Armenia: tablet instead of bread
By Jamila Babayeva
Armenian people, who protest at social problems in the country, blame President Serzh Sargsyan and demand solution to the problems.
Sargsyan has recently appealed to protesters near his residence not to offend him.
"If I am your president, it does not mean that you have to blame me and offend," Sargsyan said in response to all those who demanded resolution of house problems they have been facing since 2007.
An unusual solution to the social problem, which is quite abundant in the former Soviet republic, really surprises. Ignoring the protests and social demands of citizens, the Armenian prime minister has called on them to be proud of their country which has launched the production of the first national tablet.
Amazing response to the serious social problems reigning in the country over the last years has given rise to larger disagreements. It is enough to mention a humanitarian catastrophe in the third largest Vanadzor city, where people are starving and freezing since February 3 following the gas pipeline blast.
"Gas supply to most parts of Vanadzor has been ceased, while there are long breaks in electricity and water supplies as well," Armenian media reported. "There is a shortage of food, especially bread. Classes have suspended at schools, and only patients with urgent problems are taken to hospitals. The authorities have not taken any step to resolve the problems until this day."
Unsolved social problems and tough living conditions are the major drives for increasing migration outflow in Armenia.
The authorities instead of taking measures for creating workplaces continue sharpening the social situation in the country. The government has increased the "army of unemployed" by reducing 7,000 teachers due to the reduction in number of schoolchildren.
The government adopted the decision on the background of the continued protests. The civil initiative "I protest" held the next protest march on February 6 in Yerevan against the introduction of a mandatory funded pension system. Several thousands of people participated in the protest chanting slogans such as "Shame!", "We are against".
The protesters approached the building of the Committee on state incomes demanding employers not be forced to cut employees' salaries. The police blocked the road to protesters who were trying to reach the building of the Committee on state incomes, resulting in a scuffle.
The protests against the Armenian government's policy will not stop. Yerevan will meet next protest rallies on February 18 and on March 1. On February 18 - a year after presidential elections - former Armenian presidential nominee and leader of Armenian Heritage party, Raffi Ovanisyan, will hold a rally against the authorities, which "usurped the power" in February 2013.
"Any rally aims to change the power, our every action, even our breath is directed to this," head of the parliament fraction of the party Levon Zurabyan said recently.
The Armenian National Congress party will demand the power change on March 1.
Tension is rising in Armenia on the background of unsolved social problems. The government's smart trick to deceive its people with tablets will hardly ever succeed in this case.