ARF Urges Parliamentary Visit to Krasnodar Region

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary faction member and the vice-chairman of the commission on foreign affarirs Armen Rustamian urged his legislative colleagues Tuesday to dispoatch a fact-finding delegation to the Krasnodar region of Russia–the scene of recent racial tensions and anti-Armenina attacks and provocations.

"The ARF faction suggests the formation of a delegation–which preferable with a Duma delegation–will visit Krasnodar to acquaint themselves with the situation in the region in order to come up with solutions and prevent any unwanted developmen’s," said Rustamian in a speech at parliament.

Rustamian added that the ARF has already addressed these concerns with the Russian ambassador to Armenia–who has pledged to take measures regarding the matter.

Ethnic tensions in Krasnodar escalated when local authorities approved a law whereby all non-residents of Krasnodar–mainly Armenia’s–Kurds and Gypsies–would be expelled from the region.

This followed an announcement last week by the region’s governor to immediately carry out the procisions of the law by expelling and deporting Kurds from the region.

"We deem illegal all persons whose last names end in yan–shvili and oghli–and we need to establish the legal status of those whose last names end with ov or in," Krasnodar governor Aleksander Tkatchov wrote in a recent article.

Leader of the Krasnodar Armenian community and the first vice-president of the Krasnodar chapter of the Russian-Armenian Organization Razmik Gevorgyan told Radio Free Europe that Tkatchov has been urging people to "let’s clean up–let’s deport and let’s cleanse the area of ethnics." This effort is being supported by neo-Nazi groups in the area.

The region’s predominantly Russian press has actively supported the governor’s racist campaign.

The Armenian community–which numbers around 500,000 in that region alone–faces the same discrimination from the authorities. Since the active enactment of the law–families have been assisted by the Armenian community to return to Armenia–while other Armenian individuals have been either beaten up or threatened with expulsion after being fined.

Gevorkyan reported that random house-to-house raids have become commonplace–where authorities illegally conduct search and seizure operations and enter people’s homes unannounced demanding an explanation of their status.

Rustamian added that the parliamentary commission of foreign affairs has already expressed its concerns to the relevant bodies within the Russian Duma–which is scheduled to address the issue in its session.

The parliamentary leader said in order to resolve such conflicts a bi-lateral treaty between the two countries would play an imperative legal role.He cited three such agreemen’s that resolve the matter within the legal framework. Among the agreemen’s referenced by Rustamian were two measures that deal with Armenian settlement in Russia and Russian settlement in Armenia.

Rustamian was joined by Aghvan Vartanian and Edward Ghazarian–his colleagues on the ARF Executive Council of Armenia–at a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Dryukov Friday.

The Executive Council member expressed their and the ARF’s concerns regarding the current ethnic unrest in Krasnodar and suggested ways to resolve the conflict.

They also outlined the ARF’s position on various domestic socio-political and economic issues–as well as the current status of Karabakh peace talks.

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