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Sunday, 15 July 2018


Is there russophobia in Georgia?

2008-10-21 14:22

I started collating material about Russophobia in Georgia long before the awful events of August this year. I was born and grew up in Tbilisi. If nationality were defined not by origin, but by attachment to the place where you were born, by religion, language and traditions, then I am Georgian, rather than Russian. Georgia is my homeland, my home, childhood, family... I left Tbilisi a year and a half ago - like everyone, in search of a better future. Despite my Slavic appearance, people in Moscow still for some reason call me Georgian...


It was enough to make me weep that Tbilisi inhabitants, who, as a rule, always used to speak at least three languages - Georgian, Russian and Armenian (and also even Azerbaijani and Greek, depending on the families living in one's block), almost without realizing caught the virus of Russophobia which had been released from Pandora's box. Even in the early 1990s, when the country was roused by Gamsakhurdia's slogan "Georgia for ethnic Georgians", everyone lived according to the glorious traditions of Tbilisi - we went grape harvesting together, we listened to the wise words of Auntie Mzia, who taught us how to mould khinkali with the requisite number of ripples around the edges, and asked us to come and help prepare pelmeni... In the middle of the nineties,

when the country was without electricity or gas, on the landing of the eight-floor block of flats there was just one wood stove, where everyone who lived in the tower block would boil tea, and they would share everything that they had left in their larder with each other. The events in South Ossetia had already taken place earlier (1990), and those who had fought in Abkhazia (1991) returned, with their body and soul shattered, but this was all politics, and Tbilisi lived according to its traditions... But the never-ending waves of political and economic crises eventually reached the residential blocks of ordinary civilians and entered their souls. The accusations made against Russia, which was to blame for everything - the absence of gas and money and even for natural catastrophes, divided friends and acquaintances into those who believe all this and those prepared to dispute it.

Tbilisi. A year and a half before the August events.

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