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Monday, 19 March 2018


Return of Varlam Aravidze

30.03.2009  |  15:35

1/7/8/2178.jpegTengiz Abuladze's "Repentance" film is forgotten by many. It‘s a pity as for today's Georgia this cult Perestroika movie is again up-to-date. It seems Abuladze, a brilliant director foresaw the return of Varlam Aravidze, the protagonist, to Georgia.

And he was back. For the first time in the form of the "icon of democracy" of that time Zviad Gamsakhurdia whose transformation from anti-totalitarism crusader into a dictator was very fast. Gamsakhurdia's presidency was rather short. Seven months after the election he was overthrown by the Military Council abolishing the president post and eventually driven out of Georgia.


Varlam Aravidze's first return finished in a massacre and disgrace.

"Aravidze" in Georgian" stands for "nobody". "Nobody" means "each one". So each one can turn from a democracy advocate into a nasty dictator, a despot, a tyrant. The disgusting and evil personality whose traits Tengiz Abuladze depicted in his character. In his interpretation Varlam Aravidze is a ruling monster like Dr. Frankenstein's creature out of pieces of carrion, or a mosaic of Hitler's moustache, Beria's pince-nez, Mussolini's black trousers, Stalin's Jesuitic jokes and other history trash - a zero in essence. An absurd puppet raising its hands in the air, speechifying, controlling people's lives, taking care of nation's health, shedding blood like cranberry juice. And people are mesmerized eating the dummy with their eyes and searching for shades of expression of his hypocritical eyeholes behind the glasses of pince-nez, vesting his loose speeches in a higher sense...

Abuladze died in 1994 long before the coming of Mikheil Saakashvili who was the second incarnation of Varlam Aravidze after Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

How can I assert that? Like Aravidze Saakashvili is an expert at political provocations. We are witnessing the latest large-scale provocation now.

In the run-up to extensive protest actions of the opposition scheduled for April 9 Georgian TV viewers daily see similar news stories: men with blurred faces speak about arms.

According to Paata Zakareishvili, a politologist supporting the opposition, the video records that the Georgian police have presented to TV are a traditional tool of Georgian politics used against opponents. This time he says the video record looks especially artificial: it is unlikely a buyer of arms will explain why he needs them. According to the opposition such frame-up video records must serve to justify detentions of politicians opposing Saakashvili's "general line".

This time however the scenario devised by Saakashvili's special services seems to have failed. It was rejected not only by all sane politicians in Tbilisi. This sinister buffoonery was skeptically accepted in Europe too. Berliner Zeitung newspaper published an article called "Talkative buyers of arms". The author writes that the men with hidden faces allegedly are investigators that act as arms dealers. The arms were meant for the seizure of power by the opposition. 9 out of 12 detainees, Christian Ash, the author of the article writes, are members of Nino Burdzhanadze's Democratic Movement - United Georgia.

According to the opposition the video records are nothing more than a fake and the arms were planted. According to David Zurabishvili, the authorities needed these records to breed fear in the society before the April 9 action.

Meanwhile Shota Utiashvili, head of the Analytical Department at Georgian Interior Ministry stated at a briefing that his authority was ready to present new video materials that show coup preparations. Detentions of oppositionists are done by Varlam Aravidze's methods.

"Art is creating harmony out of chaos, extraction of form out of formlessness", - Tengiz Abuladze used to say. Quite opposite are the actions of new-sprung aravidze-Saakashvili making a chaos out of harmony the civil society of Georgia was twenty-five years ago. Where are loud Georgian parties now? Where is that amazing chorus harmony of polyphony of drinking-songs? Who disseminated fear and mistrust among the people who have always been a specimen of nobility and generosity of spirit?

Tengiz Abuladze created a masterpiece that should be watched several times in one's life. As a preventive care for one's soul. If you have no faith, you are sinful, you commit sins and you can't stop, be aware that at some time you will be caught by the pricks of conscience for Good can never be destroyed completely.

But today's Tbilisian TV prefers repeating forged videos presented by the Interior Ministry instead of "Repentance". It is still Varlam Aravidze's time we are living in.

Vasily Usoltsev


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