Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Scuffle Erupts In Georgian Parliament Over Armenian Genocide Issue

Opposition legislator Jondi Baghaturia's comments drew the ire of fellow deputy Azer Suleimanov, an ethnic Azeri.
Opposition legislator Jondi Baghaturia's comments drew the ire of fellow deputy Azer Suleimanov, an ethnic Azeri.
By Claire Bigg and Mzia Paresishvili
Georgia's tumultuous political scene descended further into disarray this week with a bitter scuffle in parliament.

The dispute erupted on April 24 when Jondi Baghaturia, an opposition lawmaker, brought up the prickly issue of whether to recognize as genocide the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I.

"Citizens of our country, ethnic Armenians, came here yesterday and demanded that Georgia's parliament recognize the Armenian genocide," Baghaturia said.

"I told you, when you organized this one-day PR campaign and recognized the Circassian genocide, I told you not to do it! Now, I'd like to know what you will tell these people! After all, they are citizens of our country."

Last year, Georgia became the first country to recognize the expulsion of Circassians from the North Caucasus by the Russian Empire in the late 19th century as genocide.

The recognition was personally backed by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

'Unruly Class'

Baghaturia's comments drew the ire of fellow deputy Azer Suleimanov. His family's country of origin, Azerbaijan, is a staunch ally of Turkey, which rejects the term "genocide" for the Armenian mass killings.

When Baghaturia dismissed his objections with a wave of his hand, Suleimanov angrily reached into his pocket, drew out a tube of Vaseline and flung it at Baghaturia.

The pair quickly began scuffling and had to be separated by security. (see video of the scuffle here)

The brawl drew in several other deputies and involved Baghaturia throwing his pen at a lawmaker from the ruling party (who, incidentally, slapped an opposition deputy last year in an argument over the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia).

Parliament speaker David Bakradze eventually put an end to the dispute by saying that discord in parliament would only serve to benefit Georgia's "only enemy," likely a veiled reference to Russia.

Ironically, the brawl was witnessed by a group of schoolchildren who had come for a lesson in civic education.

"It looks," Bakradze had told the children as deputies prepared for the session, "like our class is noisier than yours!"

Written by Claire Bigg, based on reporting by Mzia Paresishvili

Claire Bigg

Claire Bigg covers Russia, Ukraine, and the post-Soviet world, with a focus on human rights, civil society, and social issues. Send story tips to​


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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
April 25, 2012 19:04
"It looks," Bakradze had told the children [...] "like our class is noisier than yours!"
I definitely like the end...nice dénouement...despite the disenchanting dimensions...

I don't understand why an Azeri deputy in Georgia cannot accept a question relating to Armenian and in a way human history...without being's not the time of the Khans and king Dimitry „Tawdadebuli“ anymore...
If the Georgian parliament, against the backdrop of conscientious effort to find the truth, eventually accepts to define certain historical events between 1915 and 1916 as „genocide“ it seems that even an Azeri delegate, and whatsoever-ethnic-background-parliamentarians would have to cope with such a situation.

Anyway, it's no secret that the Turkish Prime Minister defined even the killings of Uighurs and the deadly clashes with Uighurs involved, in China during the riots (2009, ... I guess) as „genocide“...
None the less, for a Georgian commission it would be indispensable not to recur to misinterpretations, instrumentalization and manipulation of the concept of „genocide“...

The subsequent definitions might be intriguing and somewhat helpful. Yet, of course, Enver Pasha and others should not be forgotten...Anyway, here are some definitions:
Porter: Genocide is the deliberate destruction, in whole or in part, by a government or its agents, of a racial, […] religious […] minority. It can involve not only mass murder, but also starvation, forced deportation, and […] subjugation. Genocide involves three major components: ideology, technology, and bureaucracy/organization.[
Lemkin: By 'genocide' we mean the destruction of an ethnic group [...] genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation […] It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups . .
The crime of genocide should be recognized therein as a conspiracy to exterminate national, religious or racial groups. […]
Dadrian: Genocide is the successful attempt by a dominant group, vested with formal authority and/or with preponderant access to the overall resources of power, to reduce by coercion or lethal violence the number of a minority group whose ultimate extermination is held desirable and useful […].
Katz: Genocide is the mass murder of as many people as possible on the basis of born national, ethnic, racial or religious identity as such; with intent to eliminate the targeted group entirely and internationally; without allowing the victims any option to change views, beliefs or allegiances to save themselves; [...] Genocide leaves in its wake an extinct or nearly extinct group within the territory under the control of the perpetrators.

