By Edmond Y. Azadian
While Armenians are obsessed with Turkey’s ill intentions, next-door Christian Georgia is not any less of a danger to Armenia. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet empire, Georgia has been one of the most unstable republics, beset by unrest and shaken by coups and counter-coups from the Shevardnadze administration to Gamsakhurdia and today under Mikhael Saakashvili. But throughout that turmoil, all the Georgian leaders have treated Armenia and the Georgian- Armenian people with the same hostile policy.
Recently, when Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze was visiting Armenia, he was asked about the Javakhk situation and he had the nerve to respond that the name was not familiar to him. That is the region which is densely populated by Armenians and historically has always been part of Armenia. For the Georgian authorities, there is no Javakhk, therefore there is no Javakhk-Armenian problem, while repression mounts in the region and activists are jailed with trumped up charges. Vahakn Chakhalian, Georgian-Armenian political leader is rotting in jail with a 10-year sentence, while his French-Armenian lawyer is denied an entry visa to defend him.
The Armenian political group “Virk” has been denied recognition, therefore it operates “illegally” in Georgia to defend the trampled rights of the Armenians.
The Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II was planning to pay an official visit to Georgia in October, but the Patriarchate in Tbilisi asked him to postpone that visit to November, most probably because the Georgian authorities are not yet ready to discuss the thorny issue of the Armenian Church in Georgia.
The Armenian Church does not have official status in “democratic” Georgia, which is vying to become a NATO member. Recently the US ambassador in Tbilisi John Bass announced that Georgia’s chances of joining NATO are increasing.