Armenian provocateurs more active in Javakheti after 44-day war
    Zaal Kasrelishvili for Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  27 March 2023 - 10:32

    Vadim Mansurov

    The recent anti-Azerbaijani provocations in Georgia's Samtskhe-Javakheti region raise many questions, both about the aims of the organizers and how they reacted to the egregious, in our view, incidents in Tbilisi itself.

    To recap, members of the youth unions Zori Zoryan and Javakhk in Akhalkalaki recently marched in support of the Karabakh Armenians, and also sent a letter to the Georgian parliament's majority member, Samvel Manukyan, with the message "Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan!"

    Samtskhe-Javakheti has been storming for a long time – some separatist unrest of the local Armenian population takes place almost every year in this historic Georgian region. It is no wonder, however, that with such a purely Armenian population, poisonous claims and appeals are proliferating. Under the guise of national Armenian public organisations, forces are being created and nurtured, ready for subversive activities both in Georgia and abroad.

    How do Georgian politicians and the general public view this troubled area and the anti-Azerbaijani antics of its Armenian residents? Isn't it clear that Armenian instigators are escalating the situation in order to destabilize Baku-Tbilisi relations?

    In an interview with Caliber.Az, Georgian political scientist, and chairman of the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus Zaal Kasrelishvili, there is a dry fact of provocation of Armenians in Samtskhe-Javakheti, and there are reasons for this. When the Soviet Union was formed, it was intended, among other autonomies, to establish an independent territory in the south of Georgia. However, this endeavour was never completed.

    "In general, there have never been any documents or other evidence of Armenians' indigenous rights to this land. Because it is certain that Armenians were settled in Georgia and the Caucasus in general between 1839 and 1840. The Russian Empire at the time established about a million Armenians in Yerevan and 200,000 in Georgia. They have not received autonomy from us, but the mood for it appears to be alive," Kasrelishvili said.

    Therefore, the Russian hand is also visible in many Armenian provocations, according to the expert. A hand that skillfully manipulates separatist sentiments. It is enough to recall the conflict that the special services inflated in the early 1990s between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Kvemo Kartli on Georgia's territory. But, thank God, thanks to the wisdom of the Azerbaijani and Georgian elders, the situation was brought under control and all contradictions were settled using people's diplomacy.

    Armenian separatism, according to Kasrelishvili, repeatedly tested the integrity of Georgia and its relations with other countries. And Javakheti has always been a kind of trump card in the hands of the special services, which they threw into their provocations as needed. There is no need to look far: the Javakhk organisation itself, pursuing separatist plans, was created in Russia, and both its former and current leaders live in Moscow.

    "Thank God that the intellectual and political potential of the leadership of these Armenian movements from Javakheti, I would say, is below average. And it was almost inevitable that after the 44-day war, Armenian provocateurs in the region became active again. So each fact has its own reason and history.

    Georgians have been through a lot, and the Armenians' demands for the autonomy of Javakheti are certainly not new to us. In Georgia, every citizen, all political forces and organisations have the right to vote, but this should not harm the state, or violate the rights of any nationalities living on the territory of Georgia. The main thing is that it should not harm the country's foreign policy, its relations with its neighbours," the Georgian politician stressed.

    In his opinion, if the Armenians of Jvakheti could create some kind of effective union, an organisation with the intention of somehow weakening the Georgian government, they would have done it long ago. Maybe they want to, but they can't. "That's why the statements of the Akhalkalaki Armenians are so aggressive and destructive. Let me remind you that a few years ago when a certain 'warrior' of Armenian origin died in Azerbaijan's Karabakh, the Armenian ambassador to Georgia took part in his funeral. Then our political organisation and the entire Georgian public came out with a strong condemnation of such an openly nationalist action. Javakheti's population was then addressed with a statement stating that Armenians have the right to bury their fellow countrymen according to their traditions and customs, but it is not necessary to make a political show out of it and encourage ideology that damages the authority of Georgia and the Georgian people," the politician said.

    The current provocation of the Armenians is quite obvious, according to Kasreleshvili. And Georgia, of course, perfectly understood its essence.

    "The provocation, I must say, is very old-fashioned in its approach and level of organisation. In Georgia, where everything has already been tried, Javakheti is one of the last places that can be used as a hotbed for inflating separatist sentiments. Here everything is visible as in the palm of your hand. Armenians have always, at all stages of Georgia's history, been looking for an external power – a suzerain to whom they can sell their capabilities. And here's another attempt. Georgia could have put an end to all this separatist mood in Javakheti a long time ago, but Georgians are patient people. However, I want to assure you that very soon, at the highest international level, the issue of Georgia's integrity will be resolved once and for all, and the forces from outside inciting separatism in our country will also be finished. Then Javakheti, without the support of this centre of power, will quickly turn into the country's peaceful and calm region," Zaal Kasrelishvili confidently summed up.


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