part II shortly...

by: Sey from: World
April 26, 2012 00:34
Long live hypocrisy and double standards. Georgia recognizes Circassian Genocide just out of pure desire to anger Russia, but it does not have the "nuts" to recognize Armenian Genocide because it might anger Turkey/Azerbaijan.

And same thing goes for Armenia. Armenia should be the first country recognizing Assyrian, Pontic Greek, Circassian, and most recently Chechen genocides, all of them out of pure respect. When will a parliament resolution condemning the mass killing of Assyrians will pass in the Armenian NA?

Either you recognize all of them, or you recognize non. You cannot tell one people "Your historical pain does not suit or agenda", or you will face these kind of shows by officials.
In Response

by: Circassian from: Circassia
April 26, 2012 22:38
Exactly. The sad irony is that most Circassians do not respect this decision and view Georgia with distrust and contempt in light of their continuous policies against Abkhazia (their brethren) and their documented active participation in the Russian imperialist genocide against them. I fear hypocrisy when it comes to Georgia has become a imbedded trait.
In Response

by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA, USA
April 29, 2012 04:42
FYI: Armenia has long recognized the genocides of Greeks and Assyrians, and commemorates them annually.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 26, 2012 05:20
Finally we know what the biggest problem that Georgia faces is: to recognize the Armenian genocide as such or not to :-).

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
April 26, 2012 08:50
The biggest problem of Georgia (the present Georgian leadership) this is, what they say about other genocides and at the same time say nothing about "their own"-
-Georgian Genocide..

Thousands of Georgian women, children and elderly were killed by аbkhaz criminals, hundreds of thousands forcibly expelled from Abkhazia, where they lived hundreds of years...but in the Georgian parliament -stupid uneducated MPs discuss the problems of Armenians and Circassians.

Everyone immediately to the front!!Saakashvili's armored car in front..and all the other stupid slackers -windbag behind him..
The military task:
capture of аbkhaz criminals- guilty of war crimes and the release of illegally seized property from the wild mountain tribes..

Parliament of Georgia as a bunch of slackers rubbing they pants, should be abolished...
In Response

by: Frank
April 26, 2012 14:01
These instances aren't as identical as some suggest.

In the early 1800s, the Georgians showed a general preference for the Russian Empire over the Ottoman Empire. The Circassians were more mixed on this issue. The ones who remained in the Russian Empire were generally loyal to that entity. During the Russian Civil War, a good number of them fought on the White side. In exile, thee White Russian and these Circassian elements fraternized with each other.

In contemporary Syria, the Circassian community tends to side with the Syrian government, while not viewing Russia with considerable negativity.

BTW, the Georgians on the whole haven't been completely exempt of wrongdoing against Circassians.
In Response

by: Circassian from: Circassia
April 26, 2012 22:43
Yes, you are right, but not so much in regards to the Circassians siding with the Syrian government. This is not exactly true.

In regards to Georgian involvement in the Circassian genocide, please note the following:

Excerpt from Stanislav Lakoba's ''Двуглавый орел и традиционная Абхазия'' (Double-headed eagle, traditional Abkhazia)

In the suppression of the last pockets of resistance in the Caucasus, Georgian militia, loyal servants of the autocratic state, played a significant role. Together with the Russian troops, they took part in the victory parade at Krasnaya Polyana on 21 May 1864. And on 9 June, as a crowd gathered, Tiflis Marshal of the Nobility, Dmitri Kipiani, greeted the Governor of the Caucasus, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich Romanov, with the words:

"Your Imperial Highness! You have completed the conquest of the Caucasus and have thus incorporated in history an event of enormous importance that is inseparable from your name. Persons selected by the Georgian nobility bring your Imperial Highness congratulations in the name of all social classes."

