Georgian parliamentary committees endorsed on May 19 a draft resolution recognizing 19th century massacre and deportations of Circassians by the Tsarist Russia in the northwest Caucasus as “genocide”.
The move means that the one-page draft resolution is formally prepared for a voting in the Parliament.
A ruling party lawmaker, Nugzar Tsiklauri, who chairs the parliamentary committee for diaspora and Caucasus issues, said he would request the parliamentary speaker Davit Bakradze to include the draft resolution in the agenda of the May 20 parliamentary session.
On May 19 the draft was discussed at a joint hearing of four parliamentary committees – on diaspora issues; legal affairs; cultural issues and human rights.
The draft resolution reads that "pre-planned" mass killings of the Circassians by the Tsarist Russia in second half of 19th century, accompanied by "deliberate famine and epidemics", should be recognized as "genocide" and those deported during those events from their homeland, should be recognized as "refugees."
During the May 19 hearings lawmakers from the ruling party said that the resolution would be of significant importance in terms of "restoration of historic justice."
"Georgia, which tries to get away - and does it successfully in recent years - from the Soviet and Russian propagandistic space, wants to promote the history as it actually was and not the falsified history, which was imposed on us," ruling party MP Giorgi Gabashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee on culture and education, said.
He also said that Georgia would not have hurried with adoption of this resolution if Russia itself had acknowledged its crimes of the past.
MP Gia Tortladze said that the Georgian Parliament should even go further and recognize "Chechen genocide."
A ruling party lawmaker, Nugzar Tsiklauri, told Civil.ge last week that "the Chechen issue is also on the agenda."
“I can not say now a timeframe, but this issue will not be removed from our agenda,” he said.
There were only few dissent opinions voiced during the hearings on May 29. MP Jondi Bagaturia, leader of a small opposition party Georgian Troupe, said passing of "Circassian genocide" resolution would be "a right decision from the moral point of view"
"But I think we should be more pragmatic and think what the consequences of such decision might by. It will be difficult for me to support it," he said.
MP Bagaturia also recalled multiple appeals made to the Georgian Parliament by Georgia's Armenian community requesting recognition of the massacre of Armenians in Ottoman Empire as genocide. Such appeals, made by the Armenian community almost every year in April, remain unheeded by the Georgian lawmakers.