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South Caucasus
An Azerbaijani mother in Tekali
An Azerbaijani mother in Tekali
Photo: Vahe Avetyan


“The South Caucasian Integration: An Alternative Start” is the name of a civil initiative whose authors created a Peacekeeping Center in the village of Tekali in the Marneuli region of Georgia (this is the nearest settlement to the crossing point of the borders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia).

The Tekali process started in 2011, during a meeting of public activists, journalists and experts from the three states of the South Caucasus. Since that time, about twenty discussions on regional security and human rights issues were held in Tekali, and two art festivals have taken place. The Tekali process is particularly important for the involvement of representatives of different nationalities, professions, people of different ages, with different political views, interests, farmers from border villages, rural teachers, students and pupils, young researchers from Europe.

And most importantly, activists from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia who advocate the need for a peace process and civil dialogue are constantly discussing ways of resolving the Karabakh conflict and solving at least everyday problems of the population of the conflict zone exhausted by the war.

What is the peculiarity of Tekali? This village has a unique geographical location: it is located 70 kilometers from Tbilisi, 10 kilometers from the border point "Red Bridge" on the Georgian-Azerbaijani border and 30 kilometers from the border point "Sadakhlo" on the Georgian-Armenian border. Participants of the “Alternative Start” call Tekali the center of the Caucasus, and from a house standing on the edge of the village, the state border is visible, beyond which there are Armenian and Azerbaijani positions, with visible trenches, dugouts and soldiers. From the Georgian side the border is free.

Of course, the implementation of a civic initiative would have been impossible without the support of the Tekali residents, who give their homes to hold meetings of the supporters of peace process and dialogue. Several meetings took place at the house of Mushvig Namazov. It is this house that many participants in the Tekali process associate with the free space of dialogue. However, one day, instead of civil activists, dozens of law enforcement officers came to Mushvig Namazov's house, and, according to eyewitnesses, it looked like an attack.


On November 11, 2015, the Namazovs 'neighbors recall, about 30 people, some of whom were in civilian clothes, and others in black special uniforms, without showing documents and a search warrant, broke into the Namazovs' house. At that time, Mushvig's 75-year-old mother, Etar Banat-kizi, and his wife, Aygun Namazova, were in the house.

Despite her age, Etar Banat-kizi remembers well the details of that day, January 29, 2016. She recalls: I and my daughter-in-law Aygun were in the house. Suddenly the yard gate swings opened, and strangers in black uniforms came in. They asked for my grandson Musa, and I told them that I did not understand Georgian. They didn't even say who they were or what they wanted. I tried to stop them, but they pushed me so that I fell and they dragged me away. One by one, people I did not know with truncheons entered; when I shouted, my daughter-in-law came, but she was also rudely pushed away and she fell.

Aygun Namazova, with whom we talked on the same day as with Banat-kizi, reports: There were about 30 people. I persistently asked them who they were and what they wanted, but they didn’t seem to hear me. Then they invaded the house, but they didn’t let me in, hitting me with truncheons. I heard how they turn everything over, open cabinets, move furniture, others began to dig in the yard - just imagine, they even searched the trash cans. They started looking for something in the backyard, entered the barn, and turned everything over there. What they wanted, I did not understand until they began to take something out of the house.

Correspondent: And what did they take?

Aygun Namazova: I don’t know, probably everything that came to hand: a TV set, some tables, dishes.

Etar Banat-kizi: In the house, in a drawer of the table under the TV, I had my pension money hidden, neatly wrapped in cloth. 2000 lari.

According to a neighbor of the Namazovs, Karim Mammadov, who understands a little Georgian, he tried to learn at least something from people in uniform, but, according to him, instead of answering, he was beaten with a truncheon.
Karim_Mamedov Karim Mamedov recalls January 31 of this year: I counted 10-11 cars near the Namazovs' house, some with flashing lights. Hearing a noise in the Namazovs' courtyard, I went there, entered the courtyard and saw how they treated the old woman, I blocked her - I said, why are you beating her, and they knocked me down to the ground. Mushvig Namazov’s brother, Mansur Namazov, lives next door, and one might say, he got the most in this incident.