In June, the autocratic state abolished the Abkhazian monarchy and instituted a temporary "military-national administration." Thereafter, Abkhazia was renamed the Sukhum Military Department of the Russian Empire. General P. N. Shatilov became Head of the Department on 12 July 1864.

- Many Georgians were eager to take advantage of the privileges associated with imperial service, associate themselves with Europe's notion of progress, and also distinguish themselves from nearby rival and Islamic peoples such as the North Caucasus mountaineers.[5]

- Service records from the imperial era left in what has recently been renamed the Georgian National Archive illustrate the important role played by Georgians in various wars against both mountaineers and the Ottoman Turks.[6]

- Colonel Giorgi Tsereteli from Kutaisi, for example, not to be confused with the writer and sometime theater critic referred to later in this article, managed to survive fighting in Chechnia and Dagestan from 1855-59, service on the Lezgin Line after the conquest, and combat in the war of 1877-78 against the Turks. In 1876 he helped put down a rebellion in Svanetia.[7]

- After the conquest, a Georgian was considered sufficiently reliable to administer troublesome Dagestan oblast¢ in the 1880s. [8]

- Tbilisi served not only as the base of imperial administration and a growing imperial educated society, but also as an anchor for the Russian military in their prosecution of the long Caucasus War.[9]
In Response

by: Frank
April 27, 2012 11:48

Refer to:
In Response

by: Circassian from: Circassia
April 27, 2012 15:05
Frank, I'm not saying that some Circassians are not pro-Assad (if not mostly due to the opportunities that were presented to them via the military and police, which the Circassians seem to thrive with no matter which country they live in). But I would not make the presumption that they ALL are pro-Assad. That is all I'm saying. Finally, I would take a lot of what these sites say with a grain of salt. I have family from there and I speak from personal knowledge of the communities there.

by: Nebojsa from: London
April 26, 2012 09:05
Clair Biggs (do your homework, please) may be oblivious to it, but surely Mzia Paresishvili should have known better. Azer Suleymanov's country of origin is not Azerbaijan, it's Georgia. He is a Georgian MP and ethnic Azeri. There are hundreds of thousands ethnic Azeris in Georgia and they deem Georgia their homeland. Turkey or ASzerbaijan, for that mmater, have nothing to do with this. But then again... it's RL/RFE... very simplistic understanding of the world...
In Response

by: Mamuka
April 26, 2012 11:57
I think the members of the Georgian parliament should vote "present" on this one.

by: Anonymous
April 26, 2012 12:25
part II as promised...last definitions...

Bauer: [Genocide is] the planned destruction, [...] of a racial, national, or ethnic group as such, by the following means: (a) selective mass murder of elites or parts of the population; (b) elimination of national (racial, ethnic) culture and religious life […]; (c) enslavement [...] (d) destruction of national (racial, ethnic) economic life [...] (e) biological decimation through the kidnapping of children, or the prevention of normal family life [...] [Holocaust is] the planned physical annihilation, for ideological or pseudo-religious reasons, of all the members of a national, ethnic, or racial group.
Horowitz: [Genocide is] a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Genocide represents a systematic effort over time to liquidate a national population, usually a minority . . .

So, anybody who wants to relate the events in 1915-16 to the aforementioned definitions might make up his own mind...Self-evidently, all conflicts might apply. Yet, the criteria of some of the definitions may be the time of judgement...
Anyway...ethnic affiliation seems neither a reasonable nor a judicious base to define events as genocide...
In Response

by: vn from: Belgrade
April 27, 2012 16:38
A very useful reference on the subject of genocide. I was wondering how could anyone with all these citations and knowledgeable on the subject of war, or at least half literate, be so uneducated as to have branded the Srebrenica case as genocide. Again, this is not to undervalue the significance of Srebrenica issue, however, out of a number of more appropriate definitions someone has intentionally put the unjust one, and is freely enjoying the conspiracy of perpetrating delibarate genocidal actions (as stated above) against the non-Muslims in the Balkans.

Yes, the double standards are obvious: for Bosnia and Kosovo play sychophancy towards the Turks, and for all the other non-flattering cases, by all means, favor and protect the Turks. May God save such UN deals.

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