Clash in Javakhk: What Can Explode the Situation?

  • Politics - 01 October 2017, 12:17
Yesterday there was a clash in the Armenian village of Gumburdo, Javakhk. The local people tried to put a memorial stone in the churchyard but the police did not allow them to. The situation got worse, special troops arrived at the scene. Several villagers and police officers were injured. Some villagers were arrested who were promised to be set free.

Repairs of the village church dating from the 10th century started in 2016, and during the works they found human bones. The bones were reburied, and the villagers decided to put a cross-stone tomb on the grave. The Armenian and Georgian church representatives have had several meetings on this matter.

This time the villagers did not wait and decided to put a cross stone in the churchyard.

In this connection, the Javakhk Armenian politician Vahagn Chakhalyan wrote on his Facebook page: “This causes concerns and is condemnable, we need to avoid further tensions… Both people and law enforcement agencies must demonstrate restraint and wisdom… And finally, we need to understand that when the existing problems are not addressed and are postponed endlessly for indefinite periods, some people get a chance to play with emotions.”

The village church is one of the objects of the Armenian-Georgian “church dispute”. The Georgian church says it belongs to them, and the Armenian Apostolic Church claims it belongs to them. This dispute escalates from time to time, causing clashes and other conflicts. It is time the Georgian Patriarch and the Armenian Catholicos and knowledgeable experts told the truth to the Armenian and Georgian publics about the roots and causes of this church dispute. This is going to be difficult or even awkward but it is necessary otherwise it will be a cause and leverage for new incidents between two publics.

One of the deep causes of the clash in Javakhk is the social and economic problems in this region which have not been addressed for years, the demographic policy of Georgia which is aimed at weakening the Armenian element, the isolation of this region from the public and political life of Georgia, the lack of mutual confidence, the presence of the Russian military base in Javakhk which has inevitably left its trace on people’s moods.

As a result, Javakhk remains one of those weak spots which may “explode” the Armenian-Georgian relations with all ensuing consequences.

It is not accidental that for four months Georgia has not affirmed the nomination of the Armenia ambassador Sergey Minasyan who comes from Javakhk. In Georgia, they think that he is going to be the representative of Russia, rather than Armenia to Georgia. Georgia is highly sensitive about danger coming from Russia, and the political circles and media believe that Russia is looking for an opportunity to attack Georgia.

In the current complicated and unpredictable situation, such incidents are not “pertinent” and the Georgian government must demonstrate more restraint in its actions. There are lots of stakeholders to the deterioration of the Armenian-Georgian relations and conflicts because a new security system in the Caucasus with an Armenian-Georgian axis contradicts their interests.