Two weeks after the killing of a family in the northern Armenian town of Gyumri, there are more questions than answers concerning the actions and motives of the individual accused of committing the mass murder, 18-year-old Russian army private, Valery Permyakov.
A little over a year ago, the northwestern Armenian city of Gyumri, home to Russia’s 102nd army base, welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to town with pomp, circumstance, and waving flags. Now, protesters in the town are trampling Russian flags underfoot instead.
This has been a year that many Armenian farmers would like to forget. First, unfavorable weather led to a poor harvest, and now, thanks in part to the significant devaluation of the national currency, the dram, many farmers are struggling to repay their debts.
Santa Claus supposedly received a desperate letter from a woman in Armenia this year – a plea for financial help after enduring a year of economic hardship. “I don’t know how to live now,” the woman, a character in a TV ad for the Armenian lottery, complained.
Armenians are seething over Russia’s possible role in the shoot-down of an Armenian helicopter near the frontlines in Nagorno Karabakh. Feelings of betrayal are such that the popular mood is souring on Armenia’s pending membership in a Moscow-led trade bloc.
Leaflets placed at the 62-meter-high Kiev Bridge in the Armenian capital of Yerevan offer a simple message: “Choose life, not death.” They are also a sign that Armenia is grappling with an uncomfortable reality – a drastic rise in the suicide rate.
The Yerevan neighbors of parliamentarian Mher Sedrakian, a member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, have a persistent problem with noise. But this is not about wild parties or car horns. Rather, it is about lions.
Armenia has finalized its accession to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, an intended regional counterweight to the European Union. But while Armenian and Russian officials focus on future prosperity, some Armenian observers believe membership in the bloc could exacerbate Armenia’s security challenges.
The Armenian government believes that Moscow’s August 7 ban on food imports from the West could offer its own weather-beaten agricultural sector a chance for a comeback. But some local analysts scoff at the notion.