by Richard Giragosian Independence has not been easy for Armenia. In the wake of the abrupt collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia was ill prepared for the onset of independence and already was distracted by a costly conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh. Yet even though the early hardships of independence have eased significantly, true independence remains both incomplete and insecure in Armenia today.
by Arpi Harutyunyan A wave of illegal logging is scalping the forests of Armenia. In the lush province of Lori, the air has become deadly from toxins spewed from an ill-equipped smelting plant. In Ararat, citizens complain that a factory is poisoning their soil. In Yerevan, green space has been eaten by uncontrolled development. Armenia's ecological dark cloud is made even darker by polluted air, but a silver lining glistens . . . At Lake Sevan—the diamond in Armenia's crown of natural gems—the tide against ecological decay is, literally, being turned.
by Marianna Grigoryan and Gayane Mkrtchyan In late 1980s, when the USSR was in its death throes, an unusual struggle against the Soviet regime hit many schools in Armenia. The bright red ties of the Young Pioneers were thrown away, as were the Little Octobrist badges and the Communist Youth Organization banners.
by Richard Giragosian
by Gayane Abrahamyan Duduk player Jivan Gasparian shows a guest videos of his concerts. The Armenian musician appears in clips with pop stars Peter Gabriel, Lionel Ritchie, Brian May. And with the Kronos Quartet and with jazz artist Michael Brook. Before 1991, Gasparian hardly dreamed of such musical partnerships. Communism was a sound barrier that prohibited contacts outside its careful control.
by Marianna Grigoryan and Gayane Mkrtchyan After 12 years of trying without success to start a family, Karina Marsuradze made up for lost time on a cold winter day in 2004. Karina (she is Armenian, and her husband is Georgian) gave birth to triplets—two girls and a boy in the Margarian Hospital of Yerevan.
by Suren Musayelyan When Armenia gained independence in 1991, its athletes earned the right to participate in international events representing their own nation. That opportunity was taken with great enthusiasm both in Armenia and its Diaspora, as there were all grounds for high expectations. Podiums full of Armenian sportsmen had brought glory to the USSR in different sports, and Armenians reasonably expected that the flag of independent Armenia would be raised and its anthem performed on many occasions to celebrate future victories.
by Haroutiun Khachatrian According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Armenian economy is roaring. Last year EBRD announced that Armenia joined the list of former Soviet republics that managed to regain the level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) they had before the breakdown of the USSR. According to EBRD's annual Transition Report, Armenia has fully recovered from the catastrophic decline in the economy that, in the 1990s, had convinced some that independence was a bad idea.
by John Hughes Independent Armenia's transition from communism is embodied, unavoidably and intrusively so, exactly where its homage to socialism had stood.