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Unrest In Javakheti

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  • #31
    “Javakhk needs help of the whole Armenian world”: Chairman of “United Javakhk” Vahagn

    “Javakhk needs help of the whole Armenian world”: Chairman of “United Javakhk” Vahagn Chakhalian to REGNUM


    Mr. Chakhalian, recently Democratic Alliance “United Javakhk” led by you has become an active player in social and political landscape of the region. Since your activity does not always receive an ambiguous evaluation, I would like to ask you to explain, in general terms, the major political programs and ideas, on which your social activity is based.

    The Democratic Alliance “United Javakhk” was established in March 2005 by several Javakhk’s Armenian NGOs; and we started our activity from staging two meetings in Akhalkalak, that brought together thousands of people, which was something unprecedented for Javakhk. Our major goal is consolidation of the Armenian population of Javakhk and defense of its interests. We consider ourselves as patriots, who love the Motherland and want to live and work on the land of our ancestors with appropriate dignity and respect. We strive to combine and realize common democratic and civil values together with large cultural and historic heritage of the Armenian people. Holding ourselves responsible for preservation of stability and neutralization of ethnic tensions, imported from outside by destructive political forces of Georgia, we will firmly stay on guarding the interests and civil rights of the Armenian population of Javakhk –law-abiding and fully-fledged citizens of Georgian state. We believe, that in the presence of political will on part of the Georgian government and together with all progressive social and political forces of the republic, it is possible to solve all the accumulated problems in the region, whereby Javakhk, thanks to its geographical setting, could and should become an effective intermediary of economic integration between Georgia and Armenia.

    During this year several serious incidents took place in Javakhk. What are the reasons for the growing tensions in the region?

    You are, probably, speaking about taking over of the Armenian school in Akhaltsikha, another attempt to “georgianize” the Armenian church in Samsar village, the clash with tax authorities in Akhalkalak, the recent destruction of the customs office in Jhdanovakan, etc.

    Beginning from the Soviet times and especially after the independence, the ruling circles of Georgia have methodically realized the policy of “Georgia for Georgians”, targeted at the expulsion of Armenians from Javakhk, at the assimilation of Armenians in other regions of Georgia and at the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage at the territory of Georgia. The realization of this policy is achieved through all available means.

    In Javakhk, as well as in other regions of Georgia rights of the Armenian population are violated, without respecting the obligation to defend the rights of national minorities that Georgia undertook upon the entry to the Council of Europe. Consider just several evident facts:

    Local government:

    In the 1995 the state of Samtskhe-Javakheti was established, which purposefully included Adigeni and Borjomi regions, in addition to predominantly Armenian regions, in order to decrease the overall predominance of Armenian population, where, as a result, the number of total Armenian population dropped to 55%. Since the creation of the state of Samtskhe-Javakheti, despite the Armenian majority in the region, representatives appointed by the Georgian president in the region (Governors) were always Georgians by nationality. From more than 20 members of the Governor’s office, only three are Armenians.

    Education:

    1. Contrary to the Georgian history, which is a mandatory subject to study in Armenian middle schools, the History of Armenia was decided to be an optional course, the instruction of which is not paid from the educational funds. Recently, the instruction of Armenian History in Armenian schools was altogether banned.

    2. Teachers of the Georgian language, exclusively Georgians by nationality, receive a salary several times greater than the salary of other instructors of other courses in Armenian schools.

    Demographic Policy:

    1. In 2002 a branch of Tbilisi State University was opened in Akhlkalak, with the purpose (according to the authorities) to speed up integration of the Armenian youth into Georgian society, for which reason the education is being held in Georgian… However, most enrolled students are Georgians, who came from different regions of the country, for whom the exceptional privileges are established: free apartments and food, higher scholarships, and the promise of guaranteed employment in the region after graduation.

