The Armenian community in Tbilisi: conclusion
As a completion of the research conducted by “Noravank” Foundation in the Armenian community in Tbilisi we present our conclusions and suggestions, which will give our research an applied character.
Republic of Armenia should have clear cut position to preserve the Armenian community in Tbilisi and organize repatriation, especially taking into consideration the tendencies of Javakhk problem to become more complicated1. The mentioned position should stream from the common conception of national security.
If from the strategic standpoint that community has its role for RA, it is very important to work out approaches for preserving and later on developing the community. Today only the issue of preserving the community may be regulated. It is not time to speak about the community’s development in the near future as it is on the verge of decomposition. There is also perceptible limitation of inner resources and it is not only the point of financial but also intellectual and ideological capacity.
If it is not worked out a clear cut policy for preserving the community, then a part of out compatriots will change their Armenian identity and the other part will just immigrate, by the way, not to Armenia.
Perhaps at the present stage it is possible to carry out some measures for preserving the community from the one hand, and from the other hand to think about organizing gradual repatriation, for that process to be possibly harmless both for RA and the Armenian community in Tbilisi.
For carrying out any measures in the Armenian community in Tbilisi one should first of all take into consideration certain peculiarities, some of which are objective.
- The Armenians living in Tbilisi don’t consider themselves to be a community. They are still under the impression of memories that they live in their own home, they are the owners of this town and it was established by the Armenian capital and by participation of Armenian workers, this feeling is also the reason why the Armenian element in Georgian midst is considered to be a primary (not the most primary) obstacle on the way of establishing final Georgian superiority in the capital of Georgia.
- The Armenians living in Tbilisi have the problem of the ones living in Javakhk. This is a very serious factor and influences on the behavior of the Armenians there. They see themselves in the status of hostage which makes a moral-psychological barrier between the Armenians of Tbilisi and Javakhk. Giving deliberate negative color to Javakhk’s problem in the Georgian internal political propagandistic field furthers the formation of critical attitude in the circle of the Armenians in Tbilisi to the Armenians in Javakhk.
- The life of the Armenian community in Tbilisi is organizes spontaneously and is not leaded by any center. The absence of unity within the community is an important problem which, according to the ones inquired by us, has different reasons: individual ambitions of the active part of the community, the absence of self-preserving mechanism (immunity) peculiar to community life, emigration of Armenian intellectual and financial potential since the independence, absence of a leader acceptable for all the parties, even purposeful policy implemented by Georgian special services.
- In the circle of oligarchs shaped during the years of independence in Georgia there is no Armenian by nationality: even if there is one, then it is not known among the local Armenians (even by the active part). That’s to say, in comparison with the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century in Tbilisi was not established Armenian powerful capital. However, it is known that besides furthering activation of the community’s internal life, financial-economic activity and power of national minorities may also stimulate national revival.
- It is obvious that inside the community there is a logical vacuum, which is mainly tried to fulfill by the system of values peculiar to the consuming society. It goes without saying that the general tendency of up-to-date world and ideological basis (priority of human rights, protection of rights of ethnic, religious and other minorities) allow the Armenian community even if not solving then voicing the problems as an ethnic minority. In the circles of Armenian NGOs in Tbilisi prevails the recognition that in the framework of above mentioned principles it is possible to arouse the Armenian problems, that those principles should be considered to be a resource to be used in nation preserving problems. The problem here is quite different: to what extent the democratic values, glorified by Georgian superior bodies, lie in the bases of decisions made by them (as well as in the basis of behavior of Georgian society). This is quite another question and requires separate discussion as it refers to general tendencies and logic of Georgian society’s development. But if we follow only the estimations of independent experts, then “Rose revolution” has considerably weakened not only the country’s political parties and political competition, but also the first sprouts of political society. More active members of powerful (for Georgia) NGOs took governmental offices: as a result was revealed the political (not civil – T.V.) nature”2 of those powerful NGOs. That’s to say, the logic of present developments doesn’t give great hopes that in Georgia will be shaped a civil society where the rights of ethnic minorities will be completely protected.
