Although Yerevan Council of Elders continued its regular work in 2016, several factors had a negative impact on the implementation of some projects stipulated by the budget and the efficiency of the work of the Council. In the past year, a number of parks have been built in the city, green areas have been expanded but fundamental problems remained unresolved. These are buildings in an emergency, lifts that are in poor condition, the public transport, and so on.
Although a few months are left for the parliamentary elections, there is no outlined activity in the political process. The political forces are engaged in the negotiations on developing formats of alliances and pre-election cooperation. As experts said, almost no political force managed to establish political capital, which would make them convincing during elections.
A few days ago a photograph of a black man’s and an Armenian woman's family published by Marashlian photo studio was a subject of heated discussions in social networks. The criticism and even threats are an evident proof of discrimination and intolerance in Armenia. Although the number of supporters of the same family was also significant in the social networks, Marashlian photo-atelier removed the photo from the Internet at the request of the family after "multiple threats".
A discussion was held ahead of the International Day of Human Rights at Media Center with the participation of Larisa Alaverdyan, Executive Director of "The Foundation Against the Violation of Law" NGO, RA first Ombudsman, Artak Zeynalyan, Member of "Rule of Law" NGO and Artur Sakunts, Head of the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly.
There are reasonable grounds for assuming that the Russian Federal Security Service has unimpeded access to the personal data of all the citizens crossing the RA border. Daniel Ioannisyan, the Program coordinator of the "Informed citizens of the Union" NGO, said this at the Media Center on December 5.
Although there are no precise data, according to advocates, there are still more than five dozen citizens (besides the armed group members) in custody as a consequence of the July events. Arayik Papikyan, Advocate, Representative of Helsinki Association, said during the press conference, entitled "The Cases of Detained Citizens during the July Events: Evaluation of the Preliminary Phase" at Media Center on November 24.
"Informed Citizens Association" NGO has created a unique project in the Armenian Internet segment called "SUT.am" the main goal of which is to reveal the false information published by the officials, the official bodies, and the media.
The main Armenian lobbying organizations maintained neutrality during the USA presidential elections and did not support any candidate. Now when Donald Trump is elected as the US president, the Armenian organizations try to understand the foreign policy approaches of Trump who has little political experience and to elaborate on approaches to work with the Republican administration in the White House.
Poland supports the signing of Armenia-EU framework agreement, which will be the legal basis of relations between the two sides. Mr. Jerzy Marek Nowakowski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Poland to the Republic of Armenia, said this during the press conference, held ahead of the Independence Day of Poland at Media Center on November 9.
The proposal of "Gazprom Armenia" company about reducing the gas prices looks like a short-term pre-election campaign and prices may rise again in July next year. On the other hand, the burden of reducing the tariffs for Armenia in terms of 105 thousand needy families will be at the expense of the state budget, and this is not a real gas price decrease, but just a change of a payer.
Although the negotiations on a new framework agreement between Armenia and the European Union are in a quite dynamic process, experts are anxious that Russia-West intensifying contradictions and the possible improper quality of next year's parliamentary elections in Armenia can have a bad impact on Yerevan-Brussels negotiation process.
RA Government program, Tax Code adopted recently, general administration and real economic claims do not correlate to one another. The economy requires non-standard approaches, concrete measures, the government stipulates it to some extent in its program, but the human resources changes and the planned fiscal policy are not conducive to solve that problem. Ashot Khurshudyan, an economist, said this during the discussion at Media Center on October 25.
The adoption of the amendments to the Electoral Code and the related laws at the National Assembly on October 20, that specifically include the provision about "false denunciation", attains political goals and is cast against the free activity of observers and the media. Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia, said during the discussion at Media Center on October 20.