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The dictatorship of Azerbaijan has appointed a “preacher” [sic] of the Udi minority to the monastery of Dadivank, in the district of Karvajar, one of the territories handed over to the enemy forces after the Artsakh war. International and Armenian organizations have condemned the blatant attempt to distort historical facts in what constitutes a cultural genocide.

Azerbaijan, a country only formed in 1918 as the hurried by-result of the pan-Turkic efforts of the genocidal government of the Ottoman Empire in those years, has a muddled historiography, where fabrications of the Soviet era are blended with the racist ideologies developed by pan-Turkic circles. In one of these clumsy interpretations, Azerbaijanis are descendants of the “Aghvans” (“Caucasian Albanians”), a minority that assimilated and disappeared around the 8th century. In a new twist, they now claim that the Udi minority are descendants of these long lost Aghvans, which begs the question as to what Azerbaijanis are. The quick response is that probably they do not know it themselves.

Archeologist Hamlet Petrosian, of the History Faculty of Yerevan State University, has called the attempt by Azerbaijani authorities to appropriate monastery of Dadivank, which theoretically is under the protection of Russian peacekeeping forces, an act of genocide.

“There is not a single ‘Albanian’ or ‘Udi’ component in Dadivank, from the architectural design of the church and the secular buildings to sculptures, khachkars and frescoes,” Petrosian said.

“The buildings of the monastery (including secular ones) are covered with about 100 Armenian inscriptions from the 12th-17th centuries and there is not a single letter in another language,” he said. What Azerbaijan does, Petrosian added, is “an obvious act of cultural genocide.”

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