23 June, 2011

Interview with Nugzar Tsiklauri, Chairman of Caucasian Issues’ Committee

Different points of view expressed about handing over of churches to Armenia, recognition of Ossetian genocide by Russia and possible recognition of Abkhazia’s independence by Georgia triggered such a heated reaction that we decided to address Nugzar Tsiklauri, Chairman of the Committee for Caucasian Issues. 

N.T. – It’s a long time since the Patriarch of All Armenians last visited Georgia and his current arrival had great significance for strengthening of contacts between the two

churches. As for handing over of religious buildings and argument regarding this issue that goes on for many years, I think the best decision has been chosen. It was decided that scientific circles will be included in identification of churches. They will decide whether this or that particular church belongs to Armenian Gregorian or Georgian Orthodox church.

It was a positive meeting. The book of Georgian-Armenian relations includes many good pages but between our ancestors there have also been continuous arguments about some issues, mostly related to the history and it goes on even today.

We both are ancient nations in Caucasus but we want to make deeper exploration of our roots. These issues always were subject of argument and I have no illusion that they will come to an end. For this reason it’ll be better if qualified historians, ethnographers and folklore specialists discuss these issues at their meetings. Xenophobia is unacceptable for me.

Q. – But Georgian trace is deliberately erased on some historical monuments.

N.T. - Only inscriptions are not decisive. Georgian art expressed in church architecture comprising distinctive features is different from that of Armenian. In XXI century there indeed are possibilities for scientists not only to put forward accusations to one another based on ethnicity but to set up qualified scientific councils.

Q. – They also say that Russian Duma is planning to recognize Ossetian genocide.

N.T. – For the moment we only know that a round table of an unknown organization is to be held where the experts will discuss the issue of Ossetian genocide. An opinion was expressed that by doing so Russia wants to reciprocate recognition of Circassian genocide by Georgian Parliament. The scientific conclusion on Circassian genocide was being discussed for a year and a half. It was based on the opinion of not only Georgian historians but on that of Russian, Western European, American and Oriental outstanding scientists.

Our conclusion, certainly, was the political decision of Georgian authorities but any political decision must be based on solid arguments. This is the decision of Georgian Parliament and it’s significant that no Russian scientist, well- or not so well-known, could enter the debates and criticize the scientific position. This decision was dictated by historical facts. Declarations of Russian monarchs and commanders-in-chief attest that Circassians were to be annihilated or ousted from their land.

As far as I know, the Ossetian side discussed the cases of more than one genocide of Ossetians during the recent years. Since the ‘90s when the first conflict began, this issue was actualized for many times. Then it was mentioned that in 1920 the Georgian state decided to annex mythical Ossetian state and for this reason it was decided to eliminate them but this is an absolute absurd that has nothing in common with historical reality.

After declaration of Georgia’s independence on May 26, 1918, agreement with Russia, recognizing Georgia within the boundaries of that period, was signed on May 7, 1920.

No Ossetian state existed at that time. Even then there were attempts of revolt and as today, they had one organizer. For this reason there were uprisings in Borchalo and South Ossetia. At that time the Georgian State managed to restore constitutional order on that territory. It’s funny to speak about alleged genocide. I am sure that the spread information about Ossetian genocide is only an informational attack and attempt to demean the first Georgian Republic; it won’t have a serious continuation.

Q. – As some experts assume, wouldn’t it be wise for Georgia to recognize Abkhazia’s independence in case it results in return of our refugees?

N.T. – Speaking about recognition of Abkhazia’s independence means to support the attempted goal Russia is so keenly trying to achieve. Fortunately politicians have the right to agree to only those experts’ opinions which contain  common sense. This declaration doesn’t have any.

Q. – Since you are well aware of publishing matters, let me ask you if simultaneous inspection of six different organizations of ‘MediaPalitra’ by revenue service is a natural phenomenon. Some politicians think that it’s a pressure.

N.T. – If any newspaper published by the Media House, or internet TV, or radio encountered any hindrances in their work it directly indicates that there is some kind of pressure; but I am giving an interview for the ‘Kviris Palitra’, yesterday I was in ‘Palitra TV’ and it is functioning normally. As far as I know your books are being published, the shops are full of very interesting series of your publishing house. The print shop is also working. Speaking about pressure under these circumstances is a bit far-fetched.

But tax inspection that every publisher undergoes is something else. What’s more it isn’t about the press, it’s about the publishing house that has a big infrastructure.

Presumably, these six organizations were closely connected. For me, as a citizen and politician it was of utmost importance that no hindrance was created for any publication. I am an active consumer of your Holding, I watch your TV, buy books and my family buys ‘Literaturuli Palitra’ publications. So, I am your fan.

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