Wednesday, 19 September

Manvel Badalyan Seizes the Public Park Near the Chamber Music Hall

A sign in the park in front of the Yerevan Chamber Music Hall announces the planned construction of "a cafe, bistro, bar, swimming pool, toilet, play ground, and car park." (See also The People of Yerevan are Running out of Air to Breathe).

The project was approved on May 19, 2004, by the Chief Architect of Yerevan, Samvel Danielyan.

The fact is, this approval is unlawful, because it is not based on any mayoral decision. In 1998, Yerevan Mayor Suren Abrahamyan leased the park for beautification to a company called Flora Land. In 2001, Mayor Robert Nazaryan gave Flora Land permission to conduct some construction work on that land. But no project was presented within the following year, and thus, as per the law, that permission was declared void. Law enforcement officers must investigate why the project has now been approved.

Gagik Beglaryan, who heads Yerevan's Kentron Municipality, must have been delighted to OK the project.

He likes spending time in entertainment complexes like this one, and besides, it would have taken a great deal of courage to turn down the application, which came from the President of the Council for Civil Service, Manvel Badalyan.

This is a classic story of corruption, an affair that involves City Hall, in the person of the chief architect, the Municipality through its head, and, of course, the president of the Council for Civil Service. The public has not been silent either, staging a series of protest rallies, while law enforcement bodies hesitate. All they need is one order and they will leap into action. But that order can only be given by one man - the president of Armenia.

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