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Armenia: Citizens Feeling Gouged by High Cost of Russian Gas

Pipes deliver natural gas across a snowy field in December 2013 to a new housing development in Gyumri, Armenia. With winter temperatures falling to -20 Celsius, people are feeling the pinch as natural gas and utility prices rise quickly. (Photo: Anahit Hayrapetyan)

Armenia is experiencing a Russian-style winter this year, and despite Yerevan’s plans to join the Moscow-led Customs Union, consumers are not catching a break when it comes to the cost of Russian gas. Instead, the price of Russian gas imports has risen 18 percent over last year, a development that is stoking public anger with the government’s decision to cast its economic lot with the Kremlin.

With temperatures dropping as low as -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), many Armenians have been hit with whopping gas bills that are wreaking havoc with their monthly budgets. Based on interviews by EurasiaNet.org with representatives of 30 separate families paying their gas bills at Yerevan post offices, the average December gas bill for a family of four stood at between 50,000-60,000 drams ($123-$148) – roughly an increase of over 40 percent from last year. Officially, an average monthly income stands at 150,960 drams per month, or $370.

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Citizens Feeling Gouged by High Cost of Russian Gas

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