    2. In 2005 in Javakhk’s city of Ninotsminda, in the region with the most severe weather conditions in the whole Georgia, an orphanage was opened, where already about 40 Georgian children from different regions of Georgia live. It is obvious that by such steps the Georgian authorities are targeting a concrete goal – to change the demographic situation in the region in order to increase the presence of the title nationality (Georgians) in the region.

    By such acts, the Georgian government only increases the tensions in the already explosive setting that came to existence in Javakhk.

    As is well known, the recent aggravation of the situation in Javakhk (the destruction of customs zone at Jhdanovakan) was caused by replacement of customs officers of the Armenian nationality for Georgian customs officers. How would you explain the strive of Tbilisi to replace the officials in Javakhk by representatives of the Georgian nationality?

    This striving of Tbilisi to replace the local bureaucracy by Georgians is not something new or accidental. Discriminatory employment practices based on the national discrimination is a traditional ethnic policy in Georgia as it is. In our case, the hard line policy of expulsion of Armenians out of governmental agencies, and, especially, from military and the police, is designed to show the Armenian population of Javakhk who are the “true masters” of the situation in the region. Knowing how painfully the local population, which lives under constant political, socio-economical and psychological pressure, reacts in every other case of ethnic discrimination, the Tbilisi authorities hoped to cause a new wave of massive demoralization. However, this short-sited policy has no prospects, is not productive, and brings about only further exasperation of Armenian population of Javakhk, provoking it for an adequate response.

    The Kars (Turkey) – Akhalkalaki (Georgia) railroad, certainly, will go through the territory of Javakhk. What does the local population think of this prospect?

    We consider the plans to build Kars-Akhalkalak railroad as a decision that is not fully thought through and that is pregnant with the most dangerous political consequences, which goes against the most fundamental interests of the Georgian state. The population of Javakhk is extremely negative about this project, based on the following reasons:

    Firstly, the realization of the railroad project would extremely enhance the presence of Turkey in the region of Javakhk, including, possibly, the military presence, upon the pretext of the defense of communications.

    Here it is appropriate to mention the fact, which is little-known to the world community. In 1918-20, during the Turkish invasion of Transcaucasus, after the Armenian Genocide in Western Armenia, the Turkish forces also staged the massacre of the Armenian population of Javakhk: about one-half o region’s population (about 40.000 people) died at the hands of Turkish soldiers or from starvation. At the same time the authorities of independent Georgia not only left the Armenian population without defense, but, in addition, making Armenians die of hunger by closing with their military units the roads from Javakhk to the inner, safer regions of Georgia.

    Secondly, the realization of the rail-road project may promote the repatriation of Meskhetian Turks into the Armenian Javakhk, however they were deported from the regions of Meskhetia (Aspindza, Akhaltsikha and Adigeni regions), where currently mostly Georgians live, who are not interested at all in returning the lands to the Turks.

    Thirdly, implementation of this project is targeted at the promotion of transport and economic isolation of Armenia. Expert evaluations undoubtedly state the economic implausibility of the project, since the existing Kars-Giumri-Tbilisi railroad, from the point of exploitation and economy is much more optimal. Under this conditions, considering the anti-Armenian background of the project, taking into account the historic memory of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, including the devastation of Javakhk’s Armenians by Turkish forces in 1918 and 1920, and considering the true interests of the Georgian state and its citizens, we are going to fight against the realization of Kars-Akhalkalaki railroad project by all legal and lawful means.

    What do you expect of Armenia and how the locals perceive the Armenia’s position on the problem of Javakhk?

    The Armenian authorities maintain that tense situation in Meskhk-Javakhk is solely explained by tough social and economic situation in the region, they don’t see any political problem here. I believe that the Armenian government is well aware of mass violations or Armenian ethnic minority’s rights in Georgia and of conducted governmental policy of the expulsion of Armenian population out of Meskhk-Javakhk.

    However, for the sake of preservation of good relations with Georgia, on the one hand, and failing to take into account the explosive nature of the situation on another, the Armenian government prefers not to see any political problem in the region.

