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Intergenerational Dialogues. Us and Them (Neighbors). Part 2

“Yet when I think about it, Georgia is the one neighboring country we know least about,” says Margarita, also noting that while thinking about Georgia or Iran does not bring up the same type of negative reactions that thinking about Turkey and Azerbaijan does, the reactions are still not unconditionally positive.

Armenian History is often viewed in isolation from regional developments. For instance, when it comes to teaching 18th-19th century Armenian history, the teaching often favors the exploration of the empires that colonized Armenians, e.g. the Ottoman, Russian, and Persian Empires, choosing not to focus as much on other regional developments. relations with Georgia. Note that while Armenia does not have a direct border with Russia, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and current-day Russia have been ever-present in local and regional history and are often the center focus of history teaching in schools.

Both teachers and students find that the Armenian History curriculum places a considerable emphasis on ties with Russia. Yet, in contrast, Armenia's relations with its immediate neighbor, Georgia, receive less attention. One of the dialogue participants thinks the reason behind this is perhaps the assumption that due to cultural similarities, Armenians inherently know much about Georgia.

Regarding Armenia-Russia relations, they get a spotlight and are also normally portrayed positively, which, according to some teachers, is not always true historically. “They say that Russian-Turkish relations have always had a negative background and that Russia has given preference to us. But that is a mistake, and every country acts by the interests of its territory,” says Haykanush, who, in an attempt to bring multiperspectivity, often supplies her students with additional sources such as correspondence between high-ranking officials from Russia and Turkey. 

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This article is based on dialogue between history teachers and students within the scope of the “Intergenerational Dialogue” project led by Paradigma Educational Foundation in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The real names of dialogue participants have been changed to protect their privacy.

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