We met with Mansur Namazov after talking with Mamedov, on the same day: My house is across the street, a little further from my brother's house. I was standing outside when I noticed a lot of cars. I went into the courtyard, it was full of people I did not know. Naturally, when I saw my mother in this state, I protested. I called my brother and told him what was going on. When I once again reproached them for the violence against the old woman and protested, aggressive people insulted me, first verbally, and then physically.

* * *

Here, we will temporarily interrupt the story of Mansur Mammadov in order to present you the statement of Mushvig Namazov, which was presented to the Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paate Zakareishvili in December last year due to the events that took place in his family that day and subsequent events:

“I would like to inform you that I am an Azerbaijani by nationality and live with my family at the address mentioned above. On November 11, 2015, officers from the executive bureau of the police broke into my house in the village of Takalo, Marneuli district, and turned over the whole house. They physically and verbally abused (including on ethnic grounds) my brother Mansur Namazov, knocked him down and handcuffed him. Force and other completely illegal actions were also used against my mother, who is 75 years old, as a result of which my mother was injured. When the executive police broke into my house, I was in Marneuli, and as soon as they called me, I immediately went to the village. I saw the indescribable barbarity and immediately called the police for help; in particular, I called 112 on my mobile phone and demanded the police to intervene, since I did not know who they were. These persons inflicted verbal and physical abuse on my family members. I would also note here that I called 112 twice, they saw that I called the police, the situation was neutralized, and soon officers from the police department of our area arrived. They told me that since I called 112, I must go to the police to testify. I obeyed the order of the police and went with them to the police station. After I was taken to the police, the same persons committed violence against my family for the second time; they invaded my house and took things out from there. It was at this time that they knocked my brother Mansur Namazov to the floor and handcuffed him, thereby limiting his freedom. After that, they began to scold and beat him. Here I will note that my mother was feeling sick, an ambulance was called, and in the evening, due to her deteriorating health, we transported her to the Marneuli regional hospital, where she received medical care. The most interesting and outrageous thing is that the department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Marneuli region an investigation against our family members began under the article of “resisting the police”. On the basis of the above, an investigator of the Marneuli police Betkili Gerliani interrogated me, my two sons and my brother as witnesses. I want to categorically state to you that there was no resistance on our part, we also did not even know who they were, since they did not give any explanations about this. Because of their illegal actions, my family members suffered physically, they also broke doors and things in the house. I wonder what kind of resistance we could show to almost 25 people armed with truncheon? We are in a difficult situation, and I demand that you help us. I really hope that the truth is never lost, and I am sure that it will be so in this case as well. My mother, a 75-year-old woman, is in critical condition, her blood pressure drops every day, and she needs medical assistance. The investigation also prohibited me to cross the Georgian border. I often had to travel to Azerbaijan, and thanks to my small business, I supported the whole family. Today I was also restricted in this, despite the fact that I am neither a suspect nor accused. I was oppressed in every possible way, and, at the same time, an investigation was started against us completely illegally. No legal measures were taken against real criminals. Probably because these are persons with government positions. The investigation unlawfully restricted my right to travel. According to the Georgian Constitution, any citizen of Georgia has the right to freely leave Georgia. There is no law allowing for restriction of movement for a witness. I very much hope for your objectivity and impartiality, that you will study the circumstances given in my application and provide me with legal assistance. Based on all of the above, I ask you, within your competence, to take the measures provided by law and restore my violated rights."

* * *

Mansur Namazov confirms that he was indeed handcuffed, put in a car, and taken to Marneuli, where he was held in this condition near the building of the district court for almost two hours.
Mansur Namazov Mansur Namazov: “I ask the police why I was arrested and why they were handcuffed. For resisting the police - they answered. But I haven't done anything like that. Moreover, they kept me in handcuffs in the center of Marneuli for two hours, for some time alone, they went out on their own, then came back and said that they would write me a fine of 2.000 lari for resisting the police, if I do not admit my guilt in court, and if I admit, the fine will be 250 lari. I told them that I didn’t resist you, I don’t even know who you are, and therefore this ultimatum is unacceptable to me.”

