On the surface, proposed constitutional amendments in Armenia would transform the country’s political system from a presidential to a parliamentary republic. But many Armenians worry that that changes could cement incumbent authorities’ grip on power.
A ceasefire is technically in place as Armenia and Azerbaijan search for a breakthrough stalemated political talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Yet there has been a sharp uptick in casualties along the so-called contact line. The trend is prompting some Armenians to reexamine their country’s strategic ties to Russia.
It started as a family row over property. Julietta Amarikian and her brother were arguing about a flat they had jointly inherited from their parents. She wanted to sell and share the proceeds; he wanted her to move out so he could live there with his wife.
The Russia-operated Electricity Networks of Armenia, the country’s main power supplier, claimed to be so cash-strapped that it had to raise rates, an announcement that sparked massive protests. But the company’s revenue woes did not prevent executives from authorizing millions of dollars in donations to a charitable organization chaired by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
The expected economic benefits of membership in the Eurasian Economic Union are not materializing for Armenia. One way Armenian leaders are apparently hoping to offset looming shortfalls is by privatizing the postal service.
Armenia’s much-touted anti-corruption initiative has gotten off to a less-than-ideal start: leading government members of the body intended to root out graft are bogged down by questions about their own spending habits and sources of income.
After years of experiencing a population decline, Armenia is proposing a ban on gender-selective abortions that favor boys. The measure, if adopted by parliament, would be the first such measure in the relatively conservative, male-centric South Caucasus.
The Electric Yerevan protest in the Armenian capital did not manage to attain the critical mass needed to transform into a Euromaidan-type event, leading to an overhaul of the country’s political system. But local analysts believe that Electric Yerevan will nevertheless prompt changes in government policy.