Gyumri Mayor, Brother to Buy Tumanian’s Tbilisi House

The Tumanian house is Tbilisi

YEREVAN—The sale of legendary of Armenian writer Hovannes Toumanian’s house is imminent. A purchase agreement for the acquisition of the writer’s Tbilisi house will be signed on February 22. The property was purchased by Gyumri’s mayor, Vartan Ghukasyan and his brother for a reported $145000, the Chairman of Armenia’s Writers’ Union of Armenia Levon Ananyan told a Panorama.am reporter from Tbilisi.

Last month the Mayor of Gyumir announced that he and his brothers were interested in purchasing the property, which is owned by a local Georgian who was reportedly prepared to sell the 120-square meter portion of the house to a Turkish-Georgian joint venture. Plans were to turn the house into a hostel for Turkish workers.

The Ghukasyan brothers had also said they would turn the house to the Armenian community of Tbilisi, which plans to turn the house into a museum dedicated to the author.

Recently the mayor of Gyumri was embroiled in controversy over opening an lavish hotel in the center of town. Many protested the move questioning whether it was prudent for the mayor to lavishly spend on a luxury hotel when not all those displaced by the 1988 earthquake have been provided housing.

A delegation that included Ananyan, a cousin of the Ghukasyans, parliament member Artyom Ghukasyan and two representatives from the Gyumri mayor’s office left for Tbilisi Tuesday.

Ananyan said that the delegation, which was joined by Armenia’s Ambassador to Georgia Hovhannes Manukyan met with the current owner of the property on Wednesday.

“I think there will be no obstacles and the purchase agreement will be signed on February 22,” explained Ananyan.

The Union of Armenians in Tbilisi sounded the alarm in December and issued an announcement about the fate of the Tumanian home.

“The historical building was transferred to a businessman back in the 90s. The businessman put the apartment on sale, and the ‘GeoTuran’ Turkish-Georgian joint venture is going to purchase the apartment to turn it into a hostel for Turkish workers. Company’s management has even asked poet’s great-grandchild Alina Tumanyan, who lives in the second part of the building, to sell her territory also, but she refused to,” the statement said.

At a press conference late last year, Safrazbekyan complained about the fact that Armenia did not purchase the home when it had the chance.

Employees of GeoTuran visited Alyona Tumanyan, the poet’s great-granddaughter who owns a part of the house and proposed that she sell them to the company as well. She refused.

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7 Comments

  1. zareh said:

    and how does the Mayor of Gyumri buy a house worth 140 thousand dollars with a salary of less than 10 thousand dollars a year? Can someone say CORRUPTION?

    • Hay said:

      wow, even when an Armenian government official does something good, he is criticized. $145,000 is not that much money. An average apartment in Armenia costs that much nowadays. The mayor may have owned property that he sold.

    • Sipan said:

      Although corruption is likely, we still do not know for sure. He could have taken out a loan for all we know.

      • Hay said:

        Yes, of course, blame everyone for corruption. His brother is also in on the deal. For all we know the mayor’s brother is a wealthy businessman that contributed a significant amount of the money.

  2. anna said:

    I think our government or other oligarchs could buy that house and solve the problem . Mayor of Gyumri needs to think about his own people who are living in miserable situation.Since twenty years people are still homeless or living in shacks. He should spend those dollars to these people, not to another project.He needs to learn ” First thing first”.

    • Sipan said:

      Yes our government should have bought it, but at least a fellow Armenian owns it now. The government had rejected the idea of buying the house because of insufficient funds previously.

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