The Blue Jeans Generation
01 September, 2011
The Blue Jeans Generation

Some of them died on the spot and some were sentenced to capital punishment. On the other hand, the Soviet Law or the International Law could have allowed finding some leeway for averting that severe punishment. That was exactly the moment which had corroborated that the Stalinist times had lingered on in the Country of Soviets which meant th

at nothing much had changed in reality. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – In the period of Shevardnadze’s political activity in Georgia, a group of the Georgian youth decided to hijack a passenger plane to flee the Soviet Union for a political asylum in a foreign country. The attempt had eventuated tragically, and the story itself made a dark stain on Shevardnadze’s political biography. Interestingly enough, the discussion of the fact has never desisted, and controversial opinions keep clashing until today. Don’t you think the attempt of hijack could be evaluated as a certain protest against the existing reality in the country?

SM – Yes, I do! I thought then, and I do think now that it was a protest against the existing regime in the country. The main characters of the story were members of the elitist families of Georgia – successful, talented and educated young people – who could easily afford a trip to any country in the world to seek political asylum and stay there forever if they wanted to. Instead, they chose a more acute form of protest, having decided to hijack a plane and flee their country in a deliberately demonstrative way. I also think that their decision was provoked by the secret service; the secret service participation was sensed in the entire event.

GJ – What makes you think so?

SM – There are many unanswered questions registered in the materials of the investigation. The most tragic part of the story was that many people had died as a result of opening the fire on them by Soviet secret service agents, for which act the young hijackers were finally blamed. Some of them died on the spot and some were sentenced to capital punishment. On the other hand, the Soviet Law (or the International Law) could have allowed finding of some leeway for averting that severe punishment. It is very important to note that a clergyman was executed who was not even aboard the plane during the incident. He was simply accused of having organized everything. That was exactly the moment which had corroborated that the Stalinist times had lingered on in the Country of Soviets which meant that nothing much had changed in reality.

GJ – We can still have a reasonable doubt if the form of the protest was fairly and correctly chosen by those young people . . .

SM – Correct! It might not have been the most optimal way to express protest, but their execution was an obvious overuse of state power, especially against the person who was not even included in the actual process of hijacking. The clergyman’s former wife was apprehended and tortured too. Why so? What law would allow that much atrocity?

GJ – As I remember, one of the arrested persons was a 23-year old pregnant woman whose child became the victim of the induced abortion. She survived but her husband – one of the participants in the hijack – was executed.

SM – This was a classically typical red terror . . .

GJ – There was demonstrated an egregious cynicism even during the investigation process and at the moment of executions. It is an extremely interesting fact that a considerable part of Georgia’s intelligentsia (intellectuals), especially the college youth felt great compassion for the ‘Plane Boys’ notwithstanding the fact of unbridled propaganda against them in the press, depicting the hijackers as traitors and cold-blooded killers. The history has preserved