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Once upon a time an Armenian, a Georgian and an Azerbaijani…2010-02-11 23:02
Anecdotes about who's better: an Armenian or a Georgian sound fun when no victims, court sentences and protest rallies over national humiliation are concerned. In their zeal for state creation Georgians infringe on cultural values that have been considered Armenian for centuries. As a result there's a ferment going on in Armenian populated Javakh, protest actions in defense of churches and the call of Georgia's Armenians to Russia for protection.
Division of historical heritage is underway in Caucasus. Georgian historians do their best to prove that Armenians are a non-indigenous population of the country and have no right to demand special privileges.
Recently Bondo Arveladze, a doctor of philology, professor, academician of the Abkhaz Academy sparked new disputes contesting appurtenance of Armenian churches in his interview with the First News agency (Azerbaijan).
According to him Armenians have no right to be denominated successors of Urartians (Urartu is more ancient than Armenia) because "this is absolutely wrong". He also considers Tayka churches (in the north of Turkey) Georgian monuments and calls Armenian churches in Nagorny Karabakh "Albanian" (Albanian culture is widely inherited by Azerbaijanis).
What Azerbaijan listens to with bated breath is severely criticized in Armenian media. Aysor.am called Arvaladze's statements a replication of Azerbaijan's propaganda.
It should be noted that Urartu issue and Armenia's connection to this ancient state has long been a subject of scientific discussions. However all historians assert that the Armenian nation includes Urartu element among other ethnicities. As for cultural heritage of the country that existed in Armenian upland in 8-4 centuries B.C. it was mostly adopted by Armenia, not other Transcaucasian states.
As for appurtenance of churches in Nagorny Karabakh, Turkey and Georgia, only independent experts can explore that. Neither Georgian, nor Azerbaijani or Armenian historic science is able to provide unbiased conclusions. All these states have not gone through the process of national self-identification after the collapse of the USSR yet, territorial issues remain unsettled, borders undefined. That is why historians are not steady in their conclusions.
Focusing on the Armenian churches in Georgia the figures Arveladze presents are in support of the Armenian version. Earlier Armenia claimed 50 churches, contesting only 5 now. That means they conceded most of their religious monuments to Georgian priests and are now trying to defend the most undisputable ones.