The persons who broke into Namazov's house turned out to be officers of the executive police of the Ministry of Justice. This becomes clear from the act of detention of Mansur Namazov (act #000011).

The act is signed by the chief of the executive police, Alexander Metopishvili, who cites as a motive for the arrest “repeated disobedience to the lawful demand of an employee of the executive police during the performance of his official duties”. However, in the same act, Metopishvili notes that “the detainee, for unknown reasons, refused to sign and accept the act.”

Mansur Namazov: “I didn’t sign because I didn’t agree with the accusation indicated in the act, I didn’t put up resistance to anyone”. However, at the trial held on the same day, November 11, (judge Ivane Glonti), as recorded in the court ruling, “Mansur Namazov admitted the fact of an administrative offense indicated in the act, explained that there was a misunderstanding, and asked the court to reduce the amount of the administrative fine ".

Mansur Namazov: "They left me no other way, the judge relied entirely on the witness, and the only witness was the policeman - Alexander Metopishvili."

As a result, the court imposed on Namazov the payment of a fine of 250 laris.

While unknown police officers and the court were busy sorting out the case with Mansur Namazov, Etar Banat-kizi was transported to the hospital. Extract from certificate #8602 issued by the Marnul hospital in the name of Etar Banat-kizi: “The patient was brought to the clinic by her relatives, with complications: severe headache, dizziness, complains of pain in the right side of the sternum; according to the patient, she started complaining about two hours before hospitalization, mentioning that a police officer physically abused her." In the medical report, the doctor writes that the patient "has a wound, a skin defect ... hemorrhage ..." in the lower third of the right side of the sternum.

Later, Etar Banat-kizi made a statement to Prosecutor General Giorgi Badashvili, Minister of Justice Teya Tsulukiani, Public Defender Uche Nanuashvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Eke Beselia. In her statement, the elderly woman notes that people “unknown then” to her and her son Mansur Namazov ravaged her house, physically dealt with her and her son, Mansur Namazov, with the use of force they took out of the house furniture, a TV and a table in which she was hiding 2.000 laris. In connection with the incident, Etar Banat-kizi asks the addressees of the application to react.

In the photo: Extract from certificate #8602 issued by the Marnul hospital in the name of Etar Banat-kizi.
Certificate Certificate


In December 2014, Musa Namazov (Mushvig Namazov’s son) took a loan from “Finka Bank Sakartvelo” in the amount of 9 thousand laris for a period of 1 year. The guarantors for this loan were his relative Namaz Namazov and fellow villager Elkhan Kurbanov. At the same time, Elkhan Kurbanov took a loan from Finka Bank, and Musa Namazov became his guarantor. In other words, they took out loans, becoming each other's guarantors. The fact is that, according to Musa Namazov, and as evidenced by the documents, until July 2015 he honestly fulfilled his banking obligation, but then the payment schedule was violated. Elkhan Kurbanov also had problems due to the weather and low harvest. The bank waited for two months, then according to the head of Finka Bank Sakartvelo Bagrat Pipia, a warning was sent to the debtors, but when this did not work, the bank entered the recipients of the loan and their guarantors in the register of debtors and forwarded the case to the Executive Bureau Ministry of Justice. The Executive Bureau also sent a notice in Georgian to the debtors about the start of the office work. The Bureau obliged the debtors to pay 15 572 laris. “You are offered to voluntarily pay the amount entrusted to you within 7 (seven) days from the date of receipt of the notification. We clarify that in case of voluntary payment of the amount, you will only need to pay the amount entrusted to you and the cost previously paid by the creditor."

The executive bureau here also warns debtors that if they fail to fulfill their obligations, their bank accounts will be seized, and the property will be auctioned. The Namazov family says that they did not receive these warnings, and if they did, the documents were drawn up in Georgian, which no one in the family knows.