    I am sure, that very soon, under the pressure from hundreds of thousands of Javakhk’s natives, living in Armenia, under pressure from patriotic forces of Armenian and the Diaspora, under the pressure from veterans of Artsakh Liberation War and cadre officers of the Armenian Army, the Armenian government would have to change its position.

    The current authority of Armenia is well aware of the help that was provided to Artsakh (Karabakh) by Javakhk during the Liberation War. Today Javakhk is in the need of help and expects help from not only Armenia and Artsakh, but from the whole Armenian World. Only preservation of the Armenian Javakhk would spare Armenia from being encircled by Turkic ethnic element, which, once realized, would be catastrophic for Armenia.

    It would have been much more rational for the Armenian authorities to recognize the political problem in Javakhk and to demand from the Georgian authorities to stop the policy of discrimination of the Armenian ethnic minority in Georgia and together solve the accumulated problems of Meskhk-Javakhk being guided by the international law and with the mediation of authoritative and appropriate international bodies. In the adverse situation, the third parties, interested in destabilizing of Javakhk, may take advantage of the situation and provoke an Armenian-Georgian conflict, which will be extremely hard to stop, considering the pattern of other conflicts in Transcaucasus.

    http://www.regnum.ru/english/polit/567886.html

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    • #32
      Armenian Church representatives are surprised with the appeal of Georgian Orthodox Ch

      Armenian Church representatives are surprised with the appeal of Georgian Orthodox Church



      As a REGNUM correspondent reports, on December 29, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church asked the Armenian Apostolic Church to abstain from declarations that may harm relations between the two churches.

      “Declarations of some Armenians about existence of many Armenian churches on the territory of Georgia are historically and scientifically groundless. Such declarations harm relations between the Armenian and Georgian nations and churches,” stresses the statement of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

      The REGNUM correspondent addressed press office of Armenian Church for comments. The Armenian Church spokesperson, priest Vagram Melikyan said that their Church did not receive any official statements of the Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarchy. “We are surprised by this appeal, because Armenia’s declaration presumed recognition of the Armenian Eparchy in Georgia and return of 6 Armenian churches that are needed for organization of the Armenian community spiritual life and success of the Armenian Eparchy in Georgia,” noted Melikyan.

      http://www.regnum.ru/english/polit/568465.html

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      • #33
        The railway as a political tool for sowing regional paranoia

        By M. Alkhazashvili
        Translated by Diana Dundua

        The thought of a Kars-Akhalikalaki railway link is not a pleasant one for many Armenians. A direct Georgian-Turkish freight connection would push Georgia's southern neighbor further into the margins of the region's evolving economic picture. This being the case, it seems fair to say that certain forces are apt to use this railway issue as tinder to spark unrest in Javakheti and a subsequent Georgian-Armenian confrontation. If the situation in Javakheti becomes volatile, it is possible that the withdrawal of the Russian military base there will be postponed indefinitely.

        During a recent interview with a Russian newsagency, the head of the Democratic Alliance of United Javakheti (created in March 2005) Vahan Chakhaliani threatened that Armenians living in Javakheti would not allow the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway to be built.

        "We believe that the plans for this railway are not well thought out and the realization of this project could cause seriously dangerous political results that are against the fundamental interests of Georgia," says Chakhaliani as quoted by the newspaper Sakartvelos Respubloka.

        Chakhaliani lists three main reasons why Javakheti residents do not approve of this project:

        - The building of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway will raise Turkey's profile in Javakheti, including the possible stationing of Turkish military forces in the region under the guise of protecting communications.

        - Along with strengthening Turkey's position in the region, the railway project could also lay the groundwork for the resettlement of Meskhetian Turks in Javakheti.

        -This project vividly aims to reinforce Armenia's economic isolation and to exclude it from reaping the benefits of the establishment of a trans-Caucasian transport corridor.

