Armenia: How to kill the white elephant humanely?

source: Sputnik /; author: michał

Armenia: How to kill the white elephant humanely? There is no possible demand for such a large stadium in Yerevan. The symbol of Armenia's sovietisation became a major piece of Yerevan's skyline and Armenian culture, but it should go sooner than later, if now legacy operating mode is found.


If you've visited Yerevan, you surely know it. The massive Hrazdan stadium dominates the landscape of western areas with its seating bowl, opening towards the centre, and tall floodlight masts.

IT was built as a symbol of successful sovietisation of Armenia. Now all indications suggest it's likely to end precisely like the Soviet Union: removed after long deterioration. The country's largest stadium has been almost entirely unused for years and there's no reason to think demand for such venue will be built, even in the long term.

Hrazdan Stadion© Mark Snape

Armenia's national team continues to play at the smaller Republican Stadium and the domestic games are... well, far too small for its potential. The country's top league continues to fail in attracting crowds and Ararat, who opened Hrazdan to 78,000 people, now average just over 300 people per game. In a league with turnout of 434 (lowest since 2005) the dream of filling 54,000 seats at Hrazdan is simply not realistic.

With absolutely no way to make it sustainable, the stadium has to go, at least in a way. Partial demolition, conversion into a different leisure venue, complete destruction. All these ideas had already surfaced, but so far no-one dared to touch the stadium, which is undoubtedly a landmark that has grown into Yerevan and Armenia altogether.

Designated for privatisation between 2017 and 2020, the stadium has so far failed to attract any private interest. Despite the location being picturesque and attractive, the sole necessity od demolition at the hillside becomes a challenge, potentially ruining the economic equasion.

For now the most likely scenario seems to be demolition of the stadium by public authorities and only then investment by private entities.