Armenian Revolution leader's visit to Georgia

Malkhaz Tsulukiani, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Armenian Revolution leader's visit to Georgia

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was received in Tbilisi with special honor for two reasons. First, Pashinyan's first official visit was paid to Georgia, while his visit to Russia was of a working nature. Second, the Georgian authorities watched the events in Armenia with caution - the local opposition did not hide that they perceive the "Armenian revolution" as a precedent, and the developments in Georgia may be similar.

This was directly said by former President Mikhail Saakashvili. It was no accident that Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili greeted "the Armenian people's wisdom, unity and adherence to democratic ideals. In this way, the Georgian prime minister, who, according to the Constitution, has full authority in the country, openly supported the overthrow of the previous Armenian government, declared this act "a manifestation of the fair will of the people" and dissociated himself from deposed Serzh Sargsyan, hinting that his government is as progressive as Pashinyan's government, and therefore should not be overthrown. Thus, Pashinyan became the "legitimator" of the current authorities and weakened the opposition's chance to arrange something like "Yerevan Spring" in Tbilisi.

But it was not only political implication during the visit. The parties "compared the notes" on many issues of the Armenian-Georgian relations. Kvirikashvili noted that the two countries "have a good chance to start a new round of relationships based on mutual respect." In his turn, Pashinyan called Tbilisi a city that "is filled with energy of common history of Armenians and Georgians." Concluding the "revolutionary theme", one can also note the enthusiastic reception prepared by the Armenian community of the Georgian capital for the new Armenian PM. They almost idolised him, ​​thereby confirming that the revolution in Yerevan was genuinely supported by Armenians living in other countries.

At the talks in the expanded format, the sides discussed the deepening of trade and economic relations. But the issue of railroad traffic from Russia to Armenia through the territory of Abkhazia was not on the agenda. But most recently, Russia and Georgia signed a contract with the Swiss company SGS on trade corridors, with a possible railroad at one of which. However, the prime ministers decided to bypass this sensitive topic, taking into account the involvement of other important regional players in the project.

Pashinyan preferred to talk about his personal contribution to strengthening the Georgian-Armenian friendship: "I have always worked on this, including being a journalist and then a deputy, and now I will do it as prime minister." He thanked the Georgian journalists who participated in covering the events in Yerevan: "I have often seen them and am glad that I see them again in Tbilisi."

Armenia's Prime Minister also held meetings with Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, visited the Armenian Hovhannes Tumanyan House scientific-cultural center and the Armenian Apostolic Saint Gevork Church.

Pashinyan also visited Javakheti, the Georgian region inhabited by Armenians. This is one of the delicate areas of bilateral relations, as there are problems in the region with the ownership of churches and other cultural heritage sites, the use of the state language, the regime of border crossing, illegal storage of weapons and crime. However, Pashinyan smoothed things over diligently and turned his visit into another demonstration of support for the new Armenian authorities, which, as the enthusiastic people believe, will solve all the Armenian problems - both current and historical.