        According to Chakhaliani instead of connecting Kars to Akhalikalaki, the railway should run from Tbilisi, through the Armenian town of Giumri and then on to Kars. "Only the maintenance of an Armenian Javakheti will be able to protect the Armenian republic from the catastrophic results brought on by the siege of Turkish ethnic elements," Chakhaliani declares and extols the Armenian authorities not to ignore the problems faced by Javakhetians simply to maintain good relations with Georgia.

        According to him Armenia must be actively involved in Georgia's internal affairs. "It would be more rational for Armenia to ask the Georgian authorities to stop discriminating against the country's Armenian ethnic minorities, and it would be better if Armenia offered to solve Georgia's Meskhetian-Javakheti local problems by organizing an international structure to mediate," added Chakhaliani Sakartvelos Respublika reports.

        From the Georgian perspective, of course, it would be better if Chakhaliani and others gave up trying to manufacture a Georgian-Armenian conflict, for at the moment none exists and the creation of one would truly bring catastrophic results for both sides.

        http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/1...eco_1023_1.htm

        Comment


        • #34
          Parliament Speaker leaves for Akhalkalaki

          Caucaz.com, Georgia
          Jan 15 2006

          Parliament Speaker leaves for Akhalkalaki
          Breaking News published on 15/01/2006

          Akhalkalaki, 15 January 2006 (Rustavi 2) - Parliament Speaker Nino
          Burjanadze will arrive in the town of Akhalkalaki, the region of
          Samtskhe-Javakheti, which is mostly populated by the ethnic
          Armenians, to attend a solemn opening ceremony of the new Georgian
          Orthodox Church.

          It is reported that the Samtskhe-Javakheti Archbishop Nikoloz
          [Nicolas] will sanctify the new church; Burjanadze is going to donate
          an old prayer book to the new church.
          [url]http://www.ArmenianAncestry.com[/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]

          Comment


          • #35
            Abkhaz And Armenians Cannot Share Gagra And Sukhumi

            Messenger, Georgia
            Jan 23 2006

            Press Scanner

            According to Akhali Taoba, an already violent conflict is brewing in
            Abkhazia. Experts and politicians state publicly that the potential
            for armed conflict between Abkhaz and Armenians on Abkhaz territory
            is high. "In fact, the confrontation between these two nations has
            already begun. On December 31, 2005, Abkhaz attackers blew up an
            Armenian school and by doing this threatened Armenians living there,"
            the paper writes.

            According to the article, earlier last year Abkhaz terrorists also
            set off a bomb at the Armenian representation in Sokhumi. Nobody
            claimed responsibility for this blast, though according to rumors,
            the Vice-President of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba and his henchmen were
            behind these anti-Armenian fireworks. Khajimba has never had good
            feelings towards Armenians and with his help Abkhaz authorities caught
            and deported 500 Armenians who were living illegally in Gagra in 2004.

            As a result of this, most Armenians voted for Sergei Bagapsh at the
            presidential elections. Now, Bagapsh is in their debt and it is even
            thought that he takes their opinions into account. This fact became
            a reason for confrontation between Khajimba and Bagapsh. At a recent
            Security Council session, Khajimba called Bagapsh "pro-Armenian,"
            the newspaper writes.

            Akhali Taoba writes that data from one unofficial census says that the
            total number of Armenians living in Abkhazia exceeds the number Abkhaz
            by several thousand. This is not a small reason for the Abkhaz to
            become anxious. Abkhaz are also anxious about the fact that Armenians
            are earning a lot of money in Abkhazia.

            "For this or other reasons, the Abkhaz do not conceal their irritation
            with Armenians and experts think that a big disagreement may take
            place between them," the paper notes.
            "All truth passes through three stages:
            First, it is ridiculed;
            Second, it is violently opposed; and
            Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

            Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

            Comment


            • #36
              Who is hiding behind offers to clear Javakhk from Armenians?

              Who is hiding behind offers to clear Javakhk from Armenians?

