Writers’ Case (Part Two)
10 February, 2011
Writers’ Case (Part Two)

In an attempt to publicly defy the Stalinist repressions and the policies of Soviet authorities, the famous Georgian writer and public figure Paolo Iashvili committed suicide by shooting himself in the building of Georgian Writers Association right in the middle of a crowded conference in presence of foreign writers and journalists. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.
GJ – Did Grigol Robakidze comply with the demand of the Soviet government?
SM – Grigol Robakidze refused to go back to Soviet Georgia,

and because of his refusal to obey the Soviet government’s command, the State Security Service (later named KGB) started harassing Paolo Iashvili and Titsian Tabidze.
GJ – Did Grigol know this? 
SM – Yes, he had certainly heard the news and decided to return home, but Titsian and Paolo wrote him a letter saying not to come back. They also wrote that they were going to use his public condemnation as a red herring for the government to save their lives. Indeed, Titsian and Paolo published a disparaging article in the Georgian-language Soviet newspaper “Komunisti’ in which they blamed Grigol Robakidze in the treason against the Soviet Government, asking German authorities for his extradition.
GJ – They probably knew a priori that the German government would never do that.
SM – Of course they did. On his own part, Grigol pretended that he was hurt by the article and responded with an acrimonious and derogatory article, published in Germany, deriding the men and women of letters living back in the Soviet Union. 
GJ – Had the feint worked?
SM – After this mutual denunciation aimed at blinding the communist authorities, Grigol Robakidze stayed in Germany, and the Soviet security service (future KGB) left Titsian and Paolo alone, although temporarily. As you know, in 1936 the Soviet Union was utterly swept by the overwhelming repressions, involving the Soviet poets and writers too. They remembered the fact that Grigol Robakidze, now the famous anti-Soviet writer had left for Germany by the recommendation of Titsian Tabidze and Paolo Iashvili. The communists also remembered Paolo’s anticommunist poetic past and started to actively denounce him in press or otherwise, thus trying to damage his good name in every possible way. Stalin entertained a vicious practice of morally destroying a big celebrity, turning a hero into an anti-hero by means of his propaganda machine, then arresting and finally executing his victim. Paolo Iashvili understood well that he would never be able to escape the communist repression. Moreover, the Soviet regime would first eliminate the poetic fraternity of ‘Blue Horns’ and only then they would take his life. So, in an attempt to publicly defy the Stalinist repressions and the policies of Soviet authorities, the famous Georgian writer and public figure Paolo Iashvili committed suicide by shooting himself in the building of Georgian Writers Association right in the middle of a crowded conference in presence of foreign writers and journalists.
GJ – His suicide must have developed into a huge public scandal . . .
SM – It is all very easy to imagine: the fact became known to the literary circles of the world sooner than it had happened. The media did its job. This was an unprecedented case of ridicule over the terrorist Soviet rule. Accordingly, Stalin instructed one of his faithful lieutenants Lavrenti Beria to do his utmost in order to neutralize the unfavorable situation damaging the image of communists as a result of Paolo’s suicide.

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