The fact that ethnic Azerbaijanis, due to their ignorance of the state language, often have problems with state bodies is a matter for separate discussion. According to the law, state bodies, in the case when representatives of ethnic minorities do not know the language, are obliged to communicate with them with the help of translators, especially when it comes to disputes. In this particular case, nothing of the kind happened. Moreover, as it happens in our practice, the state body invites the interested party to resolve the language problem by a notary.

At the same time, by the end of 2015, the Executive Bureau started fulfilling the requirements of Finca Bank, Musa Namazov was ordered to pay the full amount of not only his own debt, but also two loans of his friends, whose guarantor he was. Musa Namazov, neither before nor after the aggravation of the situation, did not recognize other people's two loans – according to him, he would pay his own debt, and the other two should be paid by debtors. Namazov demanded a court decision, which neither Finka Bank nor the Executive Bureau took into account, deciding to bring the land owned by Namazov to the auction. In addition, they took out of the parking lot and sold a car belonging to Musa Namazov without informing him about it.

On February 2, 2016, Musa Namazov wrote a complaint to the chairman of the Executive Bureau, Yoseb Bagaturia, of course, with the help of an interpreter: “I took a loan from Finka Bank”, which I pay in the form prescribed by law. Finca Bank registered two loans in my name by mistake. Based on this, the auction is illegal and my property should not be put up for auction." Due to the high risks, tough policies and high interest rates of banks in Georgia, people tend to believe that it is better not to deal with banks. Indeed, almost 200 thousand citizens of Georgia are registered as debtors in the banking system, and this figure is growing daily. Some have small debts, while others have millions. Despite this, the police officers of the Executive Bureau do not break into anyone's houses and, moreover, they do not beat anyone. In any case, such cases are very rare, and even then they happened only in the past. However, the family of Mushvig Namazov, for some reason, became an exception. On February 8, we also talked with Mr. Bagrat Pipia, who calls this incident unpleasant and gives his version of what happened: “Many residents of the Tekali village took mortgage loans, and the culture of debt repayment is very low in our country in general, and specifically in this village. They do not want to pay, and the Namazovs did not pay."

To the journalist's question if there are so many debtors of the bank in Tekali, why did it happen that the perpetrators raided directly to the Namazovs, Pipia said that on the day of the incident, the police of the Executive Bureau had a raid in the village and planned to visit different families. Therefore, they “stopped” at the Namazovs (yes, this is the word used by Pipia). When asked why the performers started with the Namazovs, whopaid off their debt, and for example, not to the person who also had a debt and whose guarantor was Musa Namazov, Pipia's answer was short: “Their turn will come".


After Mansur Namazov was administratively convicted, according to him, other people's debts were also charged on Musa Namazov, and Mushvig Namazov was restricted in his right of movement. Mushvig appealed not only to the Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili, but also sent a complaint to the Chairman of the Parliament David Usupashvili, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Eke Beselia, and the Public Defender Uche Nanuashvili in connection with the restriction of his rights as a citizen of Georgia. In one of his statements, Mushvig Namazov expressed his suspicion that he was being persecuted on ethnic grounds.
Mushvig Namazov However, in his conversation with us, Mushvig Namazov names a different and, in his opinion, more reasoned motive. “Both Yerevan and Baku are very closely following the Tekali peace process, of which I am an active participant. The ill-wishers of the peace process, people obsessed with spy mania blame us in thousands of sins, slander and accuse us of almost treason to their nation. I am not a supporter of a conspiracy theory, but what happened to my family makes me think that there are people in our country who do not like, if only out of respect for certain circles of the neighboring country, that we are gathering in this village, we are talking about peace and friendship, - says Mushvig Namazov, - otherwise how can we explain the situation when one is attacked in broad daylight, and the perpetrators are not punished, but, on the contrary, the victim is judged?" According to him, when those in power want to do this, they easily find a reason, and the controversial bank debt, with which the Namazovs do not agree, is just an excuse.

After Mushvig Namazov “disturbed” the parliamentarians, the government and the Public Defender, the prosecutor’s office became interested in his case and soon, “based on the interests of the investigation,” removed the restrictions imposed on him.

