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Friday, 23 March 2018


Oleg Basilashvili’s dubious radiance

2010-10-18 19:12

8917.jpegOleg Basilashvili has tried to rectify Vakhtang Kikabidze's mistake who rejected Russia's Order of Friendship in 2008, the year of war, thus making his fans and friends quarrel on both sides of the border. Basilashvili wanted to be wiser but was misunderstood. Recently, performing with Tovstoganov Big Drama Theater cast at the festival in Tbilisi, he accepted the Order of Radiance from Mikheil Saakashvili, a persona non grata. He has already been condemned for that in Russia. In an explanation Oleg Valerianovich made for GeorgiaTimes, he said he considers his order a symbol of rapprochement between two states.


Knowing about baiting campaigns against Nani Bregvadze or Tamara Gverdtsiteli in Georgia, let's hope Russian art lovers won't do that. And that Oleg Basilashvili's talent will not be viewed at a political angle.

Good politics is a sort of art, the omnitude of senses that excludes unambiguous interpretations. Soviet history had a bitter experience of dividing culture figures into "useful-harmful" - not "talented-mediocre" - in a system based on black-and-white perception of life. Marina Tsvetaeva's poems were harmful not because of politics, but because they did not fit in the black-and-white arrangement. Release of "Doctor Zhivago" was avoided since the protagonist could not be identified as a friend or a foe. And if the person is complex, most probably he is a foe. As well as the author, naturally.

Artists, poets, musicians that don't fit in Mikheil Saakashvili's strict "foe-friend" arrangement are treated with contempt in Georgia so proud of overcoming the remnants of the Soviet era. Those who perform in Russia, particularly in Kremlin and (God forbid) justify the Russian army's protection of Ossetians are labeled traitors despite their talent and appreciation. If celebrated art figures like Nino Ananiashvili or Vakhtang Kikabidze show their back to Russia they are considered real patriots in their country.

Today Runet is full of titles like "Merzlyaev is Merzlyaev". People write that Eldar Ryazanov's assignment of negative parts to the actor was not accidental. Indeed, one can't deny that Oleg Valerianovich has something arrogant and proud about him as the surname ending genetically presupposes. Still, these qualities are not repelling but attractive with their complexity and uncertainty so characteristic of gifted people.

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