“Hraparak” expresses concern at the start of a planned demolition of an old neighborhood in the center of Yerevan that has also been home to an open-air market. The paper notes that many residents of other neighborhoods were evicted from their homes and insufficiently compensated in the 2000s. “No new avenue, no matter how beautiful it is, is worth the pain and suffering of a single citizen,” it says. “There will be more such [redevelopment] projects … but it’s wrong to hurt people.”
“Aravot” is also concerned about the plight of people living and selling cheap goods along Firdousi Street in downtown Yerevan. “The Firdousi market was certainly not an architectural masterpiece,” writes the paper. “Nor did it have a cultural value. It was an ugly, narrow and unclean corridor which must not exist in the capital, especially in its center. Traders were warned beforehand that the market will be inevitably dismantled. But they were offered to move to other markets where they would be charged more for commercial space.” The paper believes that municipal authorities should have somehow compensated the traders before starting to bulldoze their market stalls on Wednesday. “But most importantly, they should have decided before the demolitions what should be built there, found an appropriate developer and informed Yerevan residents about that,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees “mainly political reasons” for Russia’s decision to stop recognizing Armenian driving licenses of migrants working as drivers in Russia. “These actions taken by the Russian authorities result from Armenia’s strong economic dependence on that country,” writes the paper. “It is because of that dependence that Armenia has become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) serving Russia’s interests. It is now evident that the EEU can offer no positive prospects to Armenia’s economy.” The paper says at the same time that Armenia cannot afford to try to quickly leave the Russian-led trade bloc. In that case, it says, Russia would retaliate by closing its market for Armenian goods.
“The coming years will be decisive for both the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process and the choice of the course of further development of the second Armenian state,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says they will also be important for reducing the Azerbaijani military threat. “In terms of solving these issues, the short but intense and bloody war of April 2016 was an important lesson," it says. “It exposed the Armenian people’s level of organization and will to confront the enemy as well as the need for greater coordination of the work of various state bodies.”