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.
When Mariam Avanesian and her family fled to Yerevan from Azerbaijan 25 years ago this month, they thought they were lucky; they had escaped physical danger, and left behind an apartment rather than “a grave” in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. But moving to Armenia didn’t mean the end of uncertainty for Avanesian’s family members, and tens of thousands of others.
The Armenian government’s recent amnesty of several hundred prisoners has more to do with politics than a desire to reform the country’s justice system, human-rights activists contend. Authorities in Yerevan concede the existence of problems, but assert change is coming.
In what many local observers see as the latest in a series of pushbacks against government critics in Armenia, military investigators have filed criminal charges against Volodya Avetisian, a retired army colonel who launched a series of protests this spring for better benefits for Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans.
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 nearly a week now, several dozen youth activists have held a nonstop sit-in outside the office of Yerevan's mayor, protesting a rise in public-transit fares and demanding the dismissal of the officials who implemented them.