Slowly the topic of Javakh is emerging as a major human rights issue in the Caucasus. While the Georgian province is at least 55% Armenian, Armenians are dangerously underrepresented in government jobs and other official positions. There are also accusations that Georgia is also continuing a problematic policy of de-Armenianize Javakhk. Last week, news service A1+ reported that:
“30 Russian families will leave Gorelovka village, Ninotsminda region [of Javakh]…Though a number of Armenians living in Javakhk are willing to buy Russians’ houses, any property trade was banned with Armenians. According to the officials, Russian houses will be given to Georgian new-comers.” (source)
Now, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline–which passes through the Armenian-populated region of Javakhk–is increasingly becoming a major point of friction. To ensure that Armenia is marginalized in the region, Turkey is even building a new railway between Kars and the Javakhk, disregarding that fact that one that passes through Armenia already exists to connect the Turkish and Georgian areas–to their credit, the EU and the USA has refused to fund the Turkish rail link.
Javakhk Armenians are starting to demand equal rights from Georgia (interesting commentary from Cilicia.com). Check out this interview with an Armenian Presidential advisor on the topic here–he points out, “Armenians account for 55-60 per cent of the population of this region, but they hardly account for 1 per cent of the district governor’s staff.”.
When Karabakh war veteran Jirayr Sefilyan tells A1+ that:
Another case of treason is already taking place in Javakhk. Under the regional communication program, Georgia has basically surrendered the territory of Javakhk to Turkey and the Turks. (source)
We should start asking what is really happening and if the region is a tinderbox waiting to explode.
Check out these great photos of Javakh from the British Alumni Association of Armenia website (photos). Or this odd site with maps, video & audio that promises to reveal the “Secrets of Javakhk” (link).
In other strange news, Noyan Tapan Armenian news agency (via Groong) reported two days ago, in their usual strained English, that, “Representatives of the ‘Azatagrum’ (Liberation) patriotic charity public organization functioning in Armenia met on April 14 with citizens of Javakhk participated in the Artsakh liberation struggle. According to A-Info, during the meeting the organization co-chairmen awarded ‘Azatagrum-Artsiv’ (Liberation-Eagle) gold medals to 12 citizens of Javakhk participated in the Artsakh liberation struggle.” (source)
The photo listed above was sent via the A-Info New Agency to various emails this week without a caption.