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Georgia is ready to forget about Soviet occupation?31.10.2012 | 19:28
An action under the slogan "Do not deprive us of the right to be friends with the Russian people", organized by the NGO "Earth - our home", was held today outside the Museum of Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi. Lawyer Elgudzha Hodeli, the organization leader, she is going to make the government of Ivanishvili not to close the museum. Given that the current government of Georgia intends to normalize relations with Moscow, Hodeli's initiative seems promising. On the other hand, the doctrine of the 70-year occupation - this is the cornerstone of Georgia's independence, and the museum is the proof of this doctrine. What does the Georgian society think about this?
"We need to understand whether the new government is going to support this idea", Nikita Mendkovich, Russian researcher of the Caucasus and the Middle East told GTimes. "On the one hand, this is a significant step towards the normalization of relations with Moscow, clearing of the state ideology from Russophobic elements, on the other - a rather bold step.
After the 2008 war, the Georgian society has not much sympathy towards Russia. However, these sentiments are not so active to cause serious internal protest of the majority", Mendkovich says.
According to him, Ivanishvili's government needs courage to close the Museum of the Occupation, since the termination of the museum will be presented by supporters of Saakashvili as the fact that Ivanishvili's supporters have betrayed Georgia. "Supporters of the "National Movement" may try to use the implementation of such plans as an excuse to attack the new government", Nikita Mendkovich says.
On the one hand, Georgia really needs the normalization of relations with Russia. On the other, the doctrine of the occupation in 1988 was the supporting idea of Georgian independence. Such people as Jordania, Gegechkori and Mazniashvili - leaders of Menshevik Georgia - are considered by the Georgians the heroes of Georgia's independence, whose political future was crossed by the events in 1921, when Soviet troops entered Tiflis. But the closure of the Occupation Museum may knock out the cornerstone from the foundation of the Georgian statehood.
Tengiz Kitovani, former Minister of Defense of Georgia.
"The authorities of present-day Georgia are ready for the rapprochement with Russia. They are correcting mistakes of Saakashvili. Global reassessment of Georgian history must be started not from the events of 1921, but since 1801 - the date of the signing of the Treaty of Georgievsk. Current Georgian historiography calls this period the first loss of Georgian independence, but in reality in 1801 Russia saved the Georgian people from the destruction.
Events of 1921 in Georgia were a consequence of the collapse of the Russian Empire, the October of 1917 and the civil war in 1918 -1921. All this cost the people of Georgia the enormous sacrifices. Once in power, the Georgian Bolsheviks repressed more than 30 thousand Georgians. This was not the blame of Russia and the Russian people. The Russian people have suffered from the communists not less than the Georgian people, maybe even more. Soviet Georgia never suffered such bloody reprisals against the Orthodox clergy as in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. But no one has the right to paint his story in only one color, black or white. Personally, I remember that during the so-called "Soviet occupation" Georgia lived well and with dignity".
Nana Kakabadze, the head of the NGO "Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights".
"I have suffered the fate of the Soviet political prisoner, but I was never interested in this museum. My friends - other former political prisoners - have the same attitude. We know that creating this museum Saakashvili was not going to perpetuate the historical memory and the ideals of humanism, since both he and his party are alien to our own history and humanism. Occupation Museum was a PR step of Saakashvili's regime. I believe no one in Georgia will protest against the closure of the museum, since almost everyone sees its false essence. This does not mean that the Georgians are ready to sharply overestimate their own history and to give up their independence. The loss of independence in 1921 is tragedy for Georgia, and no one would say that Soviet period was one continuous grace of God for Georgia".
Badri Meladze, president of the Fund for assistance to the people of Georgia.
"All that Saakashvili has made should be destroyed, and all he has destroyed - should be restored. Occupation Museum was part of the policy of setting the two brotherly peoples - Russian and Georgian - against each other. Joys and sorrows of the Soviet Union were our common sorrows and joys. During World War II Georgians soldiers were brave soldiers of the Red Army. Soviet flag over the Reichstag was raised by the Georgian George Kantaria. Saakashvili tried to erase this holy memory from the minds of the Georgian people, and that's why he destroyed the monuments to Soviet soldiers and opened the Occupation Museum. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren should remember that Georgians along with other Soviet citizens have got the world rid from the horrors of Nazism.