Baku, Azerbaijan, April 3
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Tbilisi, still reeling from the illegal secession of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, runs the risk of facing another geographic "amputation." As the correspondent of Trend in Tbilisi was informed, Armenians of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Armenian-populated region of Georgia) are massively getting Russian passports.
Samtskhe-Javakheti residents are standing in a line in front of the Russian Consulate in Tbilisi (it operates under the auspices of the Embassy of Switzerland due to the lack of diplomatic relations with Georgia) in order to get Russian passports. Familiar situation, isn't it?
Prior to the illegal secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia, the residents of these regions also were massively provided with Russian passports. Today, this procedure is going on in the Crimea. But now we are not talking about Russia and its interests in the region. There has already been a lot written and said about this. Let's talk about a specific region of Georgia, the residents of which dream of seeing themselves anywhere but only not in Georgia. Nevertheless, Georgian Armenians do not conceal their desire.
Most recently, the so-called 'Russian Javahk Diaspora', headed by Agasi Arabyan whose entry to Georgia was banned, applied to Tbilisi asking it to grant Javakheti the status of cultural autonomy. As a citizen of the country affected by the Armenian aggression, I would like to warn Georgia, as autonomy for the region where Armenians live, is the first step towards a separatist future. Alas, there is the example of Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, some nations have a tendency to take advantage of a situation, such as Armenia, who fail to appreciate the attitude of countries that sheltered this 'long-suffering' people. They are like a guest who brings their hosts too much trouble and tries to settle permanently in the host's bedroom.
And there have been too many signals in recent years that Samtskhe-Javakheti region will present many unpleasant surprises.
In late March, a member of the RA National Assembly Shirak Torosian stated that if Georgia will become a NATO member and Turkish troops will be placed in its territory, a revolt would be inevitable in Samtskhe-Javakheti. And in his scenario, Javakheti will secede from Georgia and will ask to join Armenia, not Russia, it seems the Georgian Armenians have a tendency to lean towards a separatist future.
The "Pot" in Samtskhe-Javakheti boils for a long while, and it is on a low fire, but someone insistently throws wood on the fire all the time.
Over these years Armenians have raised the question of granting the status to the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, as well as returning the running of six churches to the Armenian Diocese, which the Armenian side calls their and Georgia sees as controversial.
The bothering "Armenian issue" on "historical motherland" in the territories of different states was raised sharply in Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Georgian Samtskhe-Javakheti region populated by Armenians on its bad luck, do not keep Yerevan and the Armenians living there, on the trot for twenty years.
And more and more accusations by the Armenian side that the Armenian population living in this region, is oppressed by the Georgian authorities, and hints at that it would be not bad to be maximum independent from the center. Ever-present Armenian diaspora has repeatedly accused Georgian authorities of all mortal sins against "long-suffering" Armenians living in the region of Georgia, which, according to the Armenians, in fact is not a Georgian territory, rather the contrary.
It is understandable, the presence of the territories inhabited by the Armenians, and even in close proximity to the borders of Armenia, does not allow Yerevan and all the representatives of the Armenians to sleep peacefully. And most importantly for Armenia now - to isolate Samtskhe-Javakheti maximally from Georgia and from the Georgian authorities in any way.
Alas, sadly, but there is a high risk of occurrence of problem for Georgia in the south of the country in the Armenian-populated region. Not only the Armenian diaspora, but also some foreign players will try in this regard, whom the destabilization of the situation in the country is beneficial.
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is a Trend commentator
Translated by L.Z., S.I.
Edited by C.N.