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Tirayr Muradyan

Seda Ghukasyan

27 Kindergartens Closed in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia, Davtashen and Ajapnyak Districts Over the Years

Hetq continues to focus on the stories of Yerevan’s closed kindergartens. This time, we present the stories of more than two dozen kindergartens closed in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia, Ajapnyak and Davtashen administrative districts.

Former MP Samvel Aleksanyan; ex-deputy mayor of Yerevan Kamo Areyan; ex-official of the Ajapnyak district council Ashot Nahapetyan; former prosecutor general Aghvan Hovsepyan's associate; and others have become owners of kindergartens in these administrative districts.

Malatia-Sebastia Administrative District

Though there are dozens of closed kindergartens in Malatia-Sebastia administrative district, our queries have been responded only for two cases, and the same response was received both from the previous and the current municipal authorities. However, we managed to find out that the actual number of kindergartens closed in this administrative district was around ten. As of February 2019, the number of children in queue for pre-school educational institutions in Malatia-Sebastia was 1,170.

Veronika Kindergarten - Allocated to "Alexanyan Family" NGO

Kindergarten named after its former director Veronika Gevorgyan had been famous since the Soviet times and was considered one of the bests both for its building or educational standards. The territory of the kindergarten is 3975.7 square meters, there is a swimming pool, a café, a bakery and a boiler house within. In 2009, the kindergarten's area was granted to the Aleksanyan Family Charity NGO, which belongs to the family of former MP Samvel Aleksanyan, for 50 years for free.

Instead, the charity NGO had committed to provide the kindergarten with property and equipment, food and recreation expenses of children in attendance, ensure harmonious development and upbringing of children, health promotion and care, and pay salaries of the kindergarten staff. After receiving the property, the license of the kindergarten was terminated, based on the application of the director of the organization. Ten years have passed since the kindergarten “rehabilitation” program start, but during the visit the doors of the kindergarten were locked, and the buildings were dilapidated.

Kindergarten #304 - Now a Gas Office, Workshop, Private Apartments and Preschool

The kindergarten #304 was closed in Andranik Street, "B2" district some time before 2004. The building was sold to A. Khalatyan College LLC. The buyer was obliged to operate the kindergarten and create an educational complex. Today, there are Progress Development Center, a Gazprom Armenia office, workshop of doors and windows located there. One part of the building has been turned into a housing block.

Five Kindergartens Turned into Sebastatsi Educational Complex School and Pre-School

Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex is operating in some previous public kindergarten territories. Interestingly, Malatia-Sebastia District Administration replies to our query about the above-mentioned reporting that their archives do not have information about the area given to the Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex. Thus, we visited the Executive Director of the Educational Complex Ashot Bleyan to find out more about the allocation of the liquidated kindergartens and their areas to the Sebastia Educational Complex.

Though the educational complex is a state one, and the territories belong to the community and the government, the educational complex provides paid educational services.

Kindergarten #119 was subordinated to the Yerevan School #183 in 1988. Later on,  Sebastatsi Educomplex was created on the basis of this school.

Kindergartens #11 and #295 were handed over to the Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex in 1992, when Bleyan was deputy chairman of the Yerevan City Council Executive Committee.

Kindergarten #309 was subordinated to the Yerevan Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex in 1994. At that time, Ashot Bleyan was first the Acting Minister of Education, then the First Deputy Minister of Education.

Yerevan Color Printing House's kindergarten is now another part of the Educomplex. In total, out of five kindergartens allocated to the Educomplex, one was departmental, the others were public. The buildings of these kindergartens still belong to Armenia today and are in the balance of the State Property Management Committee.

A Kindergarten Turned into Tax Inspectorate Office

Malatia-Sebastia Tax Inspectorate operates in a former public kindergarten area next to kindergarten #97. The building is two-storied, fenced with a separate yard. Part of the kindergarten with three buildings is tax inspectorate, another part is in poor condition, and the third one is now a housing block.

Housing blocks, dilapidated buildings, pre-schools, etc.

There was another public kindergarten near the Tax Inspectorate, which has long turned into housing stock.

There was also a kindergarten in Ohanov Street near Kindergarten #97. Today, a small part of the whole building is functioning not as a kindergarten, but a center for children's development.