By the way, the assertion of Mushvig Namazov that the Tekali process and its active participants, for example, the soul and heart of the process Georgy Vanyan, are not favored either in Yerevan, or in Baku, is also confirmed by the periodically emerging anti-Tekali information campaigns. Moreover, Vanyan was even threatened with physical violence.

An interested reader, can be easily be convinced of this by using Google and typing in Russian, Armenian or Azerbaijani the words "Mushvig Namazov", "Georgy Vanyan", "Alternative start", "Tekali process" – and will see a lot of negative , defamatory materials. A lot will be found on the media supported by the Azerbaijani and Armenian government (for example, the Public Broadcaster of Armenia), and from media with dubious funding. Moreover, the controlled media of both countries even urged to abandon mutual contacts between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, and not to meet with Mushvig Namazov and Georgy Vanyan at all.

So what are the Tekali Civil Hearings? The whole essence of the process was formulated by Baku expert Zardusht Alizadeh at one of the last hearings in Tekali, while addressing a student from Yerevan, who was skeptical about a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict: “Asya, you can share your knowledge and opinions with your friends in Yerevan, so that they also think about the importance of peace and popularize the peace process. For example, my Tekali friend Samvel Beglaryan is changing before our eyes, and I am changing, changing a lot - as a result of the influence of my Georgian and Armenian friends”.

In general, any phenomenon, any activity is associated with specific people. This also happens in the case of Tekali: either is active, or inactively people create together a space, an environment where they openly talk about how repulsive the war is and how good the peace is, how bad it is when people are persecuted and killed according to their ethnicity or religion, and how good the multicultural environment is. As Mushvig Namazov notes, he follows these principles and therefore he joined the Tekali peace process.

* * *

Georgy Vanyan speaks about the Tekali process as a whole, about its role and significance, who, if taking into account the negative articles about him, himself needs some protection. The interview was recorded on February 12 this year.

Correspondent: What can you say about the significance of the Tekali process?

Georgy Vanyan: The Tekali process started in 2011, during a meeting of public figures, journalists and experts from the three countries of the South Caucasus. Since that time, about twenty public discussions around the problems of regional security and human rights, two art festivals have been held in Tekali. The main feature of the Tekali process is the diversity of participants including people of different political views, of different ages and generations, experts and professors with many years of professional experience, students, people of various professions, farmers from the borderlands of three countries, rural teachers and journalists, from capitals and border villages, European student researchers and journalists. In general, different people participate in Tekali meetings, who are united by interest or concern related to the unresolved conflicts in our region. They are also united by the desire to get acquainted and communicate with each other. When we have an opportunity to organize civil hearings with open announcements, more than a hundred people gather in Tekali, moreover, information is disseminated only through some websites;, I am sure that with better advertising much more people will be ready to spend their day in debating and getting new interlocutors and friends. The Tekali process provides a platform for communication that is more accessible to everyone than similar conferences and seminars, which are held for individual social groups or experts with a limited number of participants.

The Tekali process is not subordinated to the current political state of affairs, it is a democratic process, a process that is going “from below”, in spite of the political situation. In Tekali, which is the closest settlement in Georgia to the Armenian-Azerbaijani front line, meetings and events are held even during the military escalation in this area, and more than half of the meetings are directly devoted to discussing the possibilities of ordinary citizens to influence the situation and help maintain the ceasefire regime. The political mainstream in the South Caucasus, in all three countries, the authorities, the opposition and the expert community do not consider it important and popular to discuss the idea of ​​regional interaction and cooperation at this stage. Moreover, specific non-military options and scenarios for restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia, restoring international security in the region are not being discussed. It is these ideas that are discussed in Tekali, because, despite the so-called real politics, there is also real life and human rights, everyone's real need to live and not die, build the future of their children and not spend every day in fear, being afraid to look into the future. In Tekali, every citizen has the opportunity to show his position, to show his solidarity with the idea of ​​peace and cooperation.

