Since late 1990s, a number of changes have been made in the Yerevan city area, which give birth to various questions: How does the meaning of our environment change? Which new meanings emerge and which ones slowly fade away? Who is interested in these changes of meaning and who wants to preserve them? Who struggles for alternative meanings and how? The course of these changes can be described in three main dimensions: the continuing Soviet- Soviet-Armenian, which constantly changes its meaning due to context changes, as well as retaliatory actions against the nationalization and the commercialization of the city space. The accessibility of information concerning the city space, the growing social significance of the information-communication network can be mentioned as vivid characteristics of the general context (especially in the last few years).
The first years of independence were characterized by the desire to erase the unwanted traces of the Soviet Union and in doing so to nationalize the history of the city and its territory. By renaming the squares, the streets, the buildings and other places, by removing statues and replacing them with new ones, it was attempted to reflect the national historical past on the surface of the city in the face of glorious ancestors and great events.
From the perspective of addressing the above-mentioned questions and particularly discussing the relationship between Yerevan’s socialist past and the present processes, two monumental buildings should be paid special attention to: Mother Armenia (together with the Victory park) and the monument dedicated to the 50th university of Soviet Armenia (together with the entire area of Cascade) with their similarities and differences.
These can be very briefly described in the following manner: both being full of signs of the Soviet ideology have essentially lost their monumental discourse dimension: their aphorisms inseparable from socialist utopias have mostly been changed or have become unreadable. Yet the former is better connected with the Soviet past and the post-Soviet period interferences are more related to the efforts of nationalizing the territory or conserving what can be perceived as socialistic. While the second can be described as one of Yerevan’s extraordinary places which, in the cultural sense, is subject to constant interventions of westernization, preserving the environment created by replicating the Soviet monumentalism and the elements of national architecture.