BAKU: Azeri aide justifies Christian minority’s protest at “fake”Arm

Azeri aide justifies Christian minority’s protest at “fake” Armenian inscription

ANS TV, Baku
17 Feb 05

[Presenter] The Baku government has confirmed that there is an influx
of people from various parts of Russia. To recap, reports regularly
emerge of people from Russia, particularly Dagestan, applying
for residence in Azerbaijan’s northern districts. Hidayat Orucov,
[Azerbaijani] state adviser for ethnic affairs, has commented on this
and other issues in an interview.

He also was calm while commenting on the views of the Udi community,
residing in the village of Nij in Qabala District [northern
Azerbaijan], on the Armenian inscriptions on Udi monuments.

[Correspondent over video of Orucov speaking in his office, a church]
Relevant state agencies are investigating whether registration in the
northern districts is taking place within the legal framework, Orucov
told journalists while commenting on reports in several media outlets
that Russia seeks to shift the demographic situation in the northern
districts of Azerbaijan. The state adviser said that should the reports
on illegal registration be confirmed, specific measures will be taken.

Incidentally, those who seek residence in Azerbaijan cite stability
in the country as the main argument for their wish. Orucov shares
this view.

[Orucov] The social and economic situation in Azerbaijan is better than
that in many regions of Russia. This has a certain impact. Therefore,
[people from] various parts of Russia try to work in Azerbaijan,
settle here, if temporarily. There are some people who will try,
if conditions allow, seeking Azerbaijani citizenship.

[Correspondent] Sounds exactly like the logic of those who go from
Azerbaijan to Russia to earn money.

The Udi community in the village of Nij in Qabala District protests
at the efforts of the Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise, which is
funding the restoration of the village’s church, to preserve the
Armenian inscriptions in it. The protest has even led to a letter of
the village’s residents to the Norwegian embassy in Baku.

Orucov said that historically Armenians did not live there, and
the fact that several Armenian families moved to the districts in
Soviet times does not prove that Armenians have historical roots in
the village.

[Orucov] There is no need for a foreign humanitarian organization or
a foreign ambassador to intervene in this issue because this is the
memory of the people. The Udis and the Udi intellectuals, those people
who stage these protests, they undoubtedly sense and know their history
better than I do, and better than international organizations do.

[Correspondent] Hence, the demographic situation, one of the
most sensitive issues for statehood, is under complete control, in
Orucov’s view, and this control is based on the principle of equality
of peoples.