Culture
Response to Falsehoods
13 February, 2014
Vazha Kiknadze, Director of the Institute of History and Ethnology, talked to Georgian Journal about the aggressive political and informational war of Russia against Georgia and the occupied territories. Several Russian experts have said that it is “abusive” and very aggressive, and aims to cripple the Georgian state and its identity. The Institute of History and Ethnology follows these developments, and urges government and society to quickly respond.
Q. What kind of false information about Georgia calls for a quick
response?
A. In spite of Georgia’s normal politics and attitude, the aggressive tone from certain Russian circles gets worse. But these circles are closely connected with governmental circles, and I have to say that this is not only aggression but abusive aggression. The readers of Georgian Journal know about the speech of Mikheil Chernov in Armenia, where he called Georgia “just territory that Russia needs” to build roads to connect with Armenia. We don’t forget ideological and historical attacks that take place in Apkhazeti and so called South Ossetia. For example, in the so called South Ossetia, a newspaper published a text in September 2013 claiming that the Liakhvi gorge was never settled by Georgian villages - and moreover, that was even impossible. And all this takes place when we offer peace, and we have even renamed the ministry of integration – giving it a more peaceful tone – as the Ministry of Reconciliation and Civil Equality. Then we see other texts claiming that Georgian villages never existed in the Liakhvi gorge. Finally, there is a more threatening text which claims that even Kazbegi is Ossetian territory, and it should be returned to Ossetia.
Q. How do Georgian historians refute these texts?
A. The main thing is that this territory is full of Georgian texts, and inscriptions on historical monuments. When their side wants to prove such lies it will stop at nothing: but it is nonsense to say there is no Georgian trace there. Another danger is that we’ve got information that they began a so-called restoration process in Tigva and other historical monasteries near Tskhinvali. We have suspicions that this restoration is just an attempt to remove Georgian traces from that territory as well.
Q. How does the West respond to these fake historical texts?
A. I can’t say that there is some special organization that works on these issues. But the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has options here. It could stop this kind of cultural aggression.
Q. What kind of reaction is your institute making to these aggressive comments and statements?
A. Our main weapon is the truth - to make the world know it. We try to respond to these false publications with proven history. There was a Club of Experts that translated our responses and sent them to other countries, and they were read by our opponents, because we used to receive responses. But the work of this club has stopped right now. So our institute is very important, and it must be preserved since we face a challenging situation currently. If we don’t respond to these comments, it could be perceived as agreement.

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