Georgian Ethnic Cleansing
Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:57 AM
1915 can be repeated in Georgia
23.01.2009 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The actions of Georgian law enforcement prove that the Georgian authorities decided to settle the Armenian issue forcibly, an Armenian expert said.
“The arrest of Grigory Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan followed the attempts to liquidate Gurgen Shirinyan and the so-called trial of Vahagn Chakhalyan,” Eduard Abrahamyan, expert at Mitq analytical center told PanARMENIAN.Net.
Grigory Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan were detained in Samtskhe Javakheti on January 22. A criminal case in compliance with articles 18.1, 223.1 and 314 (formation of illegal armed unit and espionage) of the Georgian Penal Code was initiated.
“Such actions will continue until complete de-Armenization of Samtskhe,” Abrahamyan said.
“All what happens in Georgia today reminds the situation in vilayets of Western Armenia. The entire Armenianhood and the world community should unite to prevent repetition of 1915 in Georgia,” he said.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:01 PM
Georgia accuses to Armenians of espionage
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The intelligence agency at the Georgian Ministry of Interior has detained two members of the Armenian community on suspicion of espionage.
Grigory Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan were detained in Samtskhe Javakheti on January 22.
A criminal case in compliance with articles 18.1, 223.1 and 314 (formation of illegal armed unit and espionage) of the Georgian Penal Code was initiated, Georgia Online reports.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:02 PM
Edited by Aratta-Kingdom, 23 January 2009 - 12:05 PM.
Posted 23 January 2009 - 02:36 PM
he is who he is
Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:42 PM
you are right MosJan. he is who he is. The georgian police entered an Armenian schoold, forced all the children to give up their phones, u et masin kargin tegekatvutyun chka. unlike our esher from Yerevan, the heads of other governments think about their people. Yevropai pes mi tegh vor azerinner@ Mery Sargsyanin gortsic azatel tvecin, mek urish@ hayeri poxaren ashxarhn er tndacrel es tegekatvutyamb. Isk mer esher@, iranc shahic en koghm voch mi ban chen tesnum. Amboghj tegekatvakan paterazm@ tanlu enq talis, u arturik bagdasaryan@ ira azgain anvatangutyunov chi karoganum 10 hagi dni vor tegekavutyuan harcerov zbagven.
Posted 24 January 2009 - 07:06 PM
TWO JAVAKHK LEADERS ARRESTED IN GEORGIA
Friday January 23, 2009
AKHALKALAK (A-Info)--Two leaders of Armenian organizations in
Javakhk were arrested Thursday by Georgian interior ministry forces
on charges of their alleged membership in so-called militant groups,
reported the Council of Armenian Organizations of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
According to reports, at around 1:40 p.m. Council member and director
of the Armenian youth center Grigor (Grisha) Minasyan's vehicle
was stopped near Asbindza, while he was en-route from Akhalkalak
to Akhaltskha, and he was taken into custody by Georgian Interior
Ministry forces. During the arrest police from Tbilisi, who had
traveled all the way to Akhalkalak handcuffed Minasyan and videotaped
the entire process.
At around 2 p.m. the same day, the same interior ministry forces
arrested Sergey Hagopjanyan. Hagopjanyan, who was attending a funeral
at the time of his arrest, is the chairman of the Charles Aznavour
The Tbilisi police raided their residences but found nothing. The two
were moved to a prison facility in Tbilisi. The Council of Armenian
Organizations immediately retained counsel and has reported the
incident to Georgia's Human Rights Defense Committee.
Prior to the arrests, at around 1 p.m., the same group of interior
ministry forces raided the Akhalkalak Youth Center, where young
children were at dance practice. The law enforcement agents confiscated
cell phones from instructors and students and placed the center under
lockdown. The children were forced to stay in the center for three
hours, during which the Special Forces confiscated the center's
computer hard drives and several books from the library and took
photos of the library and its contents.
The Armenian community gathered at the Armenian Youth Center in
Akhalkalak for a rally where leaders urged the residents to remain
calm and refrain from instigation provocation.
Posted 24 January 2009 - 07:11 PM
SITUATION IN JAVAKHK IS DANGEROUS
23 January, 2009
Georgia's Interior Ministry has arrested Grigor Minasyan and Sargis
Hakobjanyan. They are actively engaged in the cultural life of
Akhaltskha town. Grigor Minasyan heads the "Armenian Youth Centre" and
Grigor Minasyan - "Charles Aznavour" Charity Foundation. A criminal
action has been filed. The detainees are charged with formation of
illegal groupings and espionage.
"Yesterday Georgia's Intelligence Service raided the premises of the
Youth Centre. They took away part of the Centre's library. The raid
was followed by the arrest of Grigor Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan,"
Armenian MP and Chairman of the "Javakhk" Patriotic Union Shirak
Torosyan told A1+.
The indictment is ungrounded. Minasyan and Hakobjanyan have nothing
to do with politics. This is a state terror against leading Javakhki
figures. They want to disturb cultural and national life of Javakhk
and create an atmosphere of fear, horror and distrust.
The representatives of the Intelligence Service have found no weapon in
the detainees' flats. Shirak Torosyan thinks similar attitude towards
Javakhki Armenians may lead to dangerous and undesirable consequences.
