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Azerbaijani Film Festival in Yerevan Organizer Not Preparing to Leave Armenia

Head of the Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgy Vanyan has denied rumors that because of receiving threats for organizing a festival of Azerbaijani films in Yerevan he had to leave the country.

“I haven’t left the country and I’m not preparing to leave. As always, I spend most of my time in the regions of Armenia and Georgia. Even those who are friendly toward me believe that the situation has changed so much that all the doors for peace-making activities in Armenia are closed to me. I don’t think so and I continue to work,” he said, reports News.az.

Recall, a campaign on social networking sites and in the media had begun against Vanyan, whose Center planned to hold a festival of Azerbaijani films in Yerevan. The human rights activists had received death threats over the phone and owners of various revenues who initially agreed to host the festival, withdrew their agreements with Vanyan. Advertising on Facebook, the Azerbaijani film festival became the cause of serious debate. Some Facebook users begun to threaten not only the festival organizers, but also those who seemed supportive, or in any case, did not speak up against the event, calling them traitors to the nation.

The festival was supported by the US Embassy in Armenia, and an embassy spokesperson had told Epress.am that such a festival aims to promote an appreciation for tolerance, multiculturalism and the expression of diverse views and opinions.

“These are important values for any democratic society. We thought the film festival was a good idea when we decided to support it and we still do,” said US Embassy spokesperson Karen Robblee.