An Anti-Russia Campaign -

An Anti-Russia Campaign

From textbooks to statues, Tbilisi is hitting back at Moscow


David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

When the new school year starts, Georgian students will receive a new history textbook chronicling 200 years of Russian occupation. The textbook is the result of a special commission created by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to examine the shared history of the two countries. Russians are not impressed. “Where is the logic?” asked Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chairman of information policy during an interview with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Do they really want to raise a generation that will consider Russia a monster?”

The textbook is but one example of Saakashvili’s anti-Russia campaign, which he has been running since being elected to power in 2004. He seems determined to purge Georgia of anything Russian or Soviet. Last June, in the town of Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, Georgian authorities removed a historic six-metre monument of the Soviet leader from the central square where it had been standing for 48 years. The intention was to replace it with a memorial “to the victims of the Soviet dictatorship, victims of Stalin’s policies inside and outside Georgia, and victims of the 2008 war,” said Georgian Culture Minister Nikoloz Rurua.

But is the campaign doing Georgians any good? It’s been almost two years since Aug. 7, 2008, when Georgia shelled Tskhinvali, the capital of the secessionist province of South Ossetia, in an attempt to take control of the breakaway region. When Russia retaliated in a massive show of force, the ensuing war left 850 Georgians (including South Ossetians) and Russians dead and 138,000 people displaced. “Everybody has lost,” wrote Heidi Tagliavini, the head of the EU’s independent commission into the war, in an op-ed for the New York Times. “Georgia is divided; the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized only by a handful of countries; and, most importantly, more than 35,000 people are in forced displacement for an indefinite future.”

Meanwhile, though, Saakashvili has continued to capitalize on anti-Russian sentiment, and fear. In March, Imedi TV, a television station in Tbilisi, ran a “satirical” broadcast of a Russian invasion, sending hundreds of Georgians out into the streets in panic. Analysts say that Saakashvili was behind the programming, in a ploy to keep the fear of the Kremlin high. “This is a government that lost a war, and whose economy has been stuck in neutral. One of the ways they remain popular is by being the Georgian nationalist party,” says Lincoln Mitchell, an international relations expert at Columbia University.

Saakashvili’s politics can, in part, be attributed to his close ties with the U.S. Saakashvili has long been the beneficiary of the United States’ political support—particularly during the Bush administration. As Tbilisi and Washington grew closer, Georgia lobbied to join NATO and dramatically increased its military spending, stocking up on old tanks, combat aircraft and tens of thousands of small arms. But the country has its U.S. critics as well. “The previous [American] administration oversold how wonderful a democracy Georgia is,” says Dmitry Gorenburg, director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. “They certainly made progress from the previous regime, but it’s a quasi-democracy rather than some shining beacon of hope.” An April survey of 2,378 Georgians by the National Democratic Institute, an American non-profit organization that supports democratic institutions, showed that 52 per cent disagreed with Georgia’s policy toward Russia, and 46 per cent said the country was not a democracy.

Though experts don’t forecast another war soon, as long as Saakashvili is in power in Tbilisi the anti-Russia rhetoric will likely continue. “I think people would be happy to have some sort of alternative to Saakashvili,” says Gorenburg, “but they don’t see any opposition leaders as a credible alternative.”


An Anti-Russia Campaign

  1. My generation already considers Russia a monster.

    • Because it has CRIMINALS in the government. Putin has to be in jail… but the bastard has Oil/Gas and nukes…

      • I am very sorry to read it from the Georgians. I lived in Tbilisi, and I loved the city, the people, their hospitality and their cosmopolitan life style. By hating a whole nation you are doing yourselves disservice. Hate is destructive, blind and it teaches us nothing.
        I still hope that one day our countries will be good neighbors.
        Btw, my friend, who remained in Georgia after the Soviet Union break-up had to escape the mad nationalists leaving behind the condominium, furniture, job and friends… She is still living in a little town in Russia in the workers' dormitory as a displayed person.

    • hey man, you do know shit about Russia

    • Probably, that is because you are eating everything that is suggested by really one-sided "democratic" press without thinking, trying to find out what is said and which facts are mentioned on the other side, without analysing and making your own decision?

