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06 12 15 - Mark Zoryan – expert of the Caucasus analytical center
Mark Zoryan: Are they sacrificing Javakh for the Great Goal?Read it in RussianThe struggle for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is actually an expression of national idea for the Armenian people. This idea is not subject to rational analysis, and, even though the Armenians say that they seek just moral compensation, they will certainly not forget their lost Homeland – Western Armenia – and firmly believe that they can restore Armenian statehood over 4/5 of their historical territory. Even strong as it is, the idea of Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenians call it Artsakh) has failed to push back the problem of the Armenian Genocide and its international recognition. The Armenians just sneer at the hopes of some politicians that they may give up this political struggle.Even though many states have recognized the Armenian Genocide and the number of such states is growing every year, the major obstacle to the final goal is the US, whose officials are constantly maneuvering in the matter. In fact, the US is the only state who has worked out a program of the Armenian Genocide recognition, but it would be native to think that a state like the US will solve this problem by just one presidential signature (that would be a banal and useless action).The US administration is acting consistently: they are waiting until the Armenian Genocide is acknowledged by the American society, by civil, religious and ethnic organizations, by all 50 states with their legislative bodies and governors and, finally, by both houses of the Congress. This will make the President’s signature a kind of forced action: after all, the President can’t disregard the opinion of the whole American society, can he? By the way, the Armenian NGOs are beginning to play just a consultative role in the growing campaign for the Genocide recognition. In some states the Armenian lobby acted just formally but still the states recognized the Genocide. That is, things have got underway and the key tasks are fulfilled. Democrat Nancy Pelosy has been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives and she says that the Armenian Genocide may be recognized as early as Apr 24 2007.Irrespective of the wish of the influential political circles of the US, the process of the Armenian Genocide international recognition has become an element of the US’ foreign policy, and even the most radical opponents have already begun thinking how to use this tendency in their own interests. At the same time, this reality concerns not only the US’ policy on Turkey but also on Armenia. This situation is quite convenient for building relations with Armenia. In the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, the Americans see absolutely no sense or profit in offering something in exchange for the recognition of the Genocide. But there is also the problem of Samtskhe-Javakheti, a Georgian province with over 50% Armenian majority (the region Armenians call Javakh). In that province, despite all their democratic commitments, the Georgian authorities have not yet solved even elementary cultural-educational and linguistic-educational problems. The prospects of the local self-government are also unclear. Having allocated over $104mln for road recovery, the US has seen that the Georgian authorities are not going to restore the 25 km road connecting the Javakh administrative centers with Armenia. The US has seen the gist of Georgia’s policy in its ethnic regions but prefers not to make a row about it so as not to give trumps to Russia. The European community is acting in almost the same way. Still, both the Americans and the Europeans have seen the risks of Georgia’s uncontrolled policy in 2006 and have decided not to risk any further and have put a strong veto on that country’s foreign and domestic policies.In their efforts to curb the social-political movement in Javakh, the Americans are actively cooperating with the local Armenian political forces and NGOs and the authorities of Armenia. The Americans perfectly understand that the key developments in Javakh have nothing to do with the stories they push forward, i.e. to the Russian special services or certain ambitions of the Armenian nationalist organizations, even though some of them, particularly, the ARF Dashnaktsutiun, have a strong ramified network in the province – a force that can solve many problems both in cooperation with the Georgian political parties and authorities and quite independently.Presently, Dashnaktsutiun is the best organized party in the territory of Georgia, much better organized than any Georgian party. Their goal is to pave the way for partnership with the Georgian political leadership; the only question is what kind of leadership it will be. Considering the fact that the ARFD is a ruling party in Armenia, the Americans prefer to work with the Dashnak organizations in the US (simply they are closer). That’s why the Dashnak organization in Javakh preferred to keep silence in the conflict situation over the last local elections in the province.Even more, they almost supported the “Georgian party,” that is, it was a professionally coordinated political operation that has made Javakh a part of the big politics and a political resource for a number of projects. What we are witnessing is a very sophisticated game and it seems that somebody is eager to turn this backwater district into the crossroads of various interests. What consequences will this game have for this ethnic region? .

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