Vasili Mzhavanadze
23 June, 2011
Vasili Mzhavanadze

Mzhavanadze was trying to hide Georgia’s actual revenues from the Kremlin, using the saved funds for developing the local infrastructure and for helping  people economically, building houses for them, saying nothing about the business activity of the Lazishvili and the Lekishvili families, which was a very important prerequisite for the development of capitalist economy in the country. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – Nikita Khrushchev’s rule in the Soviet Union coincided with revitalizing of national ideas in Georgia and beginning

of national-liberation movement here. This process was definitely stimulated by certain political events. One of them was the gory settlement of accounts with Georgians on the 9th of March of 1956 in Tbilisi. Khrushchev’s extraordinary hatred for Georgians is also very well known as a fact.

SM – The Georgian people were short of so called fathers and the mentors of the nation because almost all of them were eliminated in the infamous 1937 – the worst year of the Stalinist purges. More than 20 years had elapsed, and the witnesses of those communist atrocities were no longer around. Even their memories had faded away. How come the national-liberation movement had erupted with such a powerful charge in this kind of circumstance?  Your comment on the subject was very fair – Khrushchev was playing the role of a stimulator in this case. Georgians reacted extremely negatively to the fact of disparaging Stalin’s cult of personality because we all took it very personally. On top of that, the appointment of Georgians in high federal positions started to be blocked. Georgians were given a red light on the way to politburo. They lost federal jobs all over the country. This was the period when national feud and ethnic confrontations were promoted by Russians in Apkhazeti (Abkhazia). The rumor had it – and not without a reason – that Khrushchev was going to deport Georgians to Mid Asia and Siberia. As early as in 1953, two persons came to Georgia to occupy the ruling posts: Vasili Mzhavanadze who was appointed the first secretary of the central committee of Georgia’s communist party, and Alexi Inauri who was promoted as minister of state security of the country. They played a very important part in the developments of those times in Georgia.

GJ – As far as I know, only thanks to Mzhavanadze’s efforts and diplomacy Khrushchev’s absurd xenophobic decision had not been enforced – the railway cars were ready at the station to carry Georgians out of the country to far away places. Is this true?

SM – Yes, it is! But it was not only the kind and wise attempt of Vasili Mzhavanadze. There were other circumstances, playing a certain role too. Had it depended on only Khrushchev’s decision he might have enforced it without any doubt. Georgians knew all that very well. The protests were given a new impetus which turned into a new phase of national-liberation movement. The leaders of the movement were arrested and persecuted, but as I said, the Soviet authorities were not obstructing the development of national business activity. This process continued until 1964, the time when Eduard Shevardnadze came to power in Georgia.

GJ – It is well known that during Khrushchev’s rule Georgia was faced with huge problems of food supply . . .

SM – The problem was rampant all over the entire Soviet Union. Georgia was not an exception from the rule. Just the contrary, Georgia had survived the hunger problems better than any other Soviet republic. At that time the standard of living was highest in Georgia except the Baltic Sea republics. The reason was the developing capitalism. Interestingly, based on the economic data, Georgia always occupied the last place in the Soviet Union during the Mzhavanadze rule. The impression was that Georgia was the weakest among the Soviet republics.

GJ – How about in reality? Was it not true actually?

SM – No, of course not! You know what was happening?

GJ – What?

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