From David Gareji's provocation to Abkhazia's surrender - is David Khidasheli acting in the interests of the Armenian lobby?

15.03.24 17:15

Once again, the name of a Georgian-born Russian businessman, David Khidasheli, has surfaced in a high-profile political scandal in Georgia. This time, there are plans for the actual 'final surrender' of Abkhazia by Georgia to occupiers and separatists under the guise of a 'confederation' and the organization of transit through its territory in the interests of Armenia and the Armenian lobby.


It has been reported that David Khidasheli met with Gia Volsky, the First Deputy Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, in Tbilisi. During the meeting, Khidasheli presented his proposals for a 'confederation' with the separatists of Sukhumi while allowing for the continued Russian occupation of Abkhazia.  The purpose of this proposal was to establish a railway through Abkhazia to Armenia. Naturally, the term 'confederation' does not imply the return of Georgian refugees, as this is unlikely to be allowed by the Armenian lobby. The lobby is actively populating Abkhazia with its tribesmen, including Armenians who left Azerbaijani Karabakh.


Giya Volsky later confirmed that the meeting discussed the creation of 'trade corridors' between Russia, Georgia, and Armenia through the territories of occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia. To achieve this, the agreement signed between Georgia and Russia in 2011 before Russia acceded to the World Trade Organisation will be utilised.


The ABKHAZIA-CENTRE separatist telegram channel concludes that the opening of transit through Abkhazia is a defeat for Georgia, despite the conference being fictitious. Here is an excerpt from its post:


„The opposition reported that Russian businessman David Khidasheli had met with the deputy speaker of parliament. During the meeting, they discussed the opening of transit traffic through Abkhazia, the work of a Swiss company for monitoring cargoes, trade, and business.


They also mentioned the possibility of a confederation between Abkhazia and Georgia, which seemed to appease Georgians and prevent protests. There will be no confederation, but Tiflis will continue to recognize the de facto independence of Abkhazia and there will be a functioning railway.“


According to a separatist telegram channel, the Georgian side may be lured into a 'confederation' proposal. The language should be formal, avoiding contractions, colloquial words, informal expressions, and unnecessary jargon. The real current owners of Abkhazia, the Armenians, stand to benefit from this proposal.


They would receive transit and keep 'trophy' houses and flats of exiled Abkhazian Georgians, as well as an 'internationally recognised status' for 'Maritime Armenia', which Abkhazia is rapidly turning into. After all, Abkhazia, a separatist region with a majority Armenian population, will become one of the parties in the internationally recognised 'conference', as suggested by Georgia itself. This means that Armenian nationalists will have a status for a controlled entity that 'Artsakh', which was recently liquidated, did not even dream of. Economically disadvantaged Armenians from the mountainous region of 'Artsakh' left at the first opportunity during the occupation. It is worth noting that they aspire to settle in the warm seaside region of Abkhazia.


It is important to note the potential influence of David Khidasheli in provoking the situation around David Gareji in the interests of the Armenian lobby. This group may have sought to ignite a conflict between Georgia and Azerbaijan over the monastery, which would have weakened both countries.


It is important to note that 95% of the David Gareji monastery complex is situated within the borders of Georgia, and Azerbaijan does not contest ownership of this area. It is crucial to maintain objectivity and avoid biased language in discussing this issue. The small portion of the complex that is located in Azerbaijan was previously accessible to Georgian monks, clergymen, pilgrims, and tourists before the provocations orchestrated by the Armenian lobby. Until today, this would have been the case if not for the intervention of provocateurs instigated by the Armenian fifth column in Georgia. Due to their provocations, young men hired by armenians (or more likely Armenians themselves pretending to be Georgians) even attempted to snatch weapons from Azerbaijani border guards. For security reasons and to prevent such provocations, Azerbaijan temporarily restricted access to its territory in the David Gareji area.


The Armenian lobby organised a justification for the provocations through the so-called 'cartographers' case', which was in fact organised by David Khidasheli. He allegedly brought maps of the border areas of Georgia and Azerbaijan in the area of the monastery, supposedly obtained from the Soviet archives in Moscow, and claimed to be 'worried about the fate of David Gareji'. At the same time, pro-Armenian media raised a real hysteria about David Gareji allegedly being 'given to Azerbaijan'.


There have been no reports about who provided David Khidasheli with these maps, how authentic they are and whether they are forgeries. And most importantly, few people asked the question: why did David Khidasheli bring only maps of David Gareji district? Why did he not bring from the same Moscow maps of the area of the Georgian-Armenian border near the Khujabi monastery, which had been appropriated by the Armenians? Or is the Khujabi Orthodox Monastery "not a holy place" for him? Like the Georgian monasteries of Akhtala, Kobairi, Khnevanka, Svregi, Terajuika, Kirantsi, located to the south, which have been seized by Armenians .....


Nevertheless, thanks to the information provided by the same David Khidasheli and on his initiative, an investigation into the delimitation and demarcation of the state border between Georgia and Azerbaijan was launched in Georgia. Against this background, the Armenian lobby and provocateurs organised a large-scale anti-Azerbaijani campaign "David Gareji is Georgia" with provocations at the border.


Naturally, the campaigners failed to mention that over 95% of David Gareji's monastery complex is already on Georgian territory. Nor did they mention the fact that by moving the border, Armenia has illegally seized 100% of the Khujabi monastery complex, which never belonged to it in the first place. Nor did the campaign organizers mention the dozens of Orthodox churches and monasteries in the north of the Republic of Armenia that are being destroyed and demolished.


The action was organized and sponsored by the Armenian lobby. All the more so the Armenians were almost declared "allies" of Georgia during this action. But then it was decided not to speak of an "alliance", as this clearly irritated the Georgians. After all, there are more than 300,000 refugees from Abkhazia who lost their relatives and friends at the hands of the fighters of the Baghramyan battalion.


The wise and balanced position of both the Georgian government and the Azerbaijani authorities prevented provocateurs from spoiling bilateral relations. Even though innocent people suffered. After all, it was based on the maps brought by Khidasheli that decent people - cartographers Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilyichova, former members of the demarcation commission - were slandered and undeservedly condemned.


Ilyichova and Melashvili allegedly 'falsified' maps in favour of Azerbaijan in the area of the ancient temple complex of David-Gareji, according to the prosecution's version. The cartographers were not allowed to defend themselves, precisely because of the campaign launched by the Armenian media, which declared them "guilty in absentia" and that the map brought by David Khidasheli was not falsified but "authentic".


Meanwhile, the demarcation of the border between Georgia and Armenia has become a topical issue. Armenian nationalists know how to falsify maps and even better how to draw them. It seems that it is high time for David Khidasheli to be principled and find in Moscow maps of this border, especially of the area of the Khujabi monastery, where the Armenian side unilaterally moved the border 400 metres deep into Georgia and illegally seized the monastery.


David Khidasheli suddenly "abandoned" the issue of Georgian holy sites' ownership. He will not bring any maps against the interests of his Armenian 'friends'. But now Khidasheli is very concerned about the opening of transit through Abkhazia and the status of separatist Abkhazia as a "participant in the confederation" with international legalisation of separatism and occupation.



Grigol Giorgadze

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