For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenia, in many ways, must offer a welcome contrast to Ukraine and its building protests against economic integration with Russia and its proposed trade bloc, the Customs Union.
The Armenian government wants to increase salaries of senior leaders and MPs by over 200-percent, while eliminating unemployment benefits. Officials contend that such measures are needed to combat corruption and improve the state’s financial picture.
The mayor of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, made headlines recently by admitting to smoking crack cocaine. Taron Margarian, the mayor of Armenia’s capital Yerevan, is generating controversy in a different way – by proffering a vision of glowing flamingoes for his city.
Still recovering from the political fallout of a recent bus boycott, Yerevan’s city government is now grappling with growing public anger over allegations that a privately run parking system is serving the business interests of a close associate of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
President Serzh Sargsyan’s early September announcement that Armenia is ready to join the Moscow-led Customs Union is stirring uneasiness in Yerevan. Some analysts contend the move would do more to bolster the incumbent government’s authority than benefit the country as a whole.
For many Armenians, the sight of a grownup riding a bicycle in public used to be cause for laughter and stares. As elsewhere in the South Caucasus, the essence of hipster transportation came via a high-powered engine, not via two wheels on pedal-power. But now, that perspective has begun to change. Slowly but surely, bicycles – at least in the capital, Yerevan – are becoming the new cool.
It was a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, back in 1955 that catalyzed the civil rights movement in the United States. These days in Armenia, some observers believe a recent bus boycott in Yerevan may reinvigorate the country’s democratization process.
Officials in Armenia want to impose a ban on prenatal sex determination in a bid to discourage sex-selective abortions that favor males. The measure would aim to correct a growing disparity in the country’s male-to-female birth ratio.
First, it happened in the northwestern city of Gyumri. Then, in the southern region of Syunik. Within the space of seven months, the Armenian government has accepted the resignations of two powerful regional chieftains with long-held track records for alleged violence.