The Tekali process is the most open process. Firstly, everyone has access to the microphone in Tekali, and no one controls and does not discuss in advance the speeches of the participants; everyone can express their opinion on any issue, advertise their activities and promote their ideas. At the same time, of course, the laws of Georgia are respected in Tekali, and any even small attempt to insult or incite hostility is instantly suppressed by the participants themselves, so there is no need for the intervention of the organizers. The Tekali process, each event is discussed in detail on the official website, where one can learn about each meeting in advance, and any journalist from any media can work in Tekali, without special accreditation. The significance of the Tekali process is in its uniqueness, and today, in the situation for 2015-2016, it is the only open and free platform for meetings of Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

Correspondent: What can you say about the importance of the participation of border residents in this process?

Georgy Vanyan: Different people from the borderland participate in the Tekali process. These people include representatives of non-governmental organizations, journalists who have participated in other regional projects, but the majority of them are ordinary people who have the opportunity to meet each other, for the first time in 20 years, as well as young people who see an Armenian or Azerbaijani for the first time in their life. There are even those who travel outside their country for the first time, although they live very close to the border. And the people of the borderlands not only see each other, but also communicate with interest and become friends.

All other projects carried out by governmental and non-governmental organizations in all three countries of the South Caucasus have educational or charitable character. Residents of the borderlands of all three countries, to a greater or lesser extent, are perceived not as residents of the crossroads, but as residents of the outskirts and they have practically no geographic and cultural privileges, be it trade, business, cultural ties or, moreover, politics - everything goes through the capitals. The Tekali process aims to raise the status of these people, to reveal their cultural and social potential, not through trainings and seminars, but through natural communication and through practice to defend their rights.

It should be noted that, thanks to the Tekali process, not only among the participants, but throughout Armenia, the stereotype was broken that the regions and villages of Georgia with a 100 percent Azerbaijani population are unsafe for the citizens of Armenia, the fears that Armenians have had since the times of the Karabakh movement, about the so-called genetic hostility of our peoples. Before the Tekali process, not a single car with Armenian numbers passed along the highway to the Red Bridge. Especially young people from Armenia, the new post-conflict generation literally experiences a shock when they understand that the fears they have about Azerbaijanis are pure fiction. And they are convinced of this not from humanistic books, but in reality, having spent a whole day in Azerbaijani houses, and communicating with both locals as well as the participants who came from Azerbaijan.

For the borderlands of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Tekali process is a cultural revolution. The villagers who were under regular shelling yesterday could not even imagine that they could be allowed to go to an international meeting and communicate with residents of a neighboring village.

Correspondent: And what about Mushvig in this process?

Georgy Vanyan: Mushvig Namazov was a participant in the Tekali meetings from the very beginning. In 2011-2014, meetings were held in various houses of the village of Tekali, more precisely in the courtyard of the houses where the tent was being built, and owners of houses, with the help of their fellow villagers, organized reception and accommodation for guests, as well as a large joint lunch for all participants.

During the festivals in 2012 and 2013, which were organized thanks to our friends and like-minded people from Berlin, we discussed the possibility of having our own space for Tekali meetings, since it is not very convenient to hold public events, especially movie screenings, musical evenings in ordinary houses. By this time, a circle of the main participants in the process had already formed, and especially the people of art among them asked me, as an organizer, to find a public platform for the Tekali process, where there would be more technical possibilities, and it would also be possible to receive more people. The idea of ​​opening a Peace Center or Peace House in Tekali has become more important. Then, at a meeting with the head of the rural community, which also includes the village of Tekali, I tried to find out if there is some place of communal land in Tekali that we could rent for a symbolic payment for our peacekeeping activities. There was no such land in Tekali. I also asked the Tekali people about the sale or lease of their private plots. And at one of the meetings, Mushvig Namazov came up to me and said that he wanted to donate part of his land to the Tekali process, and I invited him to announce this with the microphone, for all the participants. Mushvig is a taciturn person, but talking to him is enough to understand clearly why he wanted to become a sponsor of the Tekali process. And you can ask him why he did so, too.

