By Nane Atshemian
Angry residents of houses in central Yerevan that are to be demolished in a redevelopment project gathered in Yerevan's Buzand Street on the morning of 16 June to watch bailiffs evict the Galstians from their home.
Bailiff Service Eviction Division head Tigran Tadevosian and his colleagues
were emptying the 45-square-meter house of Gohar Galstian and her husband in 11 Buzand Street as the owners stood by in dismay watching.
"If a court ruling is not obeyed voluntarily, it must be enforced," says
Tadevosian, adding that they are acting on court orders to enforce the
decision on the eviction of the Galstian family.
Gohar Galstian says they have lived in the house for decades and do not
want to leave it with small compensation. She says they live in constant distress and adds: "It's no use trying to resist them. We have watched over the last few years tens of families evicted before our own eyes. Those who resisted got beaten and the court decisions were still enforced." It is known that the developer of the area is Glendale Hills Company.
The house of Gohar's neighbor is next on the list. The Papians live in a two-storied house with a living space of 200 square meters. Hayk Papian says their seven-member family has been offered a compensation of $12,600 - $2,000 per person minus taxes, while the owner says the real market price of the house, in which several generations of his family lived, may be as much as $400,000.
"Now I feel as if we've been left alone. Verdicts of all court instances
are against residents," says Hayk Papian, adding that it remains for them
to take the matter to the European Court.
Residents in the street say that the court verdicts are so similar that they
suspect automatic copying rather than a case-by-case approach, and this makes them believe there are political reasons behind the courts' findings.
Nune Petrosyan, of 41 Koghbatsi street, came along with many other
residents of nearby streets who may face eviction soon. Her family lives in a privatized house along with two other families. Compensation for nine persons is $18,000 plus $1,500 for each person as an incentive. With taxes deducted, the family will be left with $28,000.
But incentive money is given only if residents do not participate in public
protests and agree to leave their houses voluntarily.
62-year-old Avetik Yeranosian of 15 Buzand Street has a 12-member family. Originally from Mush, now in Turkey, he says that the last time his family was treated in such a way was by the Turks. "They are wolves, man-eaters. I have worked to build this house for 44 years. Now they consume it."
Some houses in Koghbatsi Street are privatized, others are not. Documents
for some houses are lost in the cadastre. But residents say it does not matter as they all will end up being evicted.
One of the residents, Sedrak Baghdasarian, says two weeks ago they took the matter to Justice Minister David Harutiunian. Harutiunian's answer, according to Sedrak, was: "Apply to the European Court. But make sure you draw up the complaint intelligently, because I will be your opponent."