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Feud with Russia for sale2011-05-11 22:43
Georgia needs Russia extremely. It is very important for Georgia that Russia exists not at a distance but next to it, right behind the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range. Besides, it must be a "bad" country - a decaying empire incapable of putting up with the freedom of a small but proud state. The conflict has a special meaning for Tbilisi. It is environmentally advantageous as the only way to hold positions in the West's eyes. It is also spiritually advantageous as a national idea that can serve to pull the entire Georgian nation together. No wonder the conflict cannot be settled.
the entire Georgian nation together. No wonder the conflict cannot be settled.
I can't even imagine what would have happened if Georgia had won the war in Abkhazia in 1993, conquered South-Ossetians a couple of years earlier and built its relationship with Russia in the context of a many-century friendship and brotherhood between the two Orthodox nations. What would the whole country do without an image of an enemy? I believe it's easy to allow a possible scenario: Georgia would start a war with Armenians, for the mutual territorial and mental claims are more than enough.
We know very well that "an image of an enemy" is the basic tool for constructing political nations. It was used in history many times and Georgia took up the same way. The neighbouring Russia perfectly fitted the plan. Russian Empire is the last external state, which the Georgians were once part of. They spent almost two hundred years in a country where Russian remained a state language despite the changing regimes. That's a base required to turn Russia into the main enemy for several future generations: a vicious opponent eager to devour the new country is a necessary element for the development of any small and thus aggressive state project.
Strange as it may seem, wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia helped Georgians a lot. Let us imagine for a while that there have been no wars and both former autonomies have painlessly assimilated with Georgia. In this case, an image of an enemy would have been incomplete, or would have failed at all. How can one bring people together if there is no common idea to base upon?
Wars in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were as essential for the Georgians as air. If they had won them, their pride would be unbearable today, for Georgia's most powerful myth is that it made war not on the Abkhaz and Ossetians but on Russia. Any nation should go through a liberation war, and so Georgians decided to do it as well. But their failure pulled them together still more in front of a "Russian threat".
It serves as a platform for the entire reality, the entire way of development of the modern Georgian state. This phobia brought Saakashvili to power because the electors took the risk of giving the helm to someone who was allegedly capable of "killing the bear in his den". It is already clear that his capabilities have been much overestimated. But the president proved to be crafty and managed to use the factor of the Russian danger in his own interests. He divided the people into Georgians and "Georgianebi" - those who felt comfortable in Soviet times as well. He dismissed those "old" ones; he threw them overboard, having proclaimed them the fifth column. And now they hate the young "democrats", at the same time feeling the same hate for Russia as before.