This can be the last straw for Javakhki Armenians. If Georgian
authorities should not forget that one they their misdeeds may
boomerang against them. I am convinced that there are no armed
groupings in Javakhk. I call on the Georgian authorities to sober up
and release Grigor Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan who were transported
to Tbilisi after the arrest.
Mr. Torosyan says Armenian authorities, for their turn, should take
adequate measures. "They must clear up the matter, find the reasons
for their arrest as well as the aim of Georgian authorities.
Posted 24 January 2009 - 07:24 PM
Georgian arrests aim to open church-political haggling with Armenia
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The process of preservation of Georgia as an empire has been carried from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Samtskhe-Javakheti-Tsalka, an Armenian expert said.
"Having lost control over the breakaway regions, the Georgian authorities are trying to cement positions in the Armenian-inhabited territories, targeting people who can struggle for their national values and faith," Vahe Sargsyan, expert at Mitq analytical center said in a statement obtained by PanARMENIAN.Net.
"Grigor Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan are the people who maintained Armenian culture in Samtskhe Javakheti. It's ridiculous that these people are charged of espionage and formation of illegal armed unit. Such actions of the Georgian authorities instigate public hatred not only in Samtskhe Javakheti but also in other regions."
These arrests may aim to open church-political haggling with Armenia and appropriate Surb Nshan Armenian church in Akhaltsikhe and some other churches in the region, according to the expert.
Posted 24 January 2009 - 07:26 PM
Georgian intelligence agency deals with Armenians accused of espionage
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Georgian Ministry of Interior announced Friday arrest of two citizens - Grigor Minasyan and Sargis Hakobjanyan - accused of formation of illegal armed unit and espionage.
A criminal case in compliance with articles 18.1, 223.1 and 314 of the Georgian Penal Code was initiated. The investigation is led by intelligence agency of the Interior Ministry.
Georgian law enforced detained director of Armenian youth center Grigor Minasyan in Samtskhe Javakheti on January 22. They rushed into the center, collected cell phones, some books and computer data carriers.
On the same day, Sargis Hakobjanyan was arrested.
The search in their flats produced no result. The Armenians were transported to Tbilisi, Bagin.info reports.
Posted 27 January 2009 - 05:18 PM
The High Price of Georgia's Mistakes
BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Published: Tuesday January 27, 2009
It was a few months ago when Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili took to the airways to plead his case to the Western world about Russia's insurgence into its borders and proclaim his and his administration's dedication to upholding democracy.
Since then, international organizations and the world figured out that Saakashvili was not only deceiving them, but his policies in dealing with Georgia's ethnic minorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia smelled of ethnic cleansing, which prompted Russia to take action last summer.
The purveyor of democracy and the last US administration's choice to lead the troubled Caucasus country is at it again, this time widening its human rights abuses against the Armenian population of Javakhk. Last week, Georgian Interior Ministry forces arrested two Javakhk activists in a very public display of force and subsequently a court in Tbilisi charged them with organizing illegal militant groups and spying.
Grigor Minasyan and Sergei Hakopjanyan must now stay in jail for two months pending a trial. These two are the most recent victims of Georgia's ongoing harassment of the Armenian population of Javakhk and Georgia proper. Local leaders assert that Tbilisi's approach to raid and arrest Armenian leaders would stifle the Armenian population, which has been very vocal about ill-treatment by the central authorities. On the contrary, the recent arrests have made the community band together to resolutely object to their government's treatment of minorities.
Last fall Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan was forced to intervene when Georgian authorities were bulldozing the Norashen Armenian church in Tbilisi. Despite promises by Saakashvili and his newly-appointed prime minister, no action was taken against those perpetrating this attack on historic Armenia monuments. This followed a very marred election process whereby the Georgian authorities sought to quash the free will of the Armenian constituents by putting forth their own candidates to represent the Armenian community.
These incidents, coupled by Saakashvili's promise to resettle Meshkheti Turks in Javakhk proper, a situation that could flare tensions already high in that area.
There will come a time--and that time may be soon--when Armenians in Javakhk will run out of patience and seek measures to protect their human rights. Hopefully, calm will prevail and Javakhk leader will be able to come to an understanding with Tbilisi. However, prior actions of the Saakashvili administration have shown that the Georgian authorities are pursuing another agenda that is far from their commitment to democracy and democratic norms.
In the climate of reversing past blunders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama should revisit the Georgia equation and move beyond the light slaps on the hand the their predecessors delivered to Saakashvili in the wake of growing and continuing human rights abuses.
In the meantime, Georgian authorities should immediately release Minasyan and Hakopjanyan and all others they have arrested on trumped up charges and seek to establish a more proactive approach to dealing with Georgia's minorities. If anything, the brief yet destructive war last summer should serve as a lesson.
Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:49 PM
28 January, 2009
Since the day of its establishment the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" political movement, of which I am the leader, has been seeking solutions to the problems of the Javakheti and Georgian Armenians on the whole.
There used to be and there still are a lot of problems to face. The Georgian authorities undertake successive actions to encourage the immigration of the Javakheti Armenians and to change the ethnic picture of the region. Thus, 70% of the students at the State University in Akhalkalaki are ethnic Georgians. Moreover, a Georgian orphanage is established and a big prison is being built in Ninotsminda, attempts to georgianize the Armenian churches are made, new Georgian monasteries are constructed, etc. In Javakheti there is no alternative to using the Georgian language, which is imposed at all levels of social life. The Javakheti Armenians are refused the right to establish an Armenian language based university.
