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Last hope for Javakh2010-06-10 09:27
Armenians residing in France call on President Nicolas Sarkozy to urge Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili to stop discriminative policy against Javakh Armenians and set Vaagn Chakhalyan free. In Yerkir-Europe's letter they underscore rising concern over current situation of Armenians in Georgia. But is France ready to solve Javakhetia's problems?
The document sent to Sarkozy reveals facts of discriminative policies pursued by Georgian government against Javakh Armenians, Novosti-Armenia reports. The authors highlight the circumstances of political massacre of Javakh activist Vaagn Chakhalyan by Georgian authorities, the unlawful trial and sentence to 10 years' imprisonment on fabricated charges.
Vaagn Chakhalyan from Armenian-populated Samtskhe-Javakhetia was hit by the repression machine suppressing all kinds of dissidence in Georgia almost two years ago. On July 17 2008 Javakhetia was the site of a series of explosions that Armenians immediately took for provocations by special services. Vaagn Chakhalyan, his brother and father were detained for alleged storage of arms at home. Gurgen Shirinyan, another leader of United Javakh movement managed to escape the arrest and flee.
In December 2008 Shirinyan was secretly condemned to 17 years' imprisonment for murder. Vaagn Chackhalyan and his family were accused of illegal storage and acquisition of arms, organization of mass disorders and resistance to police. His brother and father were accused conditionally while Vaagn was convicted for 10 years' jail sentence.
Remarkably, United Javakh organization led by Chakhalyan stood up for improvement of living standards in the region calling for wider powers for representatives of local authorities and rights of national minorities. However the new law on local self-administration greatly limited functions of municipalities in 2005. Economic problems struck the region after pullout of 62nd Russian military base from Akhalkalaki town that provided jobs for most part of the population. There are 238,000 people living in Samtskhe Javakhetia with 53% of Armenians among them. In Akhalkalaki and Ninotsknimda districts Armenians amount to 90% of the population.
However, Javakh is not the end of problems for Armenians in Georgia. Late in May Armenian specialists started beating the alarm over nationalism now actively rising in the republic. According to them Sakartvelo wants to have a monoethnic state achieving its goal by way of ethnic assimilation.