The only school operating in Batumi city of Georgia was closed because of the small number of students.
Leader of Georgian-Armenian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan told Armenian News – NEWS.am that the Diocese is currently working with the Georgian Ministry of Education towards opening an Armenian school in Adjara.
“Many parents don’t know Armenian, it being hard for them to bring their children to an Armenian school. Thus, they took them mainly to Russian and Georgian schools,” the Bishop noted.
Pursuant to the census conducted in Georgia in November 2014, up to 8,000 Armenians reside in Batumi, 1,000-1,500—in Kobuleti and 1,500—in Chakvi. According to Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, in the recent years many Armenians return from Moscow and other countries to work in Adjara.
“The number of Armenians in Adjara declined in the 90s. Currently, no drastic decline in the number of Armenian population in Adjara is observed. On the contrary, the Armenians, who moved to Moscow or other places, return to Batumi and work there. They mainly engage in business—small and medium-sized. The youths provide different services on ships, working in the sphere of services,”he noted.
In Mirzakhanyan’s words, Adjara Armenians mainly face no issues related to work, since they live in a seashore region and know the language, which helps them integrate into the Georgian society. “It is easier for them to find a job. Some of them have turned their houses into hotels and manage earning money that way. Unlike those living in other settlements, the Armenians here are integrated into the society, there being no ethnic discrimination. The Armenian population here mainly speaks Russian. They also know Georgian and thus have no language issue,” he added.
Large number of Turks and Azeris live in Adjara but, according to the Bishop, this circumstance raises no obstacles for the local Armenians. There are no anti-Armenian sentiments. Moreover, many Armenians find jobs in the companies of Turkish businessmen. “Many Turkish companies also employ Armenians, who know Turkish. Surb Prkich church operates in Batumi, and oddly enough, many Turkish tourists visit it. There are no stressed anti-Armenian sentiments and they have never existed. The pastor of the church is Priest Ter Ararat Kumbaryan. Since 2014, Alexander Mantashyan Educational and Cultural Center has been operating: it includes a kindergarten, Sunday school and clubs. The Adjara Armenians lead quite an active cultural life,” Mirzakhanyan stressed.