After the murder of the ethnic Armenian - Gevorg Gevorgyan in Tsalka region on March 9, 2006, his relatives and friends organized a protest action, which was forcefully broken up by the police. This caused a well-grounded discontent of the Javakheti Armenians. The "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" placed itself at the head of this wave of protests.
After each protest action I, as a leader of the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance", had a meeting with the Georgian authorities. The latter kept on promising to solve the problems regarding the Javakheti Armenians, however, the promises remained unfulfilled. The authorities advised us to refrain from mass protest actions and to pursue our objectives through participation in elections and other democratic processes.
The "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" followed this advice. In October 2006 we took part in the elections to the local self-administration bodies, however blatant falsifications of the voting results by the authorities deprived the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" of the opportunity to have any visible participation in the local self-administration bodies. The protest action organized by the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" was put down by police by means of provocation and use of force.
Throughout the year 2007 the Georgian authorities had been undertaking successive actions to liquidate the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance" and to ensure my political isolation and neutralization. The culmination of these actions became the events that took place in July 17-21, 2008.
Today, 6 months after my imprisonment, the Georgian authorities charge me with organizing protest actions in Akhalkalaki in 2006, - the actions by means of which the Javakheti Armenians voiced the problems and issues they were concerned about and requested the Georgian authorities to solve them; -the protest actions during which the Javakheti Armenians voiced their discontent about the blatant falsifications made by the authorities during the elections to the local self-administration bodies, claiming to declare the election results invalid.
Thus, in this courtroom I am stating the following: this lawsuit is a farce, and the reason for continuously delaying the trial lies in the fact that the Georgian authorities are afraid of me, as a political activist, who is a mouthpiece for the rights of the Javakheti Armenians. By charging me you charge the Armenian minority of your country.
The arrests of Ahaltsikha Armenian activists Grigor Minasyan, and Sargis Hakobjanyan are also the result of this fear. This is a new provocation, which aims to impel the Javakheti Armenians to extremist actions and by this to discredit the peaceful struggle of Javakheti Armenians for their language, educational and religious rights.
As in the past, once again I request the Georgian authorities to:
Stop all the criminal cases brought against the members of the "United Javakhk" Democratic Alliance", my relatives and friends, as well as against me. To stop all political and economic persecutions. Release all political prisoners who were arrested for their activities aimed at protection of the rights of the Armenian minority, including - of people arrested in Akhaltsikhe.
Cease all the programs aimed at the artificial change of the demographic picture of the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka regions.
Solve all the linguistic-educational, socio-economic and cultural problems the Armenian Minority of Georgia is concerned about.
- Register the Armenian Apostolic Church and return it all the churches that have been confiscated during the soviet era.
- Legally authorize the use of the Armenian language in the work of the local self-administration bodies and in general office work in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka regions.
- Give permission for establishing an Armenian university in Akhalkalaki.
The Georgian authorities will not be able to solve any problems by means of judicial proceedings and repressions. This will only intensify the discontent.
The Javakheti Armenians will continue the struggle for their rights.
Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:51 PM
February 2, 2009
JAVAKHK (Combined Sources)--Following a meeting of the board of directors of the Union of Armenian Organizations Friday, an announcement was issued blaming the arrest of two Armenian community leaders in Javakhk to the Georgian government's anti-Armenian and nationalistic policies, which they said, aimed at artificially displacing Armenians from Georgia.
The announcement added that the current policies of the Georgian regime were the continuation of anti-Armenian sentiments and policies starting in the 19th century, adding that having been completely disgraced after last August's war with Russia, the authorities are displaying more nationalistic policies toward the countries minorities.
The announcement called the arrests of two Armenian leaders from Akhaltskha a blatant violation of human rights. A Tbilisi court on January 24 charged the two Javakhk Armenian community leaders, Grigor Minasyan and Sergei Hagopjanyan, with alleged involvement in organizing "armed groups" and spying. The two are to remain in custody for two months pending a trial. Minasyan and Hagopjanyan were arrested on January 21, when Georgian Special Interior Ministry forces, backed up by Tbilisi police, ambushed the two and remanded them to custody in the capital.
Minasyan, who is the director of Armenian Youth Center, was stopped on the way from Akhalkalak to Akhaltskha. During the arrest police from Tbilisi, who had traveled all the way to Akhalkalak handcuffed Minasyan and videotaped the entire process. Hagopjanyan, who is the director of the "Charles Aznavour" Benevolent Organization, was attending a funeral at the time of his arrest.
The incident has left the Javakhk Armenian community stunned. The arrests, many believe, are a direct effort by Georgian authorities to destabilize the Armenian community, something not hard to digest as Tbilisi has a reputation of baselessly arresting Armenian community leaders.
In another development, the leader of the United Javakhk Democratic Alliance, Vahagn Chakhalyan, testified at the Akhalkalak court on January 29 after having been imprisoned for six months in a Georgian detention center. Chakhalyan described in his written testimony that the recent arrests are part of a concerted attempt by the Georgian authorities to “encourage the immigration of the Javakheti Armenians” in order to change demographic markup of the region.
