian authorities have persuaded the RAO UES to buy not the
Armenian energy network but Midland Resources Holding which is the
owner of the network. In case of striking such a deal, there is no
need to get the consent of the Armenian government, and the world
community cannot blame Armenia for giving Armenia's last energy
fortresses to Russia. Incidentally, after making this bargain only two
non-Russian facilities will remain in the energy sphere of Armenia:
the Vorotan cascade and the Yerevan power plant.

PS. We received information late in the evening yesterday that
Voloshin also met the director-general of the Armenian energy network,
Yevgeniy Gladunchik.