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Georgia in attempt to get Georgianized26.05.2010 | 00:27
Armenians living in Georgia are beating alarm over nationalism blooming in the republic. According to the specialists Sakartvelo is turning into a monoethnic state in the move to the intended target through assimilation of nations. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed "Georgianization" policies with Georgia's Armenians and representatives of the republic's public organizations.
According to official information from 1926 to 2002 the percentage of Georgians in the republic grew from 54 to 83. The number of representatives of other ethnicities that reside in Georgia is drastically going down. For instance, over 80 years Armenian population of the republic has decreased from 18 to 6% of total amount of people living in the republic.
Tamara Vardanyan, Noravank scientific and educational center expert believes that the above mentioned problems of national minorities in Georgia are connected with the republic's yearning for a nationalist state. "To achieve the intended target Georgians chose two ways - assimilation and emigration. Presently attempts at assimilation are more frequent", - Caucasian Knot quotes.
To make the story more deplorable there is total disregard of interests of 86,000 Armenians in the run-up to the coming local election scheduled for May 30. There is no Armenian nominated for voting in Georgia's most reputable parties' lists. Neither are they included into ruling National Movement's list either.
Participants of the Assembly of Armenians in Tbilisi believe that this approach contradicts principles of tolerance for a multi-cultural and multinational city and does not contribute to the level of political and civil involvement of ethnic Armenians.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed problems of Armenians and nationalism issues in Georgia with Armenians living in Tbilisi and representatives of public organizations in the republic.
Arnold Stepanyan, chairman of Public Movement "Multinational Georgia"
After 1990s there was some decline in nationalist sentiment, but nationalism is gathering pace lately. It is seen on public level, and I can confirm that. Besides, now there is aggression toward the so-called new minorities like the Chinese, for example.
Nationalist groups that promote intolerance and fascism have become still more frequent in social networks like Facebook. Recently the book Hitler was presented featuring fascism as a regime that might have substituted the Soviet Union's communist system to bring about positive change. I don't know why this book has been published now. Besides hate words occur on TV and in newspapers. For instance, recently during a TV show on a central commercial TV channel a participant of the show was asked if he is not ashamed of his Armenian origin. Evidently, nationalism is uprising again in Georgia.
I wouldn't personally trust statistics not only because figures show some unclear tendencies but because I know people who work on them. The data the statistics department publishes are far from reality. Though I can confirm twofold decrease in the number of Armenians in Georgia - not only because of migration. Abkhazia's Armenians are not taken into consideration. However the number of Georgians in the republic has decreased too. I guess data on Georgians were overassessed because of the election scheduled after the census.
-Why do parties have no Armenians in their lists for 30 May election?
I would like to think that this is just an amateurish approach and stupidity. Still I believe it's a slap in the face of Armenian population in Georgia. There is an ethnic Azerbaijanian in the list of the ruling party and no Armenian. Still the number of Armenians in Tbilisi is 12 times more. The opposition's National Council has no representative of ethnic minorities. I must acknowledge with regret that Tbilisi city council will have no Armenian with over 8% of Armenians living in the capital of Georgia. Despite multinational Georgia and friendship that the authorities are talking about, these statements are not reflected in policies.
I guess the current situation is not only the mistake of authorities. First of all it's the mistake of society that has not decided on the formula for further growth. We are constantly searching, and what's worst, when the search reaches a deadlock we don't want to admit that. We can't realize that we're living in 21st century, that our society is really multinational and multicultural. This factor should be taken into account to build the country's future. Before we do that our society will be in the middle of serious problems connected with interethnic relations.
Ruben Elchyan, representative of Armenian national minority, currently unemployed
Not only Armenians, but Georgians too flee this "good life". You can see queues at the embassies and this is a problem for all nations in Georgia. As for assimilation of nations it is everywhere. We can't help it.