“70% of the students at the State University in Akhalkalaki are ethnic Georgians,” he said, discussing the manifestations of this policy. “In Javakheti there is no alternative to using the Georgian language, which is imposed at all levels of social life. The Javakheti Armenians are refused the right to establish an Armenian language based university.”
The Georgian authorities are clamping down on the Armenians of Javakhk because they are afraid of the discontent they have sown in the population through their anti-Armenian policies, Chakhalyan explained, adding that the Tbilisi is trying to agitate its Armenian minority to extremism.
“The arrests of Ahaltsikha Armenian activists Grigor Minasyan, and Sargis Hakobjanyan are also the result of this fear,” he said. “This is a new provocation, which aims to impel the Javakheti Armenians to extremist actions and by this to discredit the peaceful struggle of Javakheti Armenians for their language, educational and religious rights.”
“The Georgian authorities will not be able to solve any problems by means of judicial proceedings and repressions, Chakhalyan said after reading off a list of requests, asking Tbilisi to drop its campaign to artificially alter the demographic makup of the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka regions.
In his remarks, Chakhalyan asked the authorities to address a series of linguistic, educational, socio-economic, and cultural problems Georgia's Armenian minority currently faces. He said that a failure to properly address these serious issues will only “intensify the discontent” because “the Javakheti Armenians will continue the struggle for their rights.”
A first step, according to Chakhalyan, would be fore the Georgian authorities to register the Armenian Apostolic Church and return to the community the churches confiscated during and after the soviet era; to legally authorize the use of the Armenian language in the work of the local self-administration bodies in the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka regions; to allow the Armenians to establish an Armenian university in Akhalkalaki.
Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:04 PM
By Olesya Vartanian
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Feb 5 2009
Some Yerevan politicians say arrest of Armenian activists on espionage
charges is attempt to intimidate the minority.
Politicians in Armenia have been angered by the arrest in Georgia late
last month of two ethnic Armenians charged with spying for Russia's
The two Armenians - Grigor Minasian and Sargis Hakobjanian - are
campaigners in the Armenian community in the southern region of
Samtskhe-Javakheti, where Armenians form a majority of the population.
They were arrested on January 21, but little publicity has been given
to the case.
Georgian newspapers have barely mentioned the affair, and a
high-ranking official at the interior minister said officials were
deliberately not releasing a lot of material so as not to "make a
lot of noise about this, as it is an isolated case of Russian spies
trying to work in Samtskhe-Javakheti".
Some Armenian politicians, however, have been furious and said the
arrests were an attempt to intimidate their ethnic kin in Georgia.
Georgia's state minister for re-integration Temur Lakobashvili said
Russia had intensified espionage activities in the country since the
August war over South Ossetia.
"We have information that the Russians tried to hide their activities
within non-governmental organisations. We are talking about dozens of
millions of dollars," said Lakobashvili, refusing to elaborate further.
Georgia has previously accused Russia of espionage, and the two
countries fell out spectacularly in 2006 when police arrested four
Russian officers. Russia effectively blockaded Georgia as a result,
even after Georgia released and deported the men.
The lawyer for the two arrested ethnic Armenians, Nino Andriashvili,
said they were accused of cooperating with a Belarus-based organisation
allegedly set up by Russia's Federal Security Service, FSB, called
the Association for Legal Assistance to the Population, ALAP.
Andriashvili said the two men had admitted being involved in espionage,
but denied a secondary charge of planning to create a private army. She
said the investigators had a video of the two men discussing the
creation of such an army with the local head of ALAP, but that they
had not thought he was being serious.
"Minasian and Hakobjanian came to see him in his office, and they
were having a drink. And this person started to say things like
'we are really cool, we will make a good army, we will train up some
lads'. And they started to agree with him," she said.
She said the un-named man from ALAP suggested funding three projects,
including a sports hall for around 100,000 US dollars.
But some ethnic Armenians do not believe the government's story of
Russian-funded treachery, saying this is an attempt to intimidate
the community whose region hosted a Russian military base until 2006.
"How many more political prisoners, uninvestigated cases and murders
does this society need? God alone knows who wanted this. It is
possible that more arrests could follow this," said one man from
Samtskhe-Javakheti who knew Minasian, but who asked not to be named.
"There won't be an uprising or bloodshed, but there will definitely
be protests about this."
And the local Armenians could count on support from some public
figures in neighbouring Armenia, if they did take to the streets.
Shirak Torosian, who represents the Republican Party in the Armenian
parliament, said the Georgian government needed to be told this was
"Now pressure from public opinion is crucial, to makethe Georgian
authorities think more carefully. Otherwise, this incident could have
dangerous consequences for the region," said Torosian.
"This arrow could turn into a boomerang."
Both of the arrested men promoted the rights of the Armenian
community. Minasian, 33, headed a youth organisation and Hakobjanian,
50, campaigned on cultural issues.
Minasian's organisation also worked with the Union of Armenian
Assistance, which has links to Dashnaktsutyun (the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation), a controversial nationalist party and
member of Armenia's ruling coalition.
Kiro Manoian, the head of the Dashnaktsutyun office of political
affairs, said the arrests were an attempt to cow Armenians.
