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Cultural correspondence between Georgia and Russia

29.03.2013  |  19:37

Cultural correspondence between Georgia and Russia. 29221.jpeg

Scandal associated with the publication of an official letter from the former Culture Minister Grigol Vashadze to his Russian counterpart Alexander Avdeev has broken in Georgia. Vashadze asked Avdeev to organize some concerts of Georgian groups in Russia and promised to pay for this tour from the state budget. Vashadze's letter has got into the press and caused a storm of indignation. But not all the analysts consider this fact worthy of ballyhoo that has risen in Georgia. What is it, politics or culture? What do the experts think about the secret contacts between the Russian authorities Saakashvili's government?

Back in 2008, after only two months after the Russia-Georgia war, Vashadze, who became Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, wrote a letter to the then Russian Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeev. Vashadze proposed to conduct concerts in Russia, including the State Ensemble "Erisioni".

It seems it's just a letter, but still everything related to the Russian-Georgian relations causes unhealthy excitement. So it happened this time.

Information about this letter was first published by an expert and associate of Prime Minister Ivanishvili Giorgi Khukhashvili. As stated by Khukhashvili at a press conference, this indicates the hypocrisy of the "National Movement". "In his letter, Grigol Vashadze, one can say, is entreating the Minister of Culture of Russia to hold several concerts in Russia," said Khukhashvili. "And this happened at a time when the pain over the death of the people in August 2008 had not subsided."

Khukhashvili draws attention to the fact that these are the same people who have almost dubbed the ensemble "Erisioni" the betrayers of Georgia for the concert recently held in Moscow.

Analysts say that a number of evidences of secret contacts between Saakashvili's government and the Russian leadership may come to light. Expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze does not rule out that at the time the Georgian leadership really took steps to normalize relations with Russia. "Of course, this letter should be considered in context. If you remember, sometime later and in early 2009, there was information on the possible acquisition of Inguri hydropower - the largest hydroelectric power plant in Georgia - by Russia," Sakvarelidze said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "So it is possible that at the time there was a policy, or rather attempts to improve relations with Russia. Culture was only a part of this process. And the story of Inguri HPP shows that the initiator was not the Minister of Culture: these matters are dealt at a higher level. At that time the doors to Russian business were opened, there were other contacts. But after 2 months after the war, and in the background of the anti-Russian rhetoric Georgian government, of course, contacts were kept in secret. So this is of course a manifestation of double standards. And the matter is not only in Vashadze's letter, but also in the overall situation," said Sakvarelidze.

But the former Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili says he cannot understand why this letter has raised so much stir. "If the noise would have been raised by the civil society, then it would have been clearer," Menagarishvili said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "But when it is about the statements by the Georgian officials or the persons close to the government, then the matter is rather in the political struggle. I think that this document was not classified, so it was not difficult to get such a letter. At the same time, certain people are wondering how this document could get into the press, but here I remembered the story of the website "WikiLeaks", when the secret correspondence of the U.S. administration became the public domain. But this, of course, is a different level. And in Georgia people think as follows: if those people who four years ago proposed to hold the tour of the ensemble "Erisioni" in Russia now oppose its concert, then it must be used against them. That is to act on the principle of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This fact is shameful, but the fact that a country that has a lot of other problems now is actively discussing topics that do not deserve much attention is even more shameful. I believe that the fact that the focus is on the issues that do not cost a penny indicates a low level of consciousness of civil society. Politicians of the last few years in Georgia also do not distinguish themselves in the ability to separate more important things from the less important, or even totally unimportant," says Menagarishvili.

Several years ago, publishing secret video and audio recordings, e-mails and other information and using it in a political struggle against opponents was a "corona number" of Mikheil Saakashvili and his team. But, apparently, a bad example was contagious - the supporters of the current government also do not averse to "light up" dirt on political opponents. As they say, what goes around comes around.


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