Stalinist System Defeats Stalinism
16 June, 2011

The people understood that they were living in a tremendous absurd and that the entire system was a huge bluff. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – The death toll was so obfuscated in secrecy that the actual figures are not known even toady. In the Rustaveli Avenue, the meeting participants could not even understand what was going on when the soldiers showered them with bullets. Somebody had even cried out not to get scared because they were using blank cartridges. But

soon people understood that shooting was real when the first person fell, then the other, then the third . . . Shooting had continued for ten minutes. Whining of the wounded was heard around, they were asking for help. The wounded and the dead were hauled into the trucks together. After the massacre in the Rustaveli Avenue, the troops moved towards the Kura River embankment park-side where there was held another peaceful meting. It was there where a real manslaughter took place. The dead bodies were thrown right into the river. The town mortuaries were full. Many were buried the same night in common graves.

SM – A huge historical paradox had taken place – the Stalinist regime massacred the people for defending Stalin’s name, having done this publicly, right in the streets of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Murdered were mostly the young men and women who were born during Stalin’s rule. But bizarrely different was the morning of the 10th of March of 1956 for the intellectual part of Georgia’s population – the Stalinist system had murdered Stalinism. The people understood that they were living in a tremendous absurd. They understood that the entire system was a huge bluff, and they took a totally different direction in life. Two things were born and given impetus – the national movement in politics and the national movement in business. The political arena was occupied by the youth like Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Merab Kostava, Vova Sikharulidze, Guram Dochanashvili and others. Just nine people, the boys of 16 and 17. In the streets, there appeared leaflets stuck on walls demanding the national independence for Georgia. At the same time, one of the secretaries of the party central committee, the young Giorgi Gegeshidze started lobbying for the underground business which practically was a pattern of capitalism. The enterprises were created which aimed at the development of local industries and enrichment of a Georgian man, not the stupid Stakhanov and Komsomol movements, or the fulfillment of those state-ordered funny 5-year plans. Attempts were made to receive financial help from the ‘center’ (Moscow). New constructions began, roads were built, houses were constructed, streets were beautified, and sports palace and the stadium were built.

GJ – How could Khrushchev’s government put up with all that? Didn’t they see in Moscow what was happening in Georgia?

SM – Of course the saw all that, but they probably thought in Moscow that it was much better to let Georgians use their national energy on business development than on politics. This was the time when political anti-Soviet upheaval began in Hungary which finally was crushed and drowned in blood. All those events were a real eyesore for the West to watch. Although the national movement in politics was restricted – the activists were persecuted for promoting national ideals – but all those ideals were concentrated and nursed in culture and sports. Sports event venues were packed full with spectators, stadiums were overcrowded. Interestingly enough, the sporting confrontation with Russia was perceived by Georgians as an example of real fight with them.

GJ – Nothing has changed. The picture is the same in our days . . .

SM – I think so! For example, when Georgian rugby players are winning a game against a really strong foreign team of any nationality, we are not reacting as much as when our team is defeating even the weakest Russian team because the feeling is that there on the stadium we are defeating Russia .

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