"The story with the arrest came at a very convenient moment to secure
the attention of society and shut the mouths of Armenians," he said.
"Georgian society is already bored of hearing about problems with
Russia. Of course Armenia and the population of [Samtskhe-Javakheti]
became a convenient target to distract attention from the country's
ALAP seems to be based in Minsk, and its website says the organisation
is dedicating to promoting "peace, education and civil society
development", but has no information on the source of its funding.
Local NGOs said the organisation appeared in Samtskhe-Javakheti several
months ago. In December last year, a representative gave questionnaires
to representatives of NGOs in the region. They received between
300-800 dollars if they filled them in - a lot of money in the region.
Minasian and Hakobjanian's completed questionnaires were presented
as proof of their alleged espionage, although their lawyer said none
of the information they provided was a state secret.
IWPR saw one of the questionnaires and it included 20 questions related
to the region, some of which were potentially sensitive. One question
concerned the resettlement of Meskhetian Turks - a people deported
in Stalin's time who have been agitating to come home ever since -
while another addressed security around a pipeline being built.
Other NGOs in the region also filled in the forms, though they realised
the questions were unusual.
"We all joked that this organisation reminded us of the FSB. And we
were very surprised when we found out that they intended to spend
so much money," said the head of one NGO in Samtskhe-Javakheti,
who asked to remain anonymous out of concerns that the criminal case
might expand to take in other public figures.
"We were told that the possible projects were unlimited, and the
money also. I have worked for many years in the non-governmental
sector. When has there ever been money like that?"
The ALAP office in central Tbilisi closed a month ago. The telephones
were disconnected, and they have not replied to emails.
Posted 11 February 2009 - 05:21 PM
GEORGIA THREATENS JAVAKHK
Day-to-day increasing arrests cannot have other implication
When the authorities try to overcome their fear by means of force or spreading fear and terror among people, the situation is really unusual.
And if this kind of version is used by the Georgian authorities in Javakhk that is mainly inhabited by Armenians, not only the Armenians but also the Armenian authorities should be concerned about it.
Anyway, what happens in Javakhk continually; the continuous arrests, searches and suspension of activities of different NGOs, we cannot call in other way than attempts to threaten the Armenians of Javakhk.
Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs continues the arrests of Armenians in Javakhk. According to Bagin news agency website, an Armenian by name Gisho was arrested in Akhaltskha on February 7. Georgian Special Forces searched the house of the arrested Armenian, and though they didn’t find any illegal thing in the house, they arrested and moved him to Tbilisi.
The citizens of Akhaltskha connect the above-mentioned arrest with the imprisonment of the Director of Akhaltskha Youth Center Grigor Minasian and Chairman of Charles Aznavour Charitable Foundation Sergey Hakobjanian. At present, they are in isolation cell in Tbilisi; they are charged with espionage and forming of armed groups.
According to the website, the Armenians of Akhaltskha understand that the Georgian forces try to show that the new arrests took place as a result of Minasian and Hakobjanian’s questioning. They aim at discrediting the Armenian public figures arrested on January 22.
To recall, the court procedures of the members of United Javakhk Democratic Alliance Vahagn Chakhalian and his family are still at illegal suspension period.
Posted 12 February 2009 - 10:03 AM
Tbilisi centers out Armenians for the defeat of August 2008
Armenia’s constant fear to strain relations with Georgia finally led into a state in which Tbilisi treats the Armenian monuments and her citizens of Armenian origin the way she likes, being absolutely certain that Yerevan will not interfere.
Losing the war against South Ossetia and driving the country into a political crisis, the President of Georgia made up his mind to regain his lost positions, which he naturally does in an old and tested method – by oppressing the Armenian population in Georgia. In a wider sense, there is nothing new going on in Georgia; Armenians have always been an unwelcome nation in this country and the Georgians follow the example of Turkey and Azerbaijan in this matter.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Even the conduct is identical: first they speak of «appropriation of others’ history», then come to false accusations of spying, and, as a consequence, deportation. Though, it should be admitted that Saakashvili is not potent enough to execute his plans even with the support of «brotherly» Azerbaijan. And if we also take into account Turkey’s present evasion from any abrupt step towards Armenia, it can be concluded that all the attempts of Saakashvili to play the Armenian card in his favour are destined to collapse. In contrast to Ilham Aliyev, the Georgian President has already displayed all his inability and adventurism in governing a country.
After the scandal over the Church of Norashen, the Georgian authorities decided to switch to Javakhk, where Armenians are still an ethnic majority. With the intention to alter the demographic situation in the region, there started arrests in Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe of Armenian activists accused of spying in favour of Russia. Nothing new – in the same way the Young Turks were trying to justify the Armenian Genocide. Yet, the story repeats itself in two dimensions: once in the form of a tragedy, the other time in the form of farce. In Georgia, as usual, we have to deal with farce, which, by the way, is planned and performed too poorly.
Most recently came the news on selling famous Armenian writer Hovhannes Toumanian’s residence in Tbilisi. Theoretically, such a move had been expected for rather long: first, Armenians were deprived of the House-Museum of Sergey Parajanov, and now - of «Vernatun». But the saddest point in all this story is that for the most part of such events the Armenian Government has its share of fault. Armenia’s constant fear to strain relations with Georgia finally led into a state in which Tbilisi treats the Armenian monuments and her citizens of Armenian origin the way she likes, being absolutely certain that Official Yerevan will not interfere. Instead of appealing to the public, though even that is not done, the Armenian authorities had better care for alternative ways of gas supply into Armenia, at least through Iran.
