“Javakhk Problems Are Not Only Socio Economic”

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The relations between Russia and Georgia have always influenced the population of Javakhk–and the main reason is because the Russian military base is in Akhalkalaki–said the Chairman of the Javakhk Compatriotic Union Hovhannes Ayvazian in an interview with a Noyan Tapan correspondent.

According to him–the latest exacerbation of the Russian-Georgian relations because of the events in the Pankis gorge are not an exception either. However–Ayvazian stressed–people in Javakhk have always soberly assessed these political momen’s: "People themselves will not do anything to their own detriment."

Hovhannes Ayvazian thinks that the attitude of the Armenian population towards Georgian authorities has always been and is normal and tolerant–especially considering the heavy socio-economic conditions typical for the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. In his opinion–it is wrong to shift the problems existing in the region onto the social-economic plane. The main problem is the population’s security whose guarantee for the Javakhk folk is the Russian military basis in Akhalkalaki.

"Due to the work of the military base–about 2,000 families ensure normal living conditions for themselves. But this is not the main thing–which is that the Armenian population of Javakhk does not entrust its security to Georgian authorities–which carry out their own national policy in the region," Ayvazian said.

Thus–according to him–a pretense of democratic local elections is being created–but local government bodies have no instrumen’s of power. All levers are concentrated in the hands of the administration of the Georgian president’s representative. There are practically no Armenia’s in this administration. Each Georgian village delegates its representative to regional assemblies–attended by representatives of rural communities–while there is only one delegate from the group of Armenian villages united into one community. It turns out that in making decisions during regional assemblies about 30 percent of votes belong to representatives of Georgian communities–which constitute only 4-5 percent of the population.

The Armenian "Virk" party has been denied registration again. "Georgia is strengthening its state using such methods," said Ayvazian. He emphasized that all talks about the alleged separatism of Javakhk people come from Tbilisi and not from Javakhk.

The position of Armenian authorities is very important here. Ayvazian believes that Armenian authorities must regard the issue of Javakhk not only from the viewpoint of solving social problems of the local Armenian population–but first of all from the viewpoint of strategic interests: for example–to develop projects of regional importance on reconstructing roads connecting Armenia and Javakhk.

The Chairman of the Javakhk Compatriotic Union also expressed the opinion that in case of heightened tensions in Georgia–Armenia’s authorities must express their clear position on the issue of Javakhk Armenia’s and stressed that public and political organizations attending to the issue of Javakhk will try to render assistance in this matter.

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