A Legalized Soviet Criminal
14 July, 2011

The national mindset that could be identified with independent statehood was at nadir in Georgia at that time. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.


GJ – Thus the sweet illusion was created that the Soviet Union was a successful country . . .

SM – Absolutely! This kind of policy had worked perfectly well and it had a huge effect. Mikhail Suslov, the secretary of the central committee of the communist party of the Soviet Union and the chief ideologist of the country

was the mastermind of that cunning and masterfully precalculated policy.

GJ – What was happening with the national-liberation movement in Georgia which had started on March 9 of 1956? Had it continued in the years to follow?

SM – Good question! The Georgian national-liberation movement had never been as slow and bleak as in 1950’s. Even during the Second World War, there was a rebel group functioning in Georgia which aimed at overthrowing the current Soviet administration and driving the Soviet army out of the Georgian territory. In the years between 1964 and 1972 nothing of the sort was taking place in Georgia.

GJ – Where were the young leaders of the Georgian national-liberation movement Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava at that moment?

SM – They were in place, doing their job as they possibly could, but the reality was such that nobody listened to them seriously. Whatever wise and practicable things they propagated, there was almost no chance that their ideas would be taken into consideration by the people, saying nothing about the impossibility to follow them. The Georgian dissidents had their get-togethers every now and then, they discussed national problems, published the anti-government literature and contemplated Georgia’s future with the sense of genuine patriotism with a very critical eye against the current situation in the Soviet Georgia, but there was a zero chance even to dream about any radical change in the country at that particular stage. Thus the overall situation in Georgia was that an average Georgian person lived more or less comfortably and achieved some success somehow. Success was achievable in sports and arts and other fields too. The impression was that Georgian men and women were capable of being successful enough to bring fame to motherland and their own people. Nobody was thinking about the fact that in case of a Georgian person’s victory in an international sports event, like Olympic Games, it was not Georgia’s flag that would be raised or Georgia’s national anthem that would be played, but the flag and anthem of the USSR. The world was taking that victory as the victory of a Russian athlete, not an ethnic Georgian.

GJ – In the duration of the entire 70 years of the existence of the Soviet Union, the Soviet flag was associated with Russia as a rule. The world was not even aware of Georgia’s existence as such. Is this true?

SM – Yes it is! Georgia went into oblivion as a sovereign country and an independent political unit not only in the eyes of the society in general but also in international political circles. The national mindset that could be identified with independent statehood was at nadir here. There was nothing wrong with good sportsmanship and fine arts, but the state institutions and the entire state was corrupt and interconnected with the ‘fathers’ of shadow economy in the country. Corruption was rampant and it was turning fast into a popular way life. No matter how good a person you might be or how perfect a personality you possess, corruption will always be corruption and it cannot let you be genuinely good. Further more, the corrupt situation was ruled by state-manipulated ‘legalized thieves’, the phenomenon which was deliberately created by Soviet secret service, which practically used to be the Soviet mafia. There was only one difference though from the classic understanding of mafia: if mafia had its historical roots in the Sicilian national movement, and initially the indigenous national sentiment kept its members together, the so called ‘legalized thief’ was just an ugly protuberance on the Soviet body, exclusively created by Moscow. The worst part of the whole thing though was that for the Soviet rank-and-file, especially the younger generation, the criminal world was becoming a certain authority and subject of emulation which was working as a morally destructive force.

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