But Armenia’s reaction stays within the frames of public discussions and individual statements. It is rather strange that we should not yet have heard the clear viewpoint of the RA Diaspora Ministry, which logically must be engaged in protection of our fellow citizens. However, this department too contents itself with mere statements.
Meanwhile, according to ex-coordinator of www.bagin.info and current representative of the political wing of the Alliance “KHETAN” Aram Arghutyan, the Georgian authorities are presently inciting Armenians to relevant actions, probably not realizing the severe consequences it might have. “Latest events obviously revealed that Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not teach Tbilisi a lesson; probably, three is a charm, and another conflict is necessary to finally show Georgia its place in history. Still back in the 19th century Catholicos of All Armenians Mkrtich I Vanetsi (Khrimyan Hayrik) presented to people the study on “paper and iron scoops” and explained which of them is more promising and effective. Armenians employed this lesson successfully in Karabakh by bringing the armed riot to independence. Today Georgia has lost connection with reality and it attempts to leave the pit of devastating defeat and humiliation, splashing out the stored poison to “unprotected” Armenians in the region of Samtskhe-Javakhk-Tsalka. Tbilisi selected the way of state terror, directed against her own citizens, not realizing, that in that case the opposite side has the right of relevant response too,” Arghutyan believes.
He also noted that Tbilisi brought very symbolic and framed-up charges against the arrested Armenian figures - espionage and arrangement of armed groups. “And this is only the prelude, while the epilogue will approximately be of the following type: more Armenians will be detained, “forfeited” storages of weapon and ammunition will be shown on the Georgian television and it will be announced to the whole world that the local Armenians spied in favor of Russia, the “eternal friend” of Georgia, and attempted to destabilize the situation. That is, Georgian authorities have undertaken an attempt to in that way deafen the struggle of local Armenians directed to the protection of their rights, by interpreting it as an order of a third side. Among a number of questions concerning “big business” with Armenia, Georgia marked out another important problem for herself. Recently a series of organizations, groups and individuals have livened up in Yerevan, who offer their support for the favorable solution of “Armenian question” in Georgia. The hand of Tbilisi is not long enough to reach out to Yerevan so that it could silence this sector; therefore it is necessary for Georgia to make Armenian authorities arrange it. Earlier in a number of cases Tbilisi successfully used this method, solving its problems by the hands of the authorities of Armenia,” said Aram Arghutyan. In essence, there is nothing else to add...
Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:13 PM
GEORGIA: ESPIONAGE ARRESTS OF ETHNIC ARMENIANS STOKE SUSPICION OF RUSSIA
Molly Corso and Gayane Abrahamyan 2/12/09
Georgia’s arrest of two ethnic Armenians on espionage charges is threatening to increase tensions in the country’s predominately ethnic Armenian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Although aspects of the case remain unclear -- including an alleged confession -- the arrests have triggered public outrage in neighboring Armenia. Meanwhile in Georgia, many suspect that Russia is somehow involved.
On January 22, police arrested Grigol Minasian, the 29-year-old director of a youth center in the town of Akhaltsikhe, and Sarkis Hakopjanian, the head of a local charity organization, on charges of espionage and of creating an "illegally armed group." The pair’s lawyer, Nino Andriashvili, told EurasiaNet that the two men pled guilty to "part" of the charges during their January 24 arraignment.
"In part, they admitted that they are spies, but they did not admit that they were preparing to form a [militia group]," Andriashvili said, adding that the two men told her they were under "pressure" when they made their admissions of guilt.
A senior official from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, however, denies that either man has confessed to espionage. "No [confessions]. Nothing has happened yet," said administration head Shota Khizanishvili,
The ministry has not named the country in whose favor the pair was allegedly spying. Local conjecture supposes that it is Russia, but no evidence has been presented to substantiate that claim.
According to Andriashvili, the government’s case against Minasian and Hakopjanian focuses on a questionnaire the two men were allegedly paid to fill out by a Belarus-based non-governmental organization. Little is known about the organization, called the Association for Legal Assistance to the Population (ALAP). Its website is not functioning and there is no listing for an office in Georgia.
An online directory of Belarusian civil rights organizations identifies ALAP as active in human rights issues, and the recipient of a 1999 award from the New York-based International League for Human Rights. The American organization did not respond to EurasiaNet’s requests for comment. The ALAP, which at the time was headed by Oleg Volchek, a former state prosecutor-turned-reformer, opened a human rights protection center in 2001 in Minsk. In its 2004 report on human rights conditions in Belarus, the US State Department noted that Volchek suffered a severe beating in September of 2003 at the hands of an unidentified assailant. The attack came just a few weeks after a Belarussian court "shut down" the association. The circumstances surrounding the association’s subsequent revival remain murky.
The Georgian Interior Ministry’s Khizanishvili would not comment on claims that the government’s investigation focuses on the ALAP, adding that he did not know anything about the group.
The ALAP questionnaire zeroed in on natural gas supply questions -- an increasingly sensitive topic in the South Caucasus -- and general questions about Georgia that could be answered "from newspapers," or from other publicly available information, lawyer Andriashvili said.
