Union of Georgians in Russia will erect a monument to Militon Kantaria in Georgia22.12.2009 | 17:32
The tragedy that happened in Kutaisi, when a woman and a child died during the blowing up of the memorial to the fallen in the Great Patriotic War, excited the Georgian expatriate community in Moscow. The activists of the Union of Georgians in Russia shared their ideas with GeorgiaTimes correspondent. President of the Union Mikhail Khubutia assured that a monument to Militon Kantaria, who planted the Victory standard on top of the German Reichstag early in the morning of May 1, 1945, will be erected in Georgia in the nearest future at the cost of the organization.
Today, there is over one million Georgians living in Russia. Up to recently, they have been living according to the traditions of a large metropolis, where everyone stands for himself. However, it is the complication of relationship between Russia and Georgia that contributed to the solidarity of the expatriate community. Otherwise, how can one reach the Georgian government that considers all the Georgians living in Russia to be traitors? That was how the Union of Georgians in Russia was established.
One of the organization's slogans goes as follows: the expatriate community is beyond politics. It means that the Union strives after improving relationship between the countries in terms of the people's democracy, refraining from estimating the situation in Georgia.
However, the incident in Kutaisi has stunned the community so much that almost all of its members criticized the Georgian government's actions. War veterans referred to the event as to barbarity.
Here are some of their comments:
In the iron 40s, Ludmila Alexandrovna Chikhladze voluntarily joined a guerilla regiment fighting for the liberation of the Caucasus:
"A tragedy happened in Kutaisi. It is a great pity that people died in peaceful days because of someone's stupidity. We fought the enemy; many of us died. And what is happening now? It was the memory of the people who sacrificed their lives for peace and their Motherland. Why do authorities spit in our face, why re-inventing the history? They deserve to be shot in sight..."
Grigori Platonovitch Lezhava participated in battles for the Caucasus:
"I believe it to be a very stupid thing to do, to put it mildly. What else can I say? Let them answer their own question: why did they do it? Whom did they want to hurt? Whom did they want to have revenge on? Unfortunately, no one seems to listen to us, not only to the veterans but to those living in Russia. We cannot influence the situation in Georgia. We will be immediately accused of expressing the Kremlin's interests should we utter a word. But we must defend the memory of those who died in the war."
The monument was opened in Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia, in 1981. Eternal light has been burning near the memorial for 28 years. Over many years, the monument has been the meeting point for the veterans of the Great Patriotic War; celebratory events were held their on the Victory Day. This year, those few participants of war who are still alive will have no place to meet at.
Yesterday, protest actions were held in the second largest city of Georgia. The protest event was also attended by leaders of several parties, Zurab Nogaideli and Salome Zurabishvili, who came down sharply upon the country government's policy, having characterized the struggle with the monuments as inadmissible and criminal.
"We are going to insist that the Honor memorial should be restored and an Orthodox church should be built at the same spot in remembrance of those who died in the Great Patriotic War and the woman and her 8-year-old girl who died because of the blow-up", - the protesters stated.
President of the Union of Georgians in Russia Mikhail Khubutia said:
"There is a saying: if you sling at your past, the future will fire a gun at you. These words have proven to be true very quickly. The blow-up resulted in the death of a woman and a child. What could be more awful than that, what else is there to happen to make the politicians think before taking such irresponsible decisions? I am tempted to say that the explosion is an act of vandalism. The politicians have buries the best Georgian traditions: memory of our ancestors and veneration of the elder. God never forgives such things. This is the same as shooting at icons or holy faces. Our grandfathers fought together and shed blood together. I would like to say to the authorities: remember yourself, Georgians!"
The Kutaisi tragedy literally enraged the Georgian expatriate community in Russia. The veterans and the youth keep phoning the Union's office, asking: "What can we do to prevent the recurrence of such madness?" "How can we reach the Georgian government to say to them: what are you doing?" "How can we help the relatives of those who died and suffered?" "Can we help restore the memorial to the fallen warriors in Kutaisi?"
Eventually, a decision was taken: the Union of Georgians in Russia is going to erect a monument to Militon Kantaria as soon as possible.