Georgia pursues anti-Armenian policy during past 2 centuries

Rusiko Amirejibi-Mullen r.amirejibi-mullen at
Sat May 31 18:18:35 UTC 2008

Throughout history the main 'others' for Georgians are Armenians.  
Without going into historical depth of this issue, I will just mention  
some facts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, based on  
recent paper of Mary Chkhartishvili.
During the 'spring of nations' Georgia did not have national  
bourgeoisie, they were Armenians. Instead of considering themselves as  
masters of the country and leading the movement of Georgian national  
consolidation, they felt themselves to be part of the Armenian ethnic  
in-group, as a diaspora community belonging to the ethnic group of the  
main competitor of Georgian identity. In 20th c the struggle between  
Georgian and Armenian identities grew into violence. It turned into  
military conflict shortly after the emergence of the Georgian  
Democratic Republic (1918). And Armenians resident in Georgia did not  
support the Georgian state, whose citizens they were, but their ethnic  
compatriots instead. This conflict would be continuous, but with  
Bolsheviks? coming to power, the strict limits for inter-ethnic  
interrelation and rivalries were set. In the Soviet period as well  
Georgian-Armenian identities? interrelations were marked with tension.  
The marginalization of Armenians continued, people with Armenian  
family names were not able to occupy managing positions in Soviet  
Georgia. Armenians changed their family names to have Georgian  
endings, they could reach positions even higher than those of  
Georgians. This was Soviet policy: all those possessing high social  
status should hide something in their biography so that be easily  
controlled. The majority of Armenians in Georgia were loyal to Soviet  
Empire. Naturally they were not with Georgians in liberation movement  
of 1990s, evidently because they were frightened of an explosion of  
ethnic intolerance if an independent Georgian nation state were to  

However, the situation has drastically changed after Rose Revolution.  
Armenians resident of Georgia are invited to be part of Georgian  
national in-group and for this they are not asked to change their  
ethnicity. Problems exist from both sides: the concept of civic nation  
is novel for Georgians and is difficult to inculcate among common  
people. The case with Armenians even more complicated. Their  
experience of existence in diaspora makes great obstacles to the  
integration of ethnic Armenians in a non-Armenian national community.

As for the story of Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe, I must say the the  
residents of these towns, are mostly decendents of those Armenians  
which escaped the genocide in 1915. First, they went to their historic  
homeland, which then was part of Russian empire and none of Armenian  
villiges let them in. Then they went to neighbouring Georgian villiges  
in Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe districts and were welcomed. They want  
to join these places to Armenia, refuse to study Georgian and continue  
to isolate themselves.

Rusiko Amirejibi

Quoting Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at>:

> Georgia pursues anti-Armenian policy during past 2 centuries
> 30.05.2008 16:31 GMT+04:00
> PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia has always been correct with Georgia as
> regards the problems existing between the two states. Obviously, the
> strategy has been exhausted, an Armenian expert said. "Armenia mustn't
> forget the Armenian community in Georgia. Joining our efforts, we can
> prevent Georgia from its further expansion over the Armenian
> historical and cultural heritage," expert at Mitq analytical center
> Vahe Sargsyan said during "Georgia's Anti-Armenian Policy" conference
> in Yerevan.  Under the pretext of integration, Georgia oppresses
> Armenian candidates for state posts and bans the native language in
> Armenian schools, according to him.
> "Georgia's anti-Armenian policy has a 2-century record. 90 years ago
> Georgia let Turkish troops in Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe to slaughter
> 40-50 thousand Armenians. During the soviet period, Tbilisi did its
> utmost to isolate Georgia from Armenia. The same policy was preserved
> after Georgia obtained independence. In 1990-ies, when Armenia was cut
> off the entire world, Georgians constantly blew up the gas pipeline
> and robbed trains. Now, Georgia fails to adopt a law on national
> minorities, as required by the Council of Europe," he said.
> --
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