Russian Stick & Carrot in Georgia
07 July, 2011

The life in the USSR was inspired and saturated more profoundly with Stalinist state system and ideology than with any Marxism, Leninism, Social-democracy or Communism. Therefore, disparaging Stalin meant inveighing against that new type of an empire, which in other words meant that the Soviet communist leadership was sawing the branch off on which they were comfortably ensconced.  Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.


GJ – Kosygin was the same kind of an anti-Georgian person. They were all known for their xenophobic

anti-Georgian stance and utterances.

SM – But what happened is that Suslov prohibited anti-Stalinist ideological fight although no rehabilitation of Great Leader had taken place in the Soviet Union. In a word, neutral policies were adopted – neither praising nor disparaging. In principle, Suslov was an intelligent man. The problem was that criticism against Stalin was turning into anti-Soviet propaganda which was too bad for the then current Soviet leaders. The entire Soviet system looked like a big mistake as a result of denouncing Stalin because it was Stalin who had created that system. That was a new Russian empire – more centralized, powerful and tyrannical than ever before where the role of aristocracy was played by the communist party elite, and the Russian imperial dynasty was represented by Stalin’s spiritual followers. The life in the USSR was inspired and saturated more profoundly with Stalinist state system and ideology than with any Marxism, Leninism, Social-democracy or Communism. Therefore, disparaging Stalin meant inveighing against that new type of an empire, which in other words meant that the Soviet communist leadership was sawing the branch off on which they were comfortably ensconced.

GJ – If that was so, why had the rehabilitation of Stalin not taken place?

SM – It was not rational and it made no sense at all for Soviet authorities to revive Stalin’s cult of personality because this could exacerbate the confrontation with the West. The tension within the country was possible too.

GJ – How about the new Soviet government? Did they change the political course? What kind of policy did they adopt?

SM – Georgia remembers very well both – the Yermolov policy and the Vorontsov policy, the former was a violent and forceful, and the latter used to be benign and benevolent. They were both oriented on Russia’s having Georgia at her back and call.

GJ – Russia had always used the stick and carrot policy in relation to Georgia, hadn’t it?

SM – Yes, that is true! What Yermolov could not achieve with the help of stick, Vorontsov tried to accomplish by means of using carrot. His was the policy of warming relations with Georgia, using a well-wrapped loyalty to its people which was much more effective then the cruelty of Yermolov. They both were the Russian viceroys in Georgia at different times. Returning to Soviet times and authorities, Mzhavanadze’s rule in Georgia deserves a great deal of a historian’s attention and we have amply deliberated on the subject too. If there is any nostalgia at all about the life-style of the former USSR, even among those who were not even born at that time, they mostly miss the Soviet Union of the Mzhavanadze period rather than the time when Shevardnadze came to power in Georgia as the communist party leader.

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