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Putin’s portrait for Abkhaz schools15.10.2009 | 22:59
The alternative Abkhazian government is beating an alarm: they tried to hang Putin's portrait on the wall in one of the schools of the Galskiy region of Abkhazia. Besides, they say they are lacking Georgian schoolbooks and the teachers are said to be forced to acquire Abkhazian nationality. Well, what a shame for an independent country! The panic of the "stray" "officials in exile" was commented upon for GeorgiaTimes by head of the Galskiy region administration Beslan Arshba.
Dali Khomeriki, the so-called "alternative Minister of Education of Abkhazia" came out with an urgent report at the meeting with Chairman of the Georgian Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Protection and Civil Integration Giorgiy Arsenishvili. "The Russian occupants demanded hanging a picture of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the building of the 16th public school of the Otobaya village of the Galskiy region", - she reported with much anxiety.
She is also worried about the problem of prohibiting the Georgian schoolbooks, "which threatens the teaching activities in Georgian", and compulsion of the teachers to renounce the Georgian citizenship. Otherwise, these teachers are going to be accused of anti-constitutional actions.
GeorgiaTimes asked Head of the Galskiy region administration Beslan Archba whether this report represents any true facts and what other portraits are hanging on the walls of the Abkhaz schools.
"I have got no information about Putin's portrait in the Otobaya school", - he said. However, he added that even if the Prime Minister's picture were really hung on the wall it would not be at all surprising. "It was under his guidance that our schools were equipped with the necessary furniture, desks, chairs, blackboards and other things, so I see nothing wrong in that", - Arshba said.
Head of the Galskiy region administration admitted that he never paid attention to the portraits in the republican schools. "Of course, there must be some portraits there, - he supposed, - but the times of the personality cult are over and we do not force anyone to hang any portraits. Neither do we mind if anyone does it on his own initiative".
As to the schoolbooks, legal authorities of the independent Abkhazia are holding their ground, not yielding to their Georgia colleagues who gradually ban Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani schoolbooks.
According to Arshba, Sukhum has given up the Georgian course books, shifting the educational system (in Georgian schools as well) to the standards set up by Ministry of Education of Abkhazia. Consequently, educational institutions of the Galskiy region receive books issued in the capital of the republic.
Besides, why should the growing citizens of Abkhazia having Georgian nationality read modern textbooks telling about the poor democratic Georgia that was occupied in the 20s of the last century and its right for Abkhazia and South Ossetia with reference to the Middle Ages when the Georgian princes retained several principalities.
With the help of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, almost the whole of the school supply of the Georgian literature was sent from Abkhazia to Tbilisi as being of no use. Elimination of books has always been taken negatively by the educated public but now we see a pendulum that is swinging back.
In his monograph "An essay on ethnic history of the Abkhazian people" a well-known Abkhaz historian Zurab Anchabadze described the way the chauvinists (Lavrentiy Beria and his close associates - ed.) eliminated the Abkhaz schools after the war and introduced teaching all subjects in Georgian.
One can easily guess what became of the Abkhaz-speaking teachers and how the children who did not speak Georgian took in the teaching material. All these far-reaching steps affected not only the educational system but the Abkhaz culture in general.
"In fact, reorganization of the Abkhaz school under the guise of its strengthening and improving the educational process led to the contrary: it brought down the quality of education and bringing-up of the native children, frustrated the foundations of the Abkhaz cultural development and adjudged the people to losing their national identity", - Anchabadze sums up.
After that, the Abkhaz education gradually started to be restored, and in the 90s, there were already 73 Abkhaz and mixed schools in the republic, where over five thousand schoolchildren were taught in Abkhaz. This was achieved at the expense of the Abkhazians' blood.
To put it mildly, now it would be incorrect for the Abkhazians to petition the authorities of Tbilisi, complaining about the impairment of rights of the Georgian teachers. "This autonomous government, or whatever they call themselves, has slightly strayed, I think", - Arshba says. The issues of the Abkhaz education including education in Georgian are currently settled in Sukhum.
As to demanding the Abkhaz citizenship from the state officials, i.e. from the teachers who get their salary not from Georgia, it is quite in compliance with the Abkhaz law.