  2. Saak is a joke… Since the world started to recognize who he really is, Georgia has become irrelevant…

    • You are a Joke. Mind-raped Russian zombies.

  3. Russia retaliated with a 'massive show of force'? Hardly!

    It's just that the Israeli and American-trained Georgians weren't prepared for anybody shooting back. They left their equipment and ran away at, literally, the first shot. But before that, they had been doing a number on civilian Ossetians. That part of the Israeli-inspired (hit them hard) lesson they had learned very well.

    The Russians didn't even bomb their airport out of business. Not much 'shock and awe' there. They could have done Georgia American-style. They wouldn't have to worry about table-dancing Canadian Georgians, bigmouth Saarkashvili either.

    • Russia planned this invasion and did it as a "Assymetric response" to kosovo.. the difference is that in kosovo there where 2 MILLION Albanians living there MAJORITY of population, while in Georgian regions Russia committed acts of crime and ethnic cleanings, driving the absolute majority of population to IDP's.

      Putin should pay for this and many other things…

      You can be a Russian, but you don't have to be an idiot!

    • POPSIQ You're a brain dead anti Semite bigot

      • You got it right popsiq .Jose Ruiz you`re dirty Jew troll.

  4. Well, actually, they removed a statue of a mass murderer from the center of the city and not a "historic six-metre monument of the Soviet leader" as the author puts it. Kudos to Georgians!

    And here's another example of twisting the truth by an obviously biased author: "when Georgia shelled Tskhinvali in an attempt to take control of the breakaway region". Nothing about days of heavy shelling of Georgian villages? Nothing about Russia poring troops and heavy weaponry in the region and letting in "mercenaries"? Nothing about the Russians torpedoing any and all peaceful initiatives suggested by international community? Nothing about Russian military jets violating Georgian airspace, dropping bombs and shooting down Georgian drones inside the Georgian territory? All of that PRIOR to the August war!

    You'd think reading this piece that Saakashvili invented all his anti-Russian stuff. He's simply calling a spade a spade.

    • they just moved the statue to the museum..

  5. Автору статьи большой респект! А сакашвиили "нехороший человек", убил много мирных жителей в осетии. грузинскому народу нужен нормальный и адекватный президент. а не этот п…рас.

    • Быдло это ты! ты даже культурно разговаривать не умеешь! Чистый троллер))

  6. вы не живете в нашей стране и не знаете всей правды, и у вас нету в осетии друзей. как вы можете тогда судить об этом=)смешно!!! а такие же факты как у вас можно из пальца высосать и написать. каждый видит ситуацию как ему нравиться, и как удобно. ну если вы думаете что саакашвили такой весь замечательный, то счастья вам с ним=) А автор статьи все верно описала, так как есть на самом деле, а не так как удобно вашей политике!

  7. The simple fact that ANY Russian can enter Georgia without any problems and get visa directly at the customs is a clear sign that Georgians are not viewing ordinary Russians as enemies, nor is the Georgian government. This, while for Georgians it is impossible to visit Russia, even if it is an important family/friend personal business.

    This "article" is payed by Russians I am 95% sure of it. I remember such articles in the Canadian press during the 2008 war… They where stinking with Putins money.

    • Only half of the truth. Georgia broke the diplomatic relation to the Russia, remember? On other hand, I visit with no problems georgian restaurants in the middle of Moscow (Genazvale, Tivlissky dvorik etc.) My realtives are georgians, they do live in Moscow and have No problems. They love Georgia, but they don't recommend me to go Georgia – that would be unsafe. Just an opposit to Armenia – our armenian friends would be happy to see us in their country.

      • That is simply not true. The internet is full of stories of Russian tourists visiting Georgia and they ALL emphasize the kindness and hospitality of Georgians towards them, whereas every Georgian leaving in Moscow knows that they have to carry their papers with them at all times for they can be detained by russian police just for looking like a Georgian.

