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Georgian Leprosy2010-08-19 12:31
A Russian saying "as is the pew so is the pulpit" fits Georgian leaders perfectly. At first Saakashvili runs rampant screaming about the enemies around him and secessionists in the country - why shouldn't his subordinates chime in? We know about Abkhazia, about South Ossetia but has anybody heard about Kvemo-Kartli unleashing the separatist flame and demanding autonomy or annexation to Azerbaijan? No. Still, Vano Bayburt, Mikheil Saakashvili's advisor, an Armenian by birth, states the conspiracy is under preparation in the district.
Georgia is unquiet, so what is this nonsense for? Apparently, the idea is simple: resentment if everything is ok or silence if something is being plotted. This is a serious matter after all.
As reported by the Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia, Vano Bayburt in his interview on August 12 said there is separatism in Kvemo Kartli (Borchaly) region inhabited by Azerbaijanis. Some public organizations representing interests of Azerbaijanis in Georgia submitted an address to Saakashvili demanding Bayburt's resignation: "Your advisor for national minorities Vano Bayburt in his interview with Akhaly Taoba newspaper virtually launched an anti-Azerbaijani campaign articulating ideas that call people to a confrontation on a national basis. We believe the statement on separatism in Kvemo-Kartli as ungrounded and provocative. A statement like this made by a state official of Georgia is wrong and unacceptable. Vano Baybourt is an advisor to the president of Georgia which makes the population interpret his words as the president's opinion. Azerbaijani citizens of Georgia are extremely concerned over the fact".
And they are right to be concerned. National minorities in the country make 12-13%. This percentage is permanently dropping. Mainly Christians leave: Armenians, Greeks and Russians. In Bogdanovka district center (now Ninotsminda of Akhalkalaki district) all Dukhobors have gone. Houses are nailed-up, mostly decrepit. There is one answer to the question why Dukhobors went away: it's hard for them to live here, the Russian embassy to Georgia helped them to move to their historical motherland. An interesting fact: they had been OK for 200 years, and the life became hard over the past 20 years. This is a policy. Yes, anti-national, fascist, but consistent and highly violent.
Extrusion of non-title nations started at the time of Georgia's first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia who proclaimed Georgia for Georgians slogan. In point of fact the first president of the country announced publicly what was omitted in the years of the USSR. In Soviet times the national minority issue existed: Armenians, Jews were forced to change surnames for them to get promotions. It was true for the governing establishment as well as theater and cinema figures. Simple citation of names conveys a lot: Mikhail Tumanishvili (Tumanov), Konstantin Mardzhanishvili (Mardzhanov), Zakharia Paliashvili (Zakare Palyan). It should be reminded specifically that the saying "a good man but an Armenian" is still popular in Georgia. It's pointless to speak about Jews whose surnames are mostly Georgian which was not an obstacle for them to emigrate to Israel.