              /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Day.az web site has posted a statement allegedly made by the Union of Compatriots of Georgia (UCG), who are “launching a war against Armenian occupants of Samtskhe Javakheti.” The statement signed by UCG chairman Gogi Chipashvili says, in part, “From this day, September 18, the UCG consisting of 2500 Georgian patriots and their volunteer armed groups are starting a war against Armenian separatists. We are not going to tolerate the occupation of Armenians, who have seized the lands of our ancestors. Any time we are ready to take up arms against mercenary Armenians. We call on the Georgian government, especially on President Mikhael Saakashvili to be cautious and not encourage Armenian separatism, because the head of the state will be responsible for collisions and bloodshed. We do not expect any assistance from government in this guerrilla war. We do call on the sons of Georgia to join us in the name of glory of our country.”

              It’s curious that Day.az has embellished the publication with comments calling on the readers “to feel the menace of a new war in the South Caucasus being provoked by Georgian Armenians for this once.”

              Meanwhile, representative of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Levon Isakhanian said that the statement is “absurd from beginning to end.” “The Georgian security service would immediately prevent such actions. To be honest, the story is just ridiculous. What can 2500 people do against 100-thousand population of Javakhk? But the most interesting fact is that the statement was circulated by an Azeri portal while Georgia is absolutely unaware,” Isakhanian stressed.

              For his part, senior exert of the Caucasus Media Institute, historian and political scientist Sergei Minasyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, “The statement by the Union of Compatriots of Georgia is a figment. It just can’t be.”

              A similar comment was received from Javakhk News Agency editor Armen Grigoryan. “No one in Javakhk heard either of the UCG or its intentions. By the way, text of the statement imitates the style of articles published by Azeri press,” he noted.
              ! Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited without reference to «PanARMENIAN.Net».
              [url]http://www.ArmenianAncestry.com[/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Hovik View Post
                Who is hiding behind offers to clear Javakhk from Armenians?

                /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Day.az web site has posted a statement allegedly made by the Union of Compatriots of Georgia (UCG), who are “launching a war against Armenian occupants of Samtskhe Javakheti.” The statement signed by UCG chairman Gogi Chipashvili says, in part, “From this day, September 18, the UCG consisting of 2500 Georgian patriots and their volunteer armed groups are starting a war against Armenian separatists. We are not going to tolerate the occupation of Armenians, who have seized the lands of our ancestors. Any time we are ready to take up arms against mercenary Armenians. We call on the Georgian government, especially on President Mikhael Saakashvili to be cautious and not encourage Armenian separatism, because the head of the state will be responsible for collisions and bloodshed. We do not expect any assistance from government in this guerrilla war. We do call on the sons of Georgia to join us in the name of glory of our country.”

                It’s curious that Day.az has embellished the publication with comments calling on the readers “to feel the menace of a new war in the South Caucasus being provoked by Georgian Armenians for this once.”

                Meanwhile, representative of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Levon Isakhanian said that the statement is “absurd from beginning to end.” “The Georgian security service would immediately prevent such actions. To be honest, the story is just ridiculous. What can 2500 people do against 100-thousand population of Javakhk? But the most interesting fact is that the statement was circulated by an Azeri portal while Georgia is absolutely unaware,” Isakhanian stressed.

                For his part, senior exert of the Caucasus Media Institute, historian and political scientist Sergei Minasyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, “The statement by the Union of Compatriots of Georgia is a figment. It just can’t be.”

                A similar comment was received from Javakhk News Agency editor Armen Grigoryan. “No one in Javakhk heard either of the UCG or its intentions. By the way, text of the statement imitates the style of articles published by Azeri press,” he noted.
                ! Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited without reference to «PanARMENIAN.Net».
                Though I do not doubt there are many Georgians who dislike the Armenians in Javakh and even Armenians in general, this certainly sounds like the work of the Azeris and/or the Turkish MIT. I wouldn't put it past them.
                General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

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