It goes without saying that we have taken on a task not only to present the condition of the community in Tbilisi, reveal the reasons of not desirable development, but also think of working out and realizing any counter-acting program. In this issue RA has its role and, by the way, not by means of parties (which is accepted negatively both by Georgian authorities and local Armenians) but by social structures. Of course the conceptual tenets should be worked out by the experts working under the governmental patronage and familiar with up-to-date problems. But they should be realized by social; structures.
For this purpose it is necessary:
- To carry out continuous monitoring of moods of Georgian society for guaranteeing continuation and effectiveness of the above mentioned issues’ discussion and having an idea of the dynamic of nationalistic manifestations. Why is it necessary? The point is that in this stage the Georgian nationalism is in the majority of cases (if we observe inward directed nationalism) directed against the Armenia’s. Great number of publications in Georgian (mainly in Georgian language) printable mass media and internet has come to prove it3. Today some publications in Georgian say that it is the high time to reconsider the myth of “Armenian-Georgian centuries-old friendship”. These tendencies can not remain unnoticeable by more active and informed part of the Armenians living in Tbilisi, which causes extra anxiety and shakes its internal stability.
- To carry out continuous work with the Armenian “little islands” (NGOs, independent entrepreneurs, officials, pupils, students, intellectuals etc.). For productiveness of this work it is necessary to stir foundation of professional units based on ethnic principals (Armenian shoemakers, hair dressers, intellectuals...). They may work in the framework of laws concerning to NGOs, which affords wide opportunity to carry out activities up to legislative enterprises, protection of interests, comparative freedom of financial resources from abroad etc.
- Preservation of the presence of Armenian element and Armenian subject, which is possible only by means of Armenian financial investments in information field. The issue of Armenian education should be considered in the framework of information leakage the Armenians living in Tbilisi are undergoing.
- A parallel should be drawn between traditional methods of Armenian preservation and “modern” and more attractive ones acceptable and perceptible for wide circles of youth. One of our interlocutors said “we don’t remember when a singer or an actor has last come here”. It is very important to organize not official evens: subject competitions, trainings, festivals, visits of Georgian Armenians to Armenia and Karabakh, formation of leaders on the spot, exchange programs, preparation of Armenian language journalists, deferent amusing events etc. It is necessary to form a field where not only intellectual and organized part of the society will be interested in the issue of preservation of Armenians.
- Stirring of financial-economic inclusion of Armenian capital into Georgia’s domestic market. One should realize that beside financial profits it should first of all be of moral-psychological importance for the Armenian community.
- Working out Armenian centered strategy and spreading information on its main provisions and, in this context, working out certain mechanisms on repatriation.
1 It is worth mentioning the fortune of Armenians living in Baku and Azerbaijan at the first stage of Karabakh conflict before military operations in 1988-1991.
2 Валериан Долидзе, «Политические партии и партийное строительство в Грузии», «Центральная Азия и Кавказ», Центр социально-политических исследований, Швеция, 2 (38), 2005, сс. 52 - 53.
3 For example.՝ «Абхазская война была «грузино-армянской» войной», «Пускай армянская сторона говорит с нами на равных, или же ничего не достигнет», «В Ахалкалаки требуют объявления армянского языка государственным», «Вице-спикер Парламента Армении категорически требует автономии», «В Москве армяне оскорбили Патриарха Грузии» և այլն, տե՛ս http://www.armenia.ge/georgia/ge_news.php։
Another materials of author
- REALITY OF TBILISI: ON ARMENIAN-GEORGIAN CONTRADICTIONS [11.06.2012]
- ARMENIAN SCHOOLS IN TBILISI: THE END OF THE STORY [16.01.2012]
- THE POLITICAL IMPLICATION OF THE TURKISH-GEORGIAN “CULTURAL” DIALOGUE[23.06.2011]
- ARMENIANS OF TBILISI: NEW REALITIES [14.04.2011]
- PECULIARITIES OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE NATIONAL IDENTITY[20.10.2010]