Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where one third of the population lives today, has borne witness to sweeping social, political and economic changes for centuries. It is considered the pulse of the nation, where critical decisions on the future of the country are formulated, where promises are made and sometimes broken, a city that has hosted immigrants, emigres and tourists, an urban center where gentrification and rapidfire development threaten its relationship with its residents, when a municipal election becomes more about national issues, instead of urban needs and requirements. This month’s magazine issue entitled “The City” features articles that delve into the nuances of municipal elections, present the political forces running for city council and the history and lost stories of an ancient capital.
While the Yerevan elections displayed a healthy growth in pluralism, with five political parties entering the Council of Elders, it also introduced the concerns of low turnout and the specter that is haunting most democratic systems: voter apathy. At the same time, the political landscape has undergone a shift, for the period of one party being the darling of the electorate is over, as is the era of fearing the anti-Velvet forces as a threat to the electoral field.
Ahead of municipal elections in Yerevan, Lilit Avagyan takes the reader on a journey of the capital city’s history, from foreign invasions to the fall of the First Armenian Republic to the Soviet era.
While city councils are typically primarily concerned with issues like building permits, public transportation and garbage collection, several opposition candidates in the upcoming municipal election in Yerevan are channeling the post-war zeitgeist in which national security is the top issue.
Ahead of municipal elections in Yerevan, Roubina Margossian writes that this fascinatingly adaptable city has hosted thousands of immigrants and a record breaking number of tourists this year, but its resources are running thin and the time before it can no longer catch up with its own development is fast running out.