Andriashvili said that the government is using a videotape that shows an inebriated Minasian and Hakopjanian discussing the formation of a militia group with an unidentified man from the ALAP. The video, the government contends, substantiates its claim that the two men were attempting to sow unrest in Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Andriashvili stressed that while the two men admit to being on the tape, they claim that they were "just playing." The two, however, had misgivings about the ALAP, she claimed, and suspected that it had some kind of connection to Russia’s Federal Security Service.
In Akhaltsikhe, people close to Minasian, who was prominent in the town’s ethnic Armenian community, describe themselves as flabbergasted by his arrest and the charges. By contrast, the arrest of the lesser-known Hakopjanian sparked few comments.
"We are in a vacuum here. We don’t know anything," said Veronika Hambarian, an Armenian-language teacher at Minasian’s youth center.
Hambarian recounted that police took the hard drive from the center’s computer and all Armenian language material, including her language lessons and fairy tales. They did not take Russian or Georgian language books and materials, she said.
Parliamentarian Tamaz Petriashvili, who represents Akhaltsikhe in Georgia’s National Assembly, as well as an acquaintance of Minasian, described the arrests as a "surprise."
As did some ethnic Armenians in Akhaltsikhe, Petriashvili suspected that "some people" -- a veiled reference to Russia -- want to create conflict in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Certain groups in the region "are financed as if from Yerevan, but that is not from Yerevan," he said. "We all know that very well."
Within Armenia, the arrests have set off a wave of public criticism. Rather than espionage, many people see the case as an example of an alleged Georgian campaign to push ethnic Armenians out of Samtskhe-Javakheti, a region that many Armenians see as historically part of Armenia.
"We Armenians have always tried to have good relations with Georgia, but the only thing working in Georgia today is anti-Russian sentiment, and Armenians, Russia’s partners in that context, are seen as Georgians’ enemies," commented Yerevan-based political analyst Levon Shirinian. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
A representative of the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that the government in Yerevan was monitoring the situation concerning Minasian and Hakopjanian’s arrest. "We watch the developments and are in a continuous daily contact on various levels" with the Georgian government, commented spokesperson Tigran Balaian.
Some politicians and interest groups, however, charge that the Armenian government has responded passively to the two men’s arrest. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (ARF), a member of Armenia’s governing parliamentary coalition, insists that the region deserves to have some form of autonomy. The ARF regularly raises the issue of ethnic Armenian rights in Georgia during parliamentary debate in Yerevan.
"The Georgians simply need to understand that if Javakhk [the Armenian name for Samtskshe-Javakheti] or any other Armenian-populated region loses its Armenian population, it does not mean it will be inhabited by Georgians," commented ARF parliamentarian Vahan Hovhannisian, a former presidential candidate and deputy chairman of parliament. "Any vacuum in the Caucasus is immediately filled with Turks."
The issue of education is frequently raised as well in conjunction with coverage of the Minasian-Hakopjanian arrests. Many ethnic Armenians in the region have limited knowledge of Georgian and, hence, are unable to study in Georgian universities.
Name differences divide the two countries as well on the Minasian-Hakopjanian case. While the Georgian government states Minasian’s first name as "Grigol," Armenian media use the Armenian version of the name, "Grigor."
But while Samtskhe-Javakheti is known for its strong Armenian ties, such cultural influences appear slight in Akhaltsikhe, where store signboards are all in Georgian. Georgian town residents interviewed had little or no knowledge of the arrests.
According to Eduard Ayvazian, a computer instructor at Minasian’s center, prior to the arrests, no real tension existed between the town’s Georgian and Armenian communities.
"There is discrimination here, but not strong discrimination," Ayvazian said. "The authorities are afraid that a conflict can start here. But I believe they are moving in the wrong direction with these types of arrests."
As a result of the arrests, many ethnic Armenians in Akhaltsikhe now "are actually thinking about how to leave here," Ayvazian continued. "We are all afraid. No one needs problems."
Posted 19 December 2015 - 11:12 AM
HOW GEORGIAN CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT TO HATE ARMENIANS
Russian-Armenian News Agency, Russia
Dec 17 2015
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The Armenian populated town of Akhalkalaki hosted the Georgian MPs. At
the meeting held with the representatives of the Armenian NGOs, the
issues of Georgian language teaching and integration of the Armenian
population into the Georgian mainstream society were discussed,
The statements of anti-Armenian character found in the Georgian school
textbooks were also raised during the meeting. At the request of MPs
to show specific examples of such statements, the representatives
of non-governmental organizations pointed to the Georgian history
textbook for the 11th class, containing the quotes of Georgian writer
Ilia Chavchavadze: "Today Armenian newcomers rob us and our houses
more and more. In the old days, we were defending ourselves from the
enemy at least with a sword and shield, and how should we deal with
Armenians, with whom we are not at war? My mokhevsky-speaking people,
do I understand what is oppressing you? ... ".
The non-governmental organizations' representatives believe that this
passage describes the general mood in Georgia, creating a negative
attitude towards Armenians among Georgian adults.
Note: The Armenian community of Georgia has repeatedly and publicly
reported error or deliberate distortions, which exist in the Georgian
textbooks, however, still the Ministry of Education hasn't responded
to the Armenians of Georgia.
