Armenia–Georgia relations - Wikipedia
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The mainly positive historical memories also play a role in fomenting friendly images within both societies. In recent years, hundreds of thousands Armenian tourists have visited the Georgian Black Sea coast, thus fostering people-to-people contacts.
The Armenians living in Georgia are another tool to bolster bilateral connections. The political dialogue is marked by frequent visits of high level officials- the last visit of the Armenian President to Georgia was in December and the Georgian Prime Minister visited Yerevan only last week.
Yet, there is a lack of clear articulation of strategic rationale behind the bilateral relations. Armenia is firmly anchored in the Russian sphere of influence.
Armenia & Georgia: Resilient Relationship
However, Armenia is in urgent need of state modernization and systemic reforms, otherwise it risks losing its tough competition with Azerbaijan in the long-term perspective.
Russia is neither able nor willing to contribute to the modernization of the Armenian State. Russia itself is suffering too much from a myriad of similar problems — rampant corruption, lack of good governance and independent judiciary, low level of transparency and accountability — to be able to support Armenia to overcome those symptoms. In such circumstances, the only viable source of assistance in modernization efforts for Armenia is the Euro-Atlantic community.
The Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership agreement was a step in the right direction, but its implementation will require enormous efforts both by government and society.
In such circumstances, Georgia may well serve as a strategic channel towards the Euro-Atlantic community for Armenia. Armenia is a landlocked country, without common border with its main strategic partner — Russia; while Georgia possesses access to the Black Sea, and actually divides Armenia from Russia.
Georgia, in its turn, has experienced a war and cut diplomatic relations with Russia while consistently pursuing integration into western alliances such as EU and NATO; it has lost its conflicts with breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that were supported by Russia, which has recognised their sovereignty, stations military bases there and is step-by-step incorporating them; Georgia maintains friendly relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan and is a party to several transportation projects bypassing Armenia, latest being the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad  ; Georgia is an essentially multi-ethnic country, with Armenians making the second biggest minority group ca.
The Rationale behind Armenia-Georgia Strategic Partnership
Armenian-Georgian relations are characterised by certain asymmetry and differing priorities. Georgia is one of favourite destinations for Armenians visiting their relatives in Georgia, or enjoying vacation by the Black Sea. At the same time, Georgia is involved in alternative transport corridors circumventing Armenia.
Armenia in its turn wants to have access to Russia via strategically important railroad passing through Abkhazia, not a welcome perspective for Tbilisi. Armenia is concerned with the possibility of new Georgian-Russian tensions that may endanger Armenian transit, including the disruption of the critical gas pipeline from Russia, and worried by close cooperation of Georgia with Azerbaijan and Turkey seen as a challenge to its security.
There is differing perception of issues related to ethnic Armenians in the Javakheti region of South Georgia.
From Armenian perspective local Armenians experience problems with receiving quality education in their native language and encounter discrimination in economic and political spheres. There is also an on-going dispute over cultural heritage, namely a number of churches claimed by the Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese in Georgia, while any counter-claims are considered groundless.
New prospects in Armenia-Georgia relations
Sporadic Armenophobic rhetoric by some public figures in Georgia would also attract much unfavourable attention . Georgian perspective is often quite different.
Compactly living Armenian community in Javakheti is often seen as a source of concern, due to its reluctance to get more integrated into the Georgian society for fear of assimilation.
The majority of Javakheti Armenians have been resettled from Turkey by the Russian Empire in the 19th c.
The Rationale behind Armenia-Georgia Strategic Partnership - Georgia Today on the Web
In addition, until relatively recently some influential Armenian politicians and groups would claim annexation of Javakh as a legitimate political objective . More suspicions were added by political statements like by former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan who in the wake of the Georgian-Russian war accused Georgia of attempted genocide of Ossetians  ; or by the history of strong military role of Armenians in Abkhazia fighting against Georgians.
While above-listed concerns on both sides are real and mostly justified, Armenian and Georgian authorities have demonstrated sufficient resilience toward these challenges, steadfastly pursuing policy of cooperation and mutual benevolence.
Speaking of outside influences, probably the biggest factor here is Russia. Even while Russian efforts are hardly aimed directly at disrupting Armenian-Georgian relations, the impact of every Russian action influences bilateral relations.
While Russia possesses less leverage over Georgia, its propaganda is equally disruptive, aiming to indoctrinate vulnerable citizens by anti-western rhetoric. Such actions may again have limited direct influence over Georgian-Armenian relations, but the Russian threat, frequent discussions by Russian governmental think-tanks e. Turkey is one more strong influence, as one of the biggest trade partners, transit destinations, and providers of military assistance, although friendly attitudes towards it are increasingly mixed with a dose of mistrust and caution.
There are numerous internal factors too. Primarily, these comprise public attitudes, expectations and grievances that the two governments take into account.