        • Why don't you stop lying, George, or point to something you do not know at all as a fact??? Moscow is a big city, it's not a village where everyone knows everyone by sight! 10 Million people are living there according to the official data! Add to it about 5 Million illegal immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and you'll get the picture of the city. I am from Moscow, I am Russian, not Georgian or someone else, and I perfectly know that it is better to have your personal ID card, it's normal just as it is in Germany for example. Adult people seems always to carry their IDs with them … be it an operating permit or student ID or your pass. Your nationality has nothing to do with it.
          "Russian tourists visiting Georgia" – now it is a fancy ("thanks" to the USA, CIA, their Colour revolutions and
          the whole foreign policy whose main principle is "divide et impera=divide and rule"). I have been to Abkhazia (Sukhumi), beautiful land and people, and I would be happy to see that place again but belive me I would not go to Russophobic Georgia untill you are blind and I feel sorry when I think that the only American tourists Georgia attracts are NATO-soldiers "bringing" funny and sad Saakashvilian "democracy" with them.

          • Sorry, 5 Million include both legal and illegal immigrants=)

  8. Great respect autor for really describe of situation. Josh you are zombi of anti russian SMI war. Can you speak without words such – fuck itc. You not adekvate man?

  9. If the author (who merely collected cliches from the press at large, without even taking a trouble of correctly attributing quotes) had a look into the NDI poll, she quotes, she'd see that it shows completely opposite to the “I think people would be happy to have some sort of alternative to Saakashvili” point of view.

    And yes, Georgian Army _didn't_ shell Tskhinvali.

  10. Hey, there, haven't you heard of the results of the work of the EU's independent commission??? Oh, I guess I know what you'd say…sth like "EU and their commissions are also payed by Russians, Russians, Russians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
    Feel sorry for people who believe in that democratic press that "nicely" passes over the opposite opinion or position in silence and makes you believe only in the carefully selected things. Feel sorry for people who close his/her ears and eyes crying out "Don't hear! Don't see! Not truth! Russians! Again russians! They have just payed it!!!" when they see something absolutely or slightly different and new…
    But probably that is even funny=)

  11. Sorry, Josh,
    but wikipedia is not considered as a proper source as well as youtube=)

  12. "Georgia shelled Tskhinvali, the capital of the secessionist province of South Ossetia, in an attempt to take control of the breakaway region. When Russia RETALIATED…" (???)

    How much did KGB pay you Stephanie Findlay for this article?

  13. After the war, Tskhinvali, lay in ruins but Tbilisi, Gori, Poti, Kutaisi NO! At 00.15 the night on Aug. 8, 2008 the Georgians began shelling Tskhinvali and surrounding villages from ''Grad'' launchers and heavy artillery. Georgian "peacekeepers'' opened fire on the positions of Russian peacekeepers (their colleagues!) and kill them! Russian soldiers were killed! After that you wanted to Russia did not give in response? Georgians shot Ossetian civilians in the streets, crushed by tanks, burned in their homes!
    Before the attack the Georgians had been poisoned city water source that Ossetians could not defend! Georgian women and children who lived in South Ossetia had been evacuated by the Georgian army a day before Georgian shelling and "peaceful Georgian men" who lived in South Ossetia have received a receipt for a weapon to participate in the killing of Ossetians when the Georgian military come to South Osetia!
    They promised Ossetian refugees "security corridor", and then fired it! Ossetians died there! Russian air force destroyed the only military targets and not civilian infrastructure! 58 army Russia entered Tskhinvali on Aug. 8 in the evening! Russia has not attacked – remember this!
    To kill our soldiers with impunity, no one will! And another thing! It is better you remember it – the Georgians in 1920 destroyed 30 thousand Ossetians, attacked them in 1991 and then in 2008! Incidentally, in 1991 the Georgian Guard executed a population of Ossetian village of Eredvi – they buried them into the land alive! How long can ossetians stand it?
    As for Chechnya, the West in general is better to keep silent! Chechen President Dudayev's regime in 1990-1994 destroyed the Russian population of Chechnya, was financed from the Russian budget, while taxes are not paid, was engaged in counterfeiting, drug trafficking and illegal trade in oil. In 1999 terrorists from Chechnya attacked Dagestan? Russia was attacked! We were supposed to keep quiet?!
    The West will never get rid of Russo-phobia, unfortunately! You will always believe the anti-Russian propaganda!

