‘Chto Delat?’
15 November, 2012
‘Chto Delat?’

This is the title of a political pamphlet written by Lenin in 1901 which translates like ‘What is to be done?’ It was inspired by the novel of the same name by the nineteenth-century Russian revolutionary Nikolai Chernyshevsky. We cannot say that Russia did not have thinkers, can we? I mean, at that time... Incidentally, I also tend to be a thinker; hence the question that recurs to me always when I am thinking of the current situation in Georgia.

Lenin argued that Russian Marxists had to form a political party of dedicated revolutionaries to spread their ideas.

Not relevant in today’s Georgia, is it? Georgia has more than enough political parties which have done and keep doing their job as expertly as they can possibly manage. But the above question continues to be as burning and bothering as ever before. What if the wisest of the learned men of the country, notwithstanding their political orientation and party affiliation, find time and place to sit together, let’s say around a campfire, to smoke the pipe of peace and understanding, and hammer out a joint optimal response to this tormenting question. Yes, my valued brethren, we cannot procrastinate any longer answering the most important question of the century – what is to be done? I had once put this question in front of the national elite when the communist regime in Georgia was replaced by a new national power. At that point in time, I proposed to start with making a nationwide inventory and then to proceed with the rest of other exigencies. I even had a strong American expert sent over to Tbilisi from the States to get involved in the situation with his professional consultations in favor of the new Georgian government concerning the future of the country, trickling the effort down to the essence of the haunting question. Externally, a lot has changed since then, but in essence, the question has not lost its significance. What is to be done? Is it agriculture which has to be made a predominant direction in the country’s economy? Is it an industrial boom which might propel the country forward? Is it an educational reform that would provide for radical changes in our philosophy of life? Is it a focus on the optimized utilization of our intellectual potential? Is it development of tourism and the service sector in general? What is it? I don’t know . . . What I know for sure is that we have to know exactly where we currently stand and where we are headed for, what we want from ourselves and from the rest of the world, what makes more sense to do today and to do tomorrow, what we can and what we cannot, what we should and what we should not, and finally, what kind of behavioral model would have enough capacity to let Georgia find the most fitting niche among the nations of the world. What is to be done? Finish with anything nonsensical and detrimental and start working for real! ‘Real’ in this context means creating actual well-being for the Georgian people who is extremely tired of expectations. If the air is going to be full with interminable political changes and ensuing retaliations, if we busy ourselves only with endless incriminations and investigations of what had happened yesterday, then the time will never come for creating a product which can bring about the cherished prosperity. The borrowed cash, even donated out of certain Georgian patriots’ deep pockets, cannot work forever. We need to stop being permanently dependent, angry and frustrated at the doings of bygone times and regimes. We need to start making our own money. Now! This is the answer to Lenin’s quintessential question ‘Cho Delat?’ And we better believe it!

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