Not far from the closed kindergarten #304, Kindergarten #87 operates under the jurisdiction of the municipality. The kindergarten with a spacious building and yard area has only three groups, and the building is mostly in poor condition.

Ajapnyak Administrative District

As of February 2019, the number of children in queue for pre-school educational institutions in Ajapnyak district was 577.

Physics Institute Kindergarten - Property of Aghvan Hovsepyan's Associate

At the end of the street named after Alikhanyan brothers, overlooking the Hrazdan River, Physics Institute kindergarten used to operate in the past. The yard area of ​​the kindergarten with separate buildings is still planted, but the gates are locked.  In 2004, the government decided to sell the kindergarten property at auction.

The minimum price was set at 150 million drams. It was sold to Shant Plus LLC in 2005 for AMD 152 million. This company belonged to Manvel and Varsham Gharibyan brothers.  Among them Varsham Gharibyan is known as Ex-Chief Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan's associate. The brothers had some disagreements because of Hovsepyan and fought later in the 2000s.

Part of Kindergarten Given to Ex-Deputy Mayor Areyan

Kindergarten #191 operated at 12 Estonakan Street until 1998. Part of the kindergarten building is an inhabited housing stock, while the other part is used by Sasoun-Taron NGO.  In 2015, the NGO was given 1,000 square meters of land from the kindergarten area for ten years for free. When getting these premises, Deputy Mayor of Yerevan, Kamo Areyan was the head of the NGO. Ex-deputy is now adviser of present mayor Marutyan.

A Car Service Center and a Library Instead of Kindergarten

Kindergarten #232 was liquidated in 1998. Part of the kindergarten has become a community library, was fenced and improved. The other part is not renovated and there is a car service center on the spot. It belongs to the RPA member Ashot Nahapetyan, former secretary of Ajapnyak administrative district staff (2011) and his wife. The premises became their property in 2013. They haven’t paid property fee for years and thus accumulated 365,000 AMD debt, this according to the Yerevan Municipality.

A Kindergarten Turned into a Private School and a Prosecutor's Office

Kindergarten #157 was closed in 1998. Now, its building hosts a division of the Prosecutor's Office, while Shahamiryan Educational Complex is located in the other half. The owner of the Shahamirian Educational Complex is Gagik Melkumyan, its founder.

Kindergartens Turned into Housing Blocks and Workshops

The area of Kindergarten  #95 in Lukashin district of Ajapnyak administrative district was allocated to the families of freedom fighters.

After its closing, Kindergarten #103 near Shiraz Street became a residential area and the territory was fenced. Two of the apartments within the kindergarten territory, for example, were bought by Hayrapet Sayadyan, the father of Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) member Gayane Sayadyan.

The latter had worked for a long time at the Armavir regional administration as head of education department. Hayrapet bought at least two apartments from the community municipality and sold them months later, being the first acquirer.

The fate of Norashen district Kindergarten #207 is the same. After closing, it was sold to individuals and the kindergarten building was turned into a residential building.

Two more kindergartens have been closed in this district, one of which has become an art school and belongs to the community. The other area is fenced, and Govelly Jewelry Company is operating in the building. The founder and only shareholder of the company is Yuri Hovhannisyan.

Kindergarten #148 in Mazmanyan Street has also turned into a residential building. The same picture holds true for the Nazarbekyan Street kindergarten, where the two-story building is completely inhabited. Social Support Center for Children of Ajapnyak Community of Yerevan operates today on the spot of kindergarten #229.

Davtashen Administrative District

As of March 12, 2019, 377 children are in a queue to attend five preschool educational institutions in the Davtashen administrative district. Five other kindergartens have been closed in Davtashen administrative district. Only one of them is non-residential, while the others are completely inhabited now. The administrative building of the staff of the head of the Davtashen administrative district is located at the place of non-residential kindergarten. A part of the building was sold and turned into office space.

Kindergartens Turned into Housing Stock

The whole area of Kindergarten #78, closed in the first district of Davtashen administrative district, is residential. Kindergartens #67 and #47 were closed down in the second district and turned into a residential area again. Kindergarten #201 was closed in the fourth district, the area was fenced and the building has been completely inhabited since.

Photos by Ani Sargsyan, videos by Ani Sargsyan and Saro Baghdasaryan

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