Thus, 4 hectares of Mushvig Namazov's land were transferred to the full disposal of the Tekali process. Of course, we did not formalize the donation land, because Mushvig is one of us, a member of the Council of the Tekali Association, a non-governmental organization registered in Georgia, and whose goal is to develop the Tekali process. The fact that Mushvig provides us with his land is his contribution to the common cause.

I must say that when we transferred the activities to this land, which is located on the outskirts of the village and is very close to the border junction, Mushvig and the team of his fellow villagers who are helping us got a lot of tasks. First, they cleared and leveled the land that was previously used for planting. Secondly, every time a large tent is assembled there for the event, electricity is supplied, a temporary toilet is built and water is brought in. Now we do not have funds for construction, especially big one on this land, but, nevertheless, measures have been carried out there for two years.

Without the support of the Tekali people, there would have been no Tekali process. Of course, one can theoretically argue that hospitality is inherent in all Caucasian people, but here we are not talking about traditional hospitality. Mushvig Namazov is a strong and devoted person, and the fact that today the Tekali process exists, and a lot is written and spoken about it in different countries of the world and in different offices, is thanks to Mushvig Namazov, a citizen of Georgia of Azerbaijani origin, a rural entrepreneur, the father of a family, who took on themselves a very difficult civilian mission - to support peacekeeping and struggle for human rights.

So here, as in everything, the will and faith in the ideals of an individual person is important.

Unfortunately, the Tekali process added not only organizational concerns to Mushvig Namazov, but also created problems that require great courage to overcome. And while Mushvig holds his position, tens and hundreds of people involved in the Tekali process in three countries will have this opportunity to meet in Tekali.

Correspondent: Why do they dislike this process in Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi?

Georgy Vanyan: In Yerevan and Baku, the authorities did not want this process to begin and do not want it to continue. They, like any authorities, do not like processes independent of them, not under their control. And this is normal.

To some extent, the Tekali meetings are an extra headache for the Georgian authorities as well, at least for the reason that they calculate the possibility of provocations and speculations around this process.

Therefore, the authorities as such cannot love the Tekali process, although their individual representatives may show interest and even sympathize with this process.

And here the question is not whether they love it or not. The question is how the authorities react to this process, which is not under the auspices of one of them.

There are authoritarian regimes both in Armenia and in Azerbaijan, and, theoretically, both of these countries can openly “ban” the Tekali process with a number of traditional repressive means. There is no direct, coercive ban today, but a certain scenario is used to reduce the significance of this process, and eventually they want the process to end as if by itself - as a result of very hidden and disguised repressions, they are trying to create a picture of the failure of this process.

And the funniest thing is that at the initial period pressure on the participants of the process went in parallel in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and this is why it had the opposite effect. In the age of the Internet, when all countries operate practically in a common information field, such parallel attacks have only convinced the participants and the general public that this is an interesting, new and viable process.

But over time, the imbalance in the repressions became obvious, at first the pressure from Azerbaijan intensified; then as soon as it began to decrease, Armenia became more active. And now, I am sure, the source of repression is in Armenia. The Tekali process at all stages was perceived as an anti-imperialist, anti-Putin project. A project, which is opposed to the idea of ​​colonizing the post-Soviet space; culturally it is an anti-Putin, anti-KGB project. And the deeper and wider the occupation of Armenia by Russia becomes, the clearer and more insidious the repressions against the Tekali process have become.

Anti-democrats, being stuck in corruption and authorities prone to violence show themselves to the full in their attitude to such a small-scale project as the Tekali process. They need to constantly spread apathy, disbelief, fear around them. Therefore, even in this particular case, their methods are those of the KGB. To use blackmail, to break people - this is their task.

Over the past 10 years groups of the so-called titular intelligentsia and various declassed elements were developed in our region, to some degree, in each of the countries, being financed from hidden sources. In countries like Armenia, they merge with the authorities and the so-called opposition, and become an instrument of occupation, create developed organizational and business structures with a very specific goal: to keep control through provocations, fear and obscurantism.

* * *

The question is whether the Tekali process can withstand such conditions?

David Mchedlidze
Rustavi, Georgia
Photo by the author

Translation from Russian
Nazrin Gadimova-Akbulut