Posted 14 October 2017 - 10:31 AM
By Carnie Armenian on October 13, 2017
It was just two years ago that I realized how harsh the realities of Javakhk-Armenians are. And also for diasporans who visit, and Armenian citizens who attempt to cross the border into our rightful lands. Ultimately, the situation is most unjust for those who still live on our historic lands of Javakhk. Georgia, a critical neighbor bordering Armenia, is financially and politically fueled by Turkey and Azerbaijan; therefore, discrimination toward Armenians continues to this day.
Unemployment is rampant; gas, power, and water supplies are not commonly allocated to Armenian-populated regions; road are in disrepair; educational materials and Armenian schools have been destroyed; medical care is not properly provided; and mistrust on the part of government authorities is routine. But, despite all those challenges, the people of Javakhk continue to proudly preserve the spirit of the Armenian people and live on our rightful lands.
Javakhk is the only historically Armenian land, part of Historic Armenia, still predominantly inhabited by Armenians yet governed by foreign rule. It is now an Armenian region in the southern part of the Republic of Georgia. Continually populated by Armenians, it endured many invasions for hundreds of years—Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols, Ottomans, Russians, Persians—but always remained Armenian, with periods of self-rule.
During the Armenian Genocide, Armenian refugees from Ardahan, Erzurum, and Basen sought refuge in the districts of Akhaltskha and Akhalkalak, creating over 50 new villages. When the Republic of Armenia was founded in 1918, a war was fought with Georgia that resulted in Armenians taking control over Lori while the Georgians gained Javakhk. Under Soviet rule, Armenians petitioned to secede and join Armenia, but they were ignored by the Soviet authorities. To this day, an estimated 200,000 Armenians live in Javakhk.
For the last three summers, I had the opportunity to help organize and participate in Camp Javakhk—a program organized by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) and Armenian youth of the Eastern Region of the U.S. I have also had the pleasure to serve as an active member of the ARS Javakhk Fund. Over the last six years, we have hosted day camps for local Armenian youth in five towns, serving over 500 children each summer.
Every summer, Armenian-American youth travel to Javakhk with the objective of teaching Armenian culture, dance, songs, English, basic health, arts and crafts, and so much more. As we share our education with the youth of Javakhk, we have created lifelong friendships with the local youth and community leaders. With our new friends, we have hiked through the beautiful landscapes and lit candles in our weathered churches.
And through this opportunity we have witnessed first-hand the dangers and difficulties the local Armenians experience on a daily basis.
One of our many excursions included the quaint and quiet town of Gumburdo (Kumurdo in Georgian), with a population of about 2,000 descendants of Western Armenian refugees, most of whom hailed from Erzerum. A town always so friendly, where our new friends would call each lady we passed on the road horkur (paternal aunt), that it truly felt as if were among our extended family; each person was ready to help with directions and join our adventure.
There, we came across a church called Surb Hambardzum (Holy Ascension), believed to be both Armenian and Greek (Chalcedonian), founded by Bishop Hovhanness in 946. With no doors, ceiling, or scriptures maintained, what is left of the church is fully open to the elements, yet still frequented by the local community as it continues to stand proudly in the heart of the town. Upon walking around the church and imagining its original beauty, we noticed boxes of bones tucked to the side. The locals informed us that a few years ago Georgian authorities displaced the bodies of Armenian priests from the church’s soil in order to make room for new construction. To this day, the property remains empty, with no promise of construction in sight, leaving the bones of our ancestors out in the open, as if to taunt us.
“Upon walking around the church and imagining its original beauty, we noticed boxes of bones tucked to the side.” (Photo: Carnie Armenian)
The displacement of our ancestor’s bones was not the first nor the last of the unexplained and unjust discriminatory actions against Armenians carried out by Georgian authorities.
On Sept. 30, Armenians attempted to place a khachkar (cross-stone) next to Surb Hambardzum church, but were unexpectedly stopped by the Georgian police, who claimed the residents did not have permission to place a khachkar on their own property. As the community moved forward with their attempt, the Armenians of Gumburdo were beaten by Georgian police and stoned, resulting in multiple injuries. Although the co-chair of the unregistered Georgian Virk Party had discussed an agreement with Georgian authorities regarding placing the monument, Georgian authorities claimed formal authorization was not given.
(Video of the incident is available below. Warning: video contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.)
Earlier this month, certainly under much pressure, the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church affirmed that it had no aspirations toward the temple and that it considers it to be Georgian. A joint statement with the Georgian Patriarchy and Georgian authorities was then made, affirming readiness to “discuss the issues” and “make decisions with mutual consent,” while condemning violence.
Gumburdo is one of the many beautiful Armenian villages on our territory of Javakhk that is treated unjustly. And this is just one of many stories of its kind.
It is no secret that Armenians living in Javakhk are in an uphill battle to sustain their culture and to continue to inhabit our ancestral lands. Despite the difficulties imposed on them, the fight of the Armenians of Javakhk is just, and we cannot allow it to be waged alone.
I hope for a day when those harsh actions are properly addressed by the local authorities, and Armenians are able to live in unity and peace on their historic land—a day when we are free of others’ hatred and our own fear.
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