Archive for July, 2019

LOOKING BACK… AND FORWARD

July 7, 2019

July 7th, 1973. The date of our marriage forty-six years ago. The road my wife and I have passed since then was long, uneasy and, generally, satisfying. We raised our children — a son and a daughter, we saw them through their schools all the way until they earned their PhDs, upon which they started their families and settled respectively in Britain and in Georgia (the Caucasus). So far, as we are embracing our 70s and look back, we feel we are really happy. Nowadays, many elderly people complain that their pensions are rather small. Ours are decent enough for us to live on. Both of us are also quite healthy to travel and receive guests at our place (most often the guests are our son and daughter with their spouses and our grandchildren).

Also, a most gratifying feeling is that the past years have proved we have been created for each other, and that the decision we made on the 7th of July forty-six years back was timely and right. Or did everything start even eight years before that – when I saw my future wife in a corridor of a high school both of us went to? She was the most beautiful girl at school and in the world, and she has remained such until this moment.

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GEORGIAN NOTES – 2019. PATRIOTISM

July 7, 2019

The recent events in the Georgian Parliament, when the opposition grew indignant over a Russian “guest” brazenly occupying the Speaker’s seat and starting to teach the parliamentarians how to stay united with Russia under the banner of Orthodoxy, demonstrated the difference between the Georgian and the possible Ukrainian reaction to such a provocative action. Yes, the situations with our two counties are very much similar. Both Georgia and Ukraine, after they gained independence in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, have been undergoing all sort of pressure from Russia — political, economic, informational, and also military. Parts of both Georgia and Ukraine are occupied by the Russian troops. The Ukrainians usually mention the number of those killed in the Russia-Ukraine war. As of today, it’s as high as 13,000 people. In Georgia, it is emphasized that 20 percent of its territory (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) has been occupied.

As I am watching the development of the protest here in Tbilisi, I also notice the following two differences in how the Georgians react, and the Ukrainians might react, when such conflicts arise. The reaction of the Georgians was explosively indignant. Actually, the protest took place already later in the afternoon after Mr. Gavrilov, whose views are a cross between Communism and Orthodox religion, tried to take the floor. In an analogous situation in Ukraine, the opposition factions would have mumbled something for a few days until the incident would have been faded and, probably, forgotten.

On the other hand, the idea of the Ukrainians that they belong to one nation seems to be stronger with them. I remember the Ukrainian “maidans” of 2014 and 2014, when lots of people from all over the country (naturally, the Crimea and the Donbass excluding), arrived in Kyiv with overnight trains to support the protests right the next morning. Ukraine must be especially happy with its western part (Halychyna) where the national sentiments are rather high, and, at proper times, serve as a very effective antidote against the Russian aggressiveness. I cannot imagine the Adjara or Kakheti young men rushing to Tbilisi to participate in the revolt. When I mentioned this observation to my Georgian friend, he agreed, by explaining: “There are many more Ukrainians than there are Georgians.” As for me, there may be a historical explanation too: for a long time, Georgia had been kind of empire that kept in its fold dozens of quite different nations. Nowadays, in terms of ethnicity, it’s like a blanket consisting of mostly disconnected, multi-colored patches.

 


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