|THE POLITICAL CLOT
MOSCOW. (Gennady Bordyugov, member of the RIA Novosti Expert Council)
Blockades and sanctions have a human dimension. I cannot even imagine the
tons of books, newspapers and magazines for the 600,000 Russian speakers
in Georgia that are accumulating on the Russian-Georgian border. It is
impossible to say how many scientific conferences, art exhibitions and
festivals will be cancelled.
The political clot has blocked the cultural and spiritual arteries that
connect the two countries, which we worked hard to clean, and pushed us
away from each other.
The escalation of provocations has a logic of its own. When obvious
sources feeding the conflict become exhausted, the authorities find new
ones. It cannot be ruled out that they may prohibit Russian as a teaching
subject, close Russian literature departments at Tbilisi and Gori
universities, remove Russian books from libraries and shops, or close the
famous Griboyedov Theater and the Russian Cultural Center, whose motto is,
“Oh, Georgia, the cradle of the Russian muse.”
Likewise, Russia, which has suspended the import of Georgian wines and
mineral water and canceled residence and labor quotas for Georgians, may
take action to liquidate the Georgian “fifth column” in Russia,
outlawing Georgian communities, closing schools and kindergartens where
some subjects are taught in Georgian, cancelling the ArtGruz festival of
modern Georgian art, which is still just taking its first steps, and
dissolving the Society of Georgians in Russia, which has 350,000 members
in 35 Russian regions.
All this would mean that Russia has taken the bait and that Russian
society is rife with anti-Georgian sentiment.
We must prevent this. The people must not become hostages to narrow-minded
nationalism. The political realm should be kept separate from the human
one, which took centuries to develop. No regime should be permitted to
usurp this space, which belongs to both nations, for political
considerations. The intellectual classes of Russia and Georgia must do
their best to keep up dialogue and cultural exchange.
Time can be big or small. Georgian philosopher Zaza Shatirashvili once
said that big time does not fit into small time, and small time has no
memory of the past, but everything remains in its rightful place and
memory is enduring in big time.
What time are we living in? We must not allow a political clot to make us
forget what Bulat Okudzhava, a Georgian poet who lived and died in Moscow,
said: “Don’t lock your door, but keep it always open.” -0-