Categories
Armenia Economy Society

The Cost of Corruption

Yerevan authorities have announced plans to replace 500 elevators in the upcoming year, having considered the incomes of the municipality and the savings from 2019 budget.

“The new elevators are adapted for use by people with eyesight, hearing and mobility problems,” speaker of Yerevan Mayor Hakob Karapetyan has said in a Facebook post.

According to earlier estimates by city authorities, there are 4666 elevators in use in Yerevan today. Most of those elevators have been in use for more than 30 years and are outright dangerous. There are at least half a dozen incidents in my memory, when they have fallen, causing death and injuring people.

The previous Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan, who served in this position since November 15, 2011 until being ousted, along with his Republican Party, by Nikol Pashinian’s revolution, would always say that the city has no financial means to replace the elevators. Meanwhile, Margaryan grew filthy rich in about 8 years of leading the city government.

So it turns out that having a proper mayor for only 1 year has been enough to replace more than 10% of Yerevan’s old elevators. That’s what I call the cost of corruption.

I also want to share a personal story, which illustrates my point extremely well. My family bought some land and a small house in a suburb of Yerevan in 2006. For several years we were using it mostly as a summer house and in 2013 I moved to live there permanently, because it was a nice little house and the air was fresh.

The house had a big problem, however… or the suburb had it, to be more exact — the 550 meters of dirt-road taking there, which was turning near impossible in rainy weather.

With our limited community resources we brought truckloads of gravel and sand and tried to put some order into the dirt-road, but that would soon turn to mud again. We also wrote dozens of letters to the city authorities and begged for help with the dirt road. The answer we always got was this — the city budget cannot afford to fix the road.

Following the change of city mayor last October, however, suddenly money appeared in the budget and this summer our dirt-road was turned into a perfectly paved road. So it was that simple… we didn’t need to suffer with the mud for so many years and people shouldn’t die or get themselves injured in old elevators… we just needed a proper mayor, who isn’t a crook and doesn’t steal from the people!

Categories
Armenia Economy Tourism

Record number of passengers in Yerevan airport; new, affordable flight routs to Armenia

“Zvartnots” International Airport’s yearly passenger flow exceeded 3,000,000 for the first time in its history, Armenpress news agency reports.

In 2018, the passenger flow was 2,690,000.

Admittedly, much of this growth is because of me — no kidding, I flew in and out of Zvartnots Airport at least 12 times last year! :))

Ryanair opens flights to Athens and Thessaloniki

Meanwhile, on January 3rd Ryanair budget airline announced new twice weekly routes from Gyumri to Athens and from Yerevan to Thessaloniki. The flights will start in May 2020 and the tickets are already on sale in Ryanair’s mobile app.

The Irish carrier Ryanair had announced back in October that it will start flying to Yerevan from Milan, Rome and Berlin in January and that it will open two more routes in summer.

Wizz Air annouces flights to Vienna and Vilnius

In another welcome news, the Budapest-based budget airline Wizz Air announced last month that it will open flights to Yerevan from Vienna and Vilnius in April.

Decreasing cost of airfare and Revazian

The high cost of airfare has long been cited as one of main obstacles for the development of tourism in Armenia. The cost of air travel has been decreasing for several years now, as consecutive Armenian governments have prioritized the issue.

Tatevik Revazian

With the appointment of Tatevik Revazian as the Chair of Civil Aviation Committee, things have taken a truly revolutionary turn. The young official, who was initially seen as inexperienced and lacking necessary skills to deliver, has since managed to attract two major European budget airlines to Armenia and has since become something of a hero, for being able to make promises and deliver.

Hence, her Facebook post on January 3rd, announcing Ryanair’s new flights as well as outlining possible new routs to Paris (Transavia), Memmingen (Ryanair) and Riga (Air Baltic), no longer seem far fetched, but rather as something that can and will be delivered.

Categories
Armenia

The First Client at The Green Bean Coffee Shop

Armenia — A cat at the Green Bean Coffee Shop in Yerevan, 15Mar2018

Most cafeterias in Yerevan open at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, and its is a challange to find a place to sit if you’re a morning person like me.

Categories
Legal Society

Armenian Traffic Police have wearable cameras and they're not afraid to use them

Armenian Traffic Police have been required to wear special surveillance cameras since June 2016. The cameras were introduced as part of the Government’s anti-corruption efforts [More info about cameras in this video]. A controversial incident on September 4th, which has caused a bit of uproar around the Armenian segment of the internet, has raised many questions about these cameras.

Categories
Armenia

Yerevan by Night: New City Tour Launched

Yerevan’s Republic Square by night, Photo by Sonanik via Wikipedia

Yerevan is stunningly beautiful by night, so it is a welcome move by Yerevan’s municipality to launch a new evening tour, which will run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the Republic square from 20։30 to 21։15.

Categories
Armenia Environment

Dangerous Levels of Pollutants Recorded in Yerevan's Air

I live in a suburb of Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district and am lucky to have some trees and a green yard around, but when driving to work, somewhere in the area of Erebuni fortress I always feel how the air quality sharply changes and hits my lungs. It takes a while to adjust.

Categories
Society

Starving Bears from Gyumri's Sad Zoo Migrate to Europe


Two months after Daily Mail published a touching story (albeit not very accurate) about the starving bears and lions in a private zoo in Armenia’s second largest town, the two bear, Masha and Misha, are being transferred to Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Romania.

Categories
Armenia

Yerevan's Christmas Lights

Categories
Armenia Society

Unhappy Yerevan (Video)


After a series of “Happy Yerevan” videos made after Will Pharrell’s “Happy” music video flooded the YouTube earlier this year, there is finally a remake of the video which shows the other side of Yerevan.

Categories
Armenia Podcasts

Armenian opposition group under fire: 7 arson attacks, 1 assault in 24 hours

A small but vocal anti-government movement called PreParliament announced today that 7 cars belonging to its supporters have been set on fire yesterday and today.