Armenia. The presidential election at the beginning of the year was an expected victory for incumbent Prime Minister Robert Kotjarjan. In the decisive round of elections in March, Kotjarjan was declared victorious with 67.5% of the vote against 32.5% for Stepan Demirtjian.
According to Countryaah.com, Armenia Independence Day is September 21. Tens of thousands of Demirtjian supporters objected to the official result, claiming he had won the election. Many protesters were arrested by police. Kotjarjan is considered to have given the country a measure of stability during its five years in power, but poverty is widespread and an average monthly salary is equivalent to just over SEK 300.
In the May parliamentary elections, the presidential Republican party HHK was the largest with 23.5% of the vote, according to official results. The opposition Justice Party Ardartjun gained 13.6% and then followed two parties that are close to the president. Many independent candidates came into Parliament and the president’s support troops gained a majority. The turnout was only 52%. International election observers explained that electoral fraud had occurred but that it was not as bad as in the presidential election.
During the year, the death penalty was abolished except for terrorism and for particularly serious crimes such as rape against minors. When the new Penal Code came into force in August, the President converted the sentence for 42 sentenced prisoners to life imprisonment.
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia; 1.12 million residents (2011). The town lies on a tributary of Aras and is surrounded by high mountains. On clear days, from Yerevan you can see the Armenian national symbol, Mount Ararat, located in eastern Turkey 50 km SW of the city.
The heart of the city is made up of Republic Square (formerly Lenin Square), which is surrounded by several architecturally interesting buildings, including the government building, Hotel Armenia, the art museum and the historical museum. Other monumental architecture is the 1937 opera, the 13th-century Katogic Church, the Zoravian Church from the 1700’s. and the liquor factory where the well-known Armenian “cognac” is produced. The Matenadaran Museum on the city’s main street, Mashdot (formerly Leningaden), houses a large collection of Armenian, Iranian, Indian, Greek and Roman manuscripts and an institute for the study of ancient manuscripts. The city’s subway is from the Soviet era. It was damaged during the severe earthquake in 1988, but has been repaired and expanded. On the Tsisernakerberd mountain just outside the city is a monument with a perpetual fire, dedicated to the 1.5 million.
Yerevan is an ancient city with archaeological traces dating back to 783 BC, when the Erevuni fortress was built by King Argishti of Urartu. The city was centrally located on caravan roads in the southern Caucasus and was subject to repeated attacks and sieges by Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Persians. In 1582 the city fell to the Turks, in 1604 to the Persians, and in 1827 it was conquered by the Russians. After the Soviet power consolidated its power in Armenia, Yerevan became the capital of the Soviet Republic of Armenia in 1921 and at the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 in independent Armenia.
An industrial embossed production of hand knotted rugs, jerivan or ivory rugs, began in the 1900’s. The patterns of the rugs are inspired by other Caucasian rugs.