A Call to Save “Burevestnik”

On January 8, 2024, the Yerevan City Council discussed a proposal concerning the 4th zone of the Circular Park. During the session, the city authorities announced their intention to demolish the tennis courts near the Yerevan State University (YSU).

The proposal to recognize the tennis courts known as “Burevestnik” under the “Law on Alienation of Property Aimed at Securing Overriding Public Interests” holds the risk of violating the cultural rights of the society. This is not the first case when the  city is being destroyed and subjected to rough transformations under the name of the above mentioned law. As a result, citizens are being deprived of public spaces, vernacular districts, and cultural monuments. The implementation of the law in such a manner damages the cultural identity and collective memory of the city and its residents.

For decades, the tennis courts located in front of the Yerevan State University have played a significant role in the daily lives and cultural fabric of Yerevan, and its residents—  a crucial element of the city’s memory and identity. This part of the city is a unique public and green space, providing opportunities not only for sports but also for a range of cultural and social activities.

Back in 2007, the Republic of Armenia ratified the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” (UNESCO 2005 Convention), committing to integrating culture into the development of policies at all levels, creating conditions conducive to sustainable development and, within this framework, fostering aspects related to the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.

As an organization dedicated to advocating for cultural rights in Armenia, the CSN Lab expresses its concern regarding the proposal to designate a section of the city park as a matter of public interest, leading to the demolition of the tennis courts in the name of law. This can have irreversible consequences on the life, cultural identity and memory of the city and its people.

We urge the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, the Armenian government, and the municipal authorities of Yerevan to preserve the tennis courts, facilitate the development of Circular Park through public discussions, and finally —  promote and protect the cultural rights of the citizens.