Armenian authorities support tycoons
On August 9 the mayor of Yerevan, Karen Karapetyan, announced he had decided to take down all the stalls in the city. Kiosks that were built illegally and those whose rental term has expired will be taken down. Legally-built stalls will be taken down after the currently valid rental contracts expire.
912 kiosks were demolished after the decision was announced. 226 are going to be taken down soon. In general there are 3,395 stalls in Yerevan, 1180 of which are now closed.
“Illegally built and closed stalls will be taken down very soon. Those that were built legally and are currently open won’t be demolished. We indentified the status of each kiosk during the special inspection,” Karapetyan said. “Most of the people who own these stalls are quite wealthy, so they need no compensation. We will try find jobs for those who work there,” the mayor added.
Such measures in a country where social problems remain unsolved and where unemployment is extremely high, while income is very low, could be disastrous, which is why people reacted immediately and sharply. On August 10 an attempt to demolish several kiosks led to fights on Papazyan Street. Policemen brutally pushed owners out of their stalls.
The owners, who were forced to paint their kiosks just a month ago, are outraged. They say that the authorities have taken down their stalls in order to support the supermarket owners.
Several political parties and non-governmental organizations condemned the mayor’s decision. Even the Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sarkisyan, said that the decision may be too harsh. He pointed out that a lot of people are writing letters to the government expressing their concern. One shouldn’t forget about the social problems existing in the country, the Prime Minister underlined.
In case of extreme unemployment, small businesses, including the retail trade, are indeed the only ones to provide the population with jobs. People believe each kiosk provides three families with their necessary income.
So the authorities have to decide whom to support – the poor population of the capital or the rich tycoons who own supermarkets. The administration of Yerevan have decided to support the latter.
Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively to VK