In Soviet times, there were reportedly only seven communists in Lernamerdz, a hamlet of over 500 residents. But the situation changed after Armenia gained independence in 1991, and began to dismantle monuments to communist leaders, villagers say.
Amidst the economic hardships and political uncertainties of independence, Lernamerdz Communist Party Secretary Samvel Mirzoyan says, the village began to see socialism as their sole support. "They say the country has become independent, but from what?" commented villager Azat Barseghyan. "Once we were dependent on Russia, and lived well
Marianna Grigoryan is a reporter for the Armenianow.com weekly in Yerevan. Onnik Krikorian is a freelance journalist and photographer from the United Kingdom based in the Republic of Armenia. He works for a variety of publications and international organizations.