People In Javakhk Believe Escalation Of Situation In Their Settlemen


July 30, 2008

YEREVAN, July 30. /ARKA/. Armenians of Javakhk, a Georgian settlement
with Armenian population, believe that the recent aggravation of
the situation in their settlement is connected with the construction
of Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railroad, political scientist Sergey Minasyan,
the Director of the Caucasus Institute, said.

The railway will run across the territory of Javakhk. A series of
incidents occurred in Javakhk on July 17, a week before the official
start of the construction was announced.

A blast near the house of the Akhalkalaki police chief was followed by
the intrusion of Georgian special squad soldiers who then searched the
houses of the members of the Armenian "Unified Javakhk" organizations.

During the unwarranted search policeman Artur Berujanyan,
a 23-year-old resident of the village of Baralet, was killed in
unknown circumstances.

Many members of the organization were arrested.

Another policeman, Armen Gabrielyan, was killed on July 20. The local
police said it was a suicide, though some sources say it was not. "Many
Armenians living in Javakhk believe that it was a preventive campaign
by the Georgian authorities on the threshold of the construction
commencement," the expert told reporters.

According to Minasyan, people in Javakhk believe that the Georgian
government acted this way for20fear of a possible protest by Armenians,
so they decided to neutralize the most active Armenian force –
Unified Javakhk.

On July 21 night, the special squad soldiers and local police forces
broke into the house of Vahagn Chakhalyan, the leader of the Armenian
organization, to arrest him and his family members. They were taken
to Akhaltsikha, later to Tbilisi. Another member of the organization,
Aram Batoyan, is behind bars now.

However, as Minasyan said, further developments were a surprise for
Georgian authorities who were not expecting such an escalation of
the situation and such a wide response by Armenia.