    • Tell me Pravda, who deported all the Chechens from their land during the WW II? Do you know that Russian soldiers were killing local Russians living in Chechnya too?

      This war with Georgia was planned by Russia well in advance. They even rebuilt the railway in Osetia in order to transport tanks and other munition. Osetians, upon instructions of their Moscow colleagues were continuously "teasing" Georgians by opening fire at them shooting down their drones. Were from such a small Osetian population had Fighters to shoot down Georgian planes? The war was inevitable. Georgians decided to strike first. Putin, an experienced KGB officer used well Gerogrian President's weaknesses. De jure Abkhazia is still Georgian territory. Russia likes to play games like that. Similar situation is in Moldova with artificially created enclave of Prednestrovyje, Nagorny Karabakh in Azebaijan etc. Russia could solve these problems immediately. However Russia created these conflicts in order to influence these countries.

      • One nasty Georgian, named Joseph Jugashvili (who nicknamed himself "Stalin" – "Mr. Steel") deported all the Chechens, among others. A few years prior, his bloody Georgian fellow-henchman Lavrenty Beria submitted to Jugashvili a request for approval to execute a few thousand Polish officers in Katin, which Jugashvili (Stalin) quickly endorsed. There goes the Polish elite. And, by the most modest recent calculations, the very same Jugashvili And The Gang proudly massacred some 1.5 million Russians.

        Georgians have always been proud of their most famous countryman. Now they proudly maintain Stalin's museum in the city of Gory, where he was born. And, until just a few weeks ago, they had a huge Stalin's monument there. But, I guess, Saakashvili was under international pressure to get rid of it. So, he finally did. Instead, he wants to build something grand, commemorating 200 years of "Russian occupation".

      • Here are few more facts for you, history buffs, which can be easily found all over the freakin' internet:
        About two centuries ago, Georgians, who already had close ties with Russia, asked to voluntarily join the Russian Empire, mainly, because they were threatened enslavement by the Persians and the Ottomans. On the other hand, Georgians and Russians shared the same Christian Orthodox religion and a warm, friendly relationship. After a careful consideration, Russian monarch granted their wish, and we lived happily ever after. Sort of…

      • Abkhazia actually used to be full of Abkhazians. In 1930s, however, Lavrentiy Beria forced most of them out and moved Georgians in (massively), because it was (and it still is!) a prime piece of real estate.

        And, speaking of Kosovo, it was the German Nazis during the WWII, who forced most of the Serbians out of Kosovo because they put up hell of a resistance. The Nazis let the Albanians pour in from across the border and fill the vacuum, because those were far more cooperative. After the war, the Yugoslavian government, lead by Tito, came to an agreement with the rest of the communist-socialist pack to keep the Status Quo, so not to antagonize Albania. Even though, that was the ancient Serbian land full of monasteries and other sacred things. And see what happened now?

        Indeed, those are very sad lessons for those willing to learn.

        • You don't really know what you are talking about, do you Alex? Beria forced Abkhazians out?! Where did he force them I wonder? Sochi? Beria did a lot of bad things but none of them included forcing Abkhazians out of Abkhazia. There was simply no such thing. Even Russian official propaganda does not claim that.

          The fact is that according to every existing census (way before Beria) Georgians outnumbered Abkhazians in Abkhazia. Until they were ethnically cleansed from Abkhazia with Russia's help that is.

          It is very telling that you are "very sad" about "ancient Serbian land full of monasteries and other sacred things" and at the same time do not give a damn about majority of Georgians being forced out of there ancient land full of Georgian monasteries and other sacred things.

      • Georgians always enjoyed and celebrated a deep respect inside the Russian Empire and, later, the Soviet Union. Their customs and traditions were welcomed and were massively adapted throughout the Russian and Soviet culture.
        During the time of the Soviet Union Georgian Socialist Republic was the most prosperous and well-off out of all 15 Soviet republics.
        Lots of Georgians rose to prominence in every aspect of the Soviet society, including arts and politics (Not much in science, though – not sure, why). Remember Eduard Shevardnadze? His only grief was that he wasn't promoted to General Secretary – the highest rank (basically, a president of U.S.S.R. for life)The past experiences thought the Soviets to fear Georgians a bit. And, I suppose, they had a good reason.

