OCT. 10 (The Conway Bulletin) – Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan appointed the CEO of Gazprom Armenia, Vardan Harutyunyan, as head of the state revenue committee, a move that confirms the growing influence of Russia’s Gazprom in the government.
In September Mr Sargsyan appointed Karen Karapetyan as PM. Mr Karapetyan had been the mayor of Yerevan and previously, also, CEO of Gazprom Armenia. Mr Harutyunyan had worked at Gazprom since 2009 and was named CEO in 2010, after Mr Karapetyan’s departure. After his appointment as PM, Mr Karapetyan also nominated Gazprom’s ex-press secretary, Shushan Sardaryan, as his adviser.
Gazprom Armenia is a fully owned subsidiary of Gazprom, the Russian gas giant. Russia is one of Armenia’s biggest allies, maintaining a large military base in the country. Mr Harutyunyan’s new position puts him in charge of collecting taxes and administering government revenues.
Heading Gazprom Armenia is one of the most important jobs in the country. Gazprom supplies most of Armenia’s gas, via Georgia, although the government is trying to secure more imports from Iran. Media in Armenia suggested that Tigran Karapetyan, the PM’s 29year-old son, may be given the job. Russia has previously been accused of using Gazprom to pressure and influence foreign governments.
>>This story was first published in issue 300 of the Conway Bulletin, the top independent newspaper for Central Asia and the South Caucasus