01 December, 2011


Interview with philosopher Giorgi Margvelashvili

‘The visit to Moscow was very important and useful for our country and church’, declared Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia after returning from Moscow.   ‘Unfortunately Russian Orthodox Church, which is the Kremlin’s branch, has declared direct crusade for restoration of the Soviet Union’ – this was said by the Georgian President while Catholicos-Patriarch was still in Moscow. We discussed this and other issues with philosopher Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Q. – How justified is the confrontation of state and

church positions at such times?

G.M. – We all remember the Patriarch’s efforts during retreiving the bodies of our deceased soldiers from the battlefield as well as the Perevi episode. We see how much relief can be brought by the Patriarch’s so-called ‘non-governmental’ diplomacy to the country and to people who suffer due to the authorities’ reckless policy.

Declarations were made and what’s more, they were much more irresponsible than ever before. It’s no more a political assessment because insulting of a church helmsman by the political leader of another country is an offense not only of this church but its parish as well.

One mustn’t insult the church, touch a nation. In this regard Georgian diplomacy, one can say, has made many mistakes.

Q. – More than one event was held in the Capital when celebrating eight years of the ‘Rose Revolution’. At one of them – opening of Ronald Reagan’s monument, Mikheil Saakashvili mentioned achievements of the ‘Rose Revolution’. He said that in Georgia, contrary to other post-Soviet countries, big changes took place in the people’s mentality, way of thinking. What’s your opinion about such changes? Are they indeed so noticeable?

G.M. – I have an impression that the changes were implemented not in a certain direction but in order to make the people more obedient. The first result of this was distancing from people. The phrase ‘people’ by and by became worn out and gradually disappeared.

There appeared a new motto: ‘We are the Progress’. But this regime created a big rift between the people and authorities. From this very moment a new stage of development of Georgia’s statehood started but these changes didn’t touch the people. They were made to get accustomed to the changes implemented by the authorities. That is, it isn’t the authorities that should change together with the people, they shouldn’t disseminate the culture; on the contrary, you should force the people to accept whatever you deem proper. Little by little you make people get accustomed to being different. And this resulted in a situation when the authorities claim to be progressive. So, they are progressive force but we, population don’t deserve to build the state based upon this cooperation and relations because we still have to grow up.

Q. – Probably the result of it is the attitude according to which the people isn’t yet ready to accept this or that reform; that for the society that for decades had communist  mentality any reform will be painful.

G.M. – I completely agree with you; this motivation appeared a bit later. At the beginning there was complete identity with people but as soon as this feeling weakened, a new motivation came into being - they knew more and we were to be brought up. But this motivation had one guideline – more or less directed to the western standards. It means that we must transform into Europe and America. For this reason we had to grow up from our past and become better Georgians. And what is the new Georgian like? Just like a bit worse Englishman or Frenchman. The authorities went along this road for some time and of course, the rift between the people and the authorities became even wider.

We no longer were the authentic Georgian nation that had to become better after the Shevardnadze era. We have turned into a mass that has to become ‘worse French and better Georgian’. And the authorities were knowledgeable how to fulfill this transformation. It’s natural that this phase was devaluated again as it was a lie – there has been no plan or vision how to turn this into reality. This idea perished when after 2007-2008, the West and America turned their back on Georgia as an equal partner. I wouldn’t say that after that many things were legitimized for Saakashvili but he became a leader of another level – manager of his little ghetto. From this moment on, when this Western ideal lost its enchantment as well, more isolation and marginalization of the authorities started and whatever we are witnessing now – I mean current state of the ruling elite - unfortunately it descended from the rhetoric of Founding Fathers of American democracy to the words of Luis XIV who said ‘I am the State’.

The current mode of thinking of our authorities – the way how they assess the opponents, the circumstances - is the mentality of complete but weak absolute monarchy, i.e. if you don’t serve me , you don’t serve highest values, the state.

Q. – Considering all this, when criticism of authorities is identified with that of the state and accordingly, any changes of authorities is acknowledged as the threat to the state, what are Bidzina Ivanishvili’s chances to come to power peacefully, by means of elections?

G.M. – A meeting held lately was significant for me; by the way, I don’t remember its content except one of the slogans that is still fresh in my mind, it said – ‘We make 99%’. I think it’s a real content of current political situation that must be used by a politician. The authorities are indeed marginalized, trying to strengthen their position but their condition is becoming even more fragile.

Is peaceful and legitimate development of processes possible? I think it is not only possible but even strategically very important in order to avoid forcible change of power in Georgia and once more to declare to the league of civilized peoples that we are an established, peaceful and well-developed nation.


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