Armenian Lobby: Its Academia And Georgia

Written by Vasili Rukhadze

Abkhazia, CA
May 29 2007

One can write an extensive book about the influence and power of the
Armenian lobby in the West and, for that matter, in the world. It
is made up of many well established, well connected and very rich
ethnic Armenians coming out of a large diaspora, or Spyruk, (roughly
5-6 million) spread throughout the United States, Canada, Russia,
France, Great Britain and other European countries. In many cases,
these expatriates have lived abroad for generations. Below are a
couple recent examples of the lobby’s strength.

One example was the Armenian National Committee of America pressuring
the US House of Representatives to adopt an amendment in June 2006.

The amendment would block US aid to finance the South Caucasus Railway
(Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars), bypassing Armenia. In October 2006,
the US Senate adopted a similar resolution, which forced President
Bush to sign, in December 2006, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization
Act. The act banned the US Ex-Im (Export-Import) Bank from financing
the construction of the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway.

Another example, in October 2006, occurred when the lower chamber of
the French parliament adopted a controversial bill that made a crime
to deny that Turks committed genocide against Armenians during World
War I in 1915. This law also was pressured by Armenian lobby in France.

The goals of the lobby are clear and widely known: to defend the
interests of the Armenian state in the Western world and to prepare
ground and eventually create a "Historic, Greater Armenia" stretching
from Black Sea to Caspian Sea in Caucasus at the expense of Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Turkey.

To this end, a large segment of Armenian academia (both abroad and in
Armenia) plays a vital role. It actively influences foreign academia
and wider masses about the legacy of Armenian people, its culture
and history. It tries to prove the "wretchedness" and "shallowness
"of those peoples and cultures in the Caucasus which are perceived
as main obstacles on the way of a "Greater Armenia". This article
is just about this issue and it would have never been written if not
for the ever-increasing waves of "academic" falsehoods, insults and
humiliations packaged as "academic scholarship" by their authors. It
is not about one single article, book or a writer. It is about a wider
phenomenon, becoming more and more dangerous not only for "victim"
cultures and peoples, but for Armenians themselves.

These "academic works" flood scientific conference halls, magazines,
newspapers, multitude of websites and bookstores, in USA, Canada,
Europe, and Russia. All these publications are of very high
polygraphic quality apparently sponsored by rich Armenian diaspora
organizations. They quickly and easily find wide audiences, touching
spheres as varied as history, geopolitics, ethnography, archeology,
linguistics, architecture, different areas of art. Their content
varies from being bias to pure absurdity, distorting facts to the
point of rewriting whole chapters of history.

In this whole campaign Georgia has been exceptionally heavily targeted
by multiple Armenian "scholars".

It is beyond the scope of this article to mention particular
names of hostile Armenian academic works and their authors (it
would take multitude of pages anyway). It is not even necessary,
because anyone who wishes can check any Armenian authored article,
essay, presentation, book or just website about Georgia, published
in many foreign languages-they all have one same underlining content:
they belittle Georgia, Georgian people, culture and history in order
to glorify Armenian one. In these various "works" ancient Georgian
language is declared as a branch of Armenian language, actually created
by old Armenian scholars. Unique Georgian architectural monuments:
churches, castles, medieval palaces, still standing in Georgia, are
systematically described as the heritage of Armenian culture (some
pathologically radical groups go as far as to secretly remove original
stones with Georgian scripts on them from ancient Georgian temples and
change them with Armenian ones, to prove buildings’ "authenticity"
as Armenian). Multiple samples of historical Georgian music, songs,
temple frescos, clothing, dishes, arms, types of martial arts and
many others are constantly and unquestionably listed as the products
of Armenian culture in the works of various Armenian scholars. Great
Georgian kings, statesmen, writers, musicians, poets and philosophers
are repeatedly and wrongly announced as ethnic Armenians, in order
to glorify the potential of Armenian people while belittling that of
Georgian people’s.

All above mentioned efforts of Armenian academia would sound very
funny, especially when representatives of other cultures in France,
Greece, Ukraine, Egypt and many others complain that their most
notable historic figures: statesmen, thinkers, artists are also
being declared as ethnic Armenians. But all these are well beyond
being merely funny because their works deliver a message of poisonous
hatred portraying Georgians as culturally and intellectually inferiors
to Armenians. Georgian ethnos continually is being described as
an oppressor nation who settled on today’s Georgian lands later
than Armenians and other ethnic groups and still is oppressing local
population. In their works Georgia is often described as an artificial
conglomerate, put together by Georgian "occupiers". These works are
so many that any foreign scholar who seeks to study historical (and
modern) Caucasus and Georgia in particular, can’t avoid encountering
with these absurd, bias materials. Needless to say, a novice researcher
feels immediate contempt against, "oppressor" Georgians, "stealing"
cultural heritage and history from Armenian people.

Armenian academia sees Georgia’s Armenian populated region Javakheti
as potentially undivided part of a "Greater Armenia". This latter
should include some other parts of Georgia as well, they say, along
with Georgian capital Tbilisi that they consider as historically
Armenian city (no matter that ethnic Armenians barely make up 4%
of the city’s total population). But it is naïve to think that all
this academic bias, steadily turning into mass hatred, is only about
Javakheti or any other piece of land. It more resembles very well
known ethnic hatred, when group of people or whole nation is hated for
being just who they are. This overwhelming and unexplainable hatred
against particular Georgians or whole Georgian people is spilling
over from various books, articles, top or second ranking websites,
from ordinary Armenians or academicians, expressing their feelings
nakedly or thinly veiled in the dirty rag of "academic scholarship".

Those few who dared to pick up a pen to denounce all these were
insulted, threatened and abused by various secretive and never
disclosed affiliates.

It is not entirely clear why Georgia and Georgians deserved such
hatred. In its long and turbulent history Georgia many times saved
the very existence of Armenian people, helping them with military
power or opening its doors to tens of thousands of Armenians to settle
within Georgia, when their lives were threatened by mighty and vicious
empires in the South. The pages of the history are filled with the
fascinating examples of friendship between these two peoples, working
and fighting together for survival against common enemies. Did this
feeling entirely disappear? Armenian academia decided that it is so.

Unfortunately, Georgian academia has been very passive in responding
to these "academic attacks". How much longer can Georgian academia
afford to be idle? It is vital to answer this question because
Georgians run a risk that in about 20-30 years they will lose the
theoretical-academic ground to claim their Georgian heritage and
Georgian culture. The pace of Armenian "academic’ onslaught is very
fast. Georgian heritage intensively is being renamed. Georgians do
not need to answer the bias with bias, lies with lies and hatred with
hatred, but they definitely need to start making the world hear their
voice about their academic truth.

Vasili Rukhadze is New York based Georgian political analyst. He
holds Masters Degree in Political Science from the City University
of New York. He is the author of multiple articles, with the focus
on Caucasus, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Currently he is
working on the project about the role of Caucasus and Ukraine in the
West’s energy security. Contact [email protected] e-mail address
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