  14. It's an utterly unprofessional article. Certainly paid for. Who wants to learn this problem, read A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West by Ronald D. Asmus, also The Guns of August 2008: Russia's War in Georgia by Svante E. Cornell. These Brilliant documents disclosed Putin's prepared aggression long before the attack. As long as he controls Kremlin, he will terrorize the whole world. It's high time to interrogate him.

    • I will try to reassure you :)))))))))) Russian people to take care of that Putin and such as he controlled the Kremlin for a long time :)))))) Try not to explode with hatred :))))))) )
      Do not read books by American authors. They are never write the truths about Russia. I bet there is written that Russia has won Georgia in the 19 century and occupied it. The Georgian president says so and he studied in the United States. Meanwhile, the truth is that Georgia has sought refuge from the Turkish Empire and became part of Russia on its own. By the way, in first Ossetia and Abkhazia had become parts of Russia and then Georgia become such a part :)))))))) There were a little more than 200,000 of georgians because the Turks exterminated them, and Russia had saved them. These facts know any Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Armenian etc. schoolchildren. This is not propaganda. In 1920, the leader of Georgia Noah Jordania ordered General Kvinitadze to kill all of Ossetians! Then Georgia was not yet the Soviet country. And they have killed more than 30 thousand Ossetians! Is it in American books that you read?! In 1991, the President of Georgia Gomsahurdiya said: "The Ossetians are not people but debris. If they are so fond of Russians let them go! Sweep them away out of Georgia with a broom!" This quotation. The war began. In 2008 the war repeated Saakashvili. The history of Caucasus in Russia know much better than in Europe and North America. Why? Because Russians exploring this history for centuries and indeed we have done this story ''with our own hands''! What do you know about the Caucasus when you are 15 thousand miles away of it? Oh yes! You have got a TV! And they often show a Nazi Saakashvili!

      • Pravda, you're just spewing lies without any care aren't you? I have not found a single true statement in what you wrote. Doesn't "pravda" mean "truth" in Russian? You should put a bit of that in your propaganda rantings to make them look credible. Check with your KGB superiors, they'll tell you how to use propaganda tools properly. I guess you're still young…

        • Where is any true statement in what you wrote, George??? Only laughable, childish and already making tired cries "KGB" and "propaganda!" Hhhh, sorry, can't suppress a yawn=))))

        • Georgians have one answer to everything – the KGB!

          [youtube 8_WfZxDGJJ8 youtube]

          [youtube kLPQlzIrxLc youtube] part 1

          [youtube nWm7OnwyNFI youtube] part 2

          This video from the War of 1920 and 2008. The first video contains subtitles in English. There's also an interview with an American man who married to an Ossetian woman and he was in South Ossetia in August 8, 2008 in Tszinvali. Another film in Russian, and unfortunately not translated into English. Who cares, find a person who knew Russian. That's true! A book of American and Georgian authors to read – to swim in the propaganda and lies!

          • For some reason the film did not get here. Strange service of the forum (((
            Okay, that's enough.

  15. Well, looks like Georgians are sitting here making comments and arguing with Russians. They even do it in Russian language. Nobody else is much interested. Because what is Georgia and who could be much concerned about it outside the former Soviet Union? I believe it was a part of Russia for centuries and even Stalin was from Georgia himself. Now they are trying to rewrite their own history? This is ridiculous.

    • Another Russian I gather?

    • Ju, I would even suppose that it is Saakashvili himself who is sitting hear making comments =)))) and trying to abuse Russians instead of doing something really helpful for his poor country, whose people since disintegration of the Soviet Union could only make money by doing criminal business in Georgia or Russia or just by working again in Russia.

  16. Something is going a little crazy with the thumbs. A guy posts something in Russian, using the cyrillic alphabet no less, and gets +9? Something odd going on here.

    • Ha-ha, good point! I guess if KGB pays money to the author they should also provide a show of support for this drivel.

    • Must be a spy code. That might be a hint of how many spies are here on a mission to count our beavers .

      • After our beavers are they? The bas!ards!!

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  18. I was born in Russia and was raised in Canada. In recent years I visited many former soviet countries and just returned from Georgia and Armenia on July 2nd.
    Well I am Russian but I can tell you that all the Russian TV shows and Russian paid articles like this one is pure propaganda. First of all when I entered Georgia through Batumi airport the border control lady greeted me with the words “Welcome to Georgia”. On the plane were lots of Russian tourists who flew through Istanbul. After getting their visas at the border for 50 Lari ($30 USD) they went through the customs and were greeted in Russian! But this is just one little thing.

  19. I also saw police that will never stop you or ask bribe. I saw lots of tourist and actually some of them were from Canada even one sitting beside me on the plain from Istanbul to Batumi. I saw tourists from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Japan, UK, Turkey and Poland. The whole country is in the process of rebuilding right now. Old soviet infrastructure is being taken apart and replaced with new one. I saw sewage pipes being laid and light poles installed. A modern high-way is being laid from Tbilisi to the West of the country towards Batumi. The whole country is illuminated even villages which is very rare in former soviet states. I have also seen playgrounds and recreational centers with modern water parks and tennis and soccer fields for youth.

  20. Compared even to Armenia which I also visited this summer Georgia is like EU. With that said you cannot compare Georgia to EU or Canada but I would say …YET! Staying at the Georgian border after returning from Armenia an Armenian truck driver approached me and asked me for a cigarette. We started talking about Armenia and Georgia and he told me that he feels very safe when he drives through Georgia which he cannot say about Armenia. It was just a casual talk but it showed that the Armenian driver was in a good way jealous towards Georgia and the way the country is changing. Same I can say about Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus which I visited since 2008 maybe with the exception of Belarus where you can feel presence of soviet era everywhere. They are all behind Georgia at the moment and the gap is growing.

  21. The only few things I didn't like about Georgia are that people throw garbage everywhere but that's a socialist habit that needs time to heal. The second one is that people drive like they are Formula 1 drivers everywhere even in the cities partly because police is so liberal there. The third one is that there is plenty of construction going everywhere but people say it is paid to little so we will not work. So people from villages and Turks have to do the rebuilding of the country. Unemployment rate is still high between people of age 40 and older. One thing is for sure the socialist mentality in Georgia is changing and you can feel it everywhere. Too bad countries like Moldova, Ukraine and Armenia are losing time.
    This article is garbage. Go to Georgia and then write articles Stephanie or better go to few former soviet countries and only then write an article.

  22. Guys, are you real Canadians? Don't you see what is going on with the company “GazProm Corp. Canada” nowadays? How can you sleep so quietly? Do something for your country and people that live nearby. We should support our identity and the identity of the company that Russians try to take from us. That Russian company wants to replace our national enterprise and we can't just stare at the situation that is happening in Canada. Let's unite and make a wall to all the people from other countries who try to kill our national property and concepts. Drive these inveterate rogues away from Canada and its companies!
    We ask you to support and give your vote for at the website we've mentioned.

  23. If the author, his Slavics studies expert/s and some of the readers who left comments here worry about 'anti-Russian' campaign in Georgia, here is an incomplete laundry list what Russian State (not people, as most of the ordinary Russians cannot be blamed what has been done by their rulers, current or past, many of them were not even ethnic Russians) has to do to make peace with Georgians:
    Russian military and KGB unities (so called boarder guards) must leave currently occupied Georgian territories
    Russian Government must apologize for the massive ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and allow displaced people to return to their homes
    Russian Government must apologize for the killings, rape, and beheadings of ethnic Georgians committed by their soldiers and proxy paramilitaries in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
    Russian Government must apologize for shelling, torching, and, finally bulldozing to the ground Georgian villages around tskhinvali (Tamarasheni, Kekhvi and others) and stop building military barracks in the places of these destroyed villages.

  24. It is a pitty.Really. It's depressing that hundreds of years of friendship between Russia and Georgia were just wiped away in few days by one little crazy mother…er…People, we won the Greatest War of all times together, were we alone we would be destroyed. And it's not only this, it's everything. Who helped you to fight turks and persians (XVIII century)? You were almost extincted that time. And that it is your word of thanks? That is Your Grattitude and Your Memmory? I will never believe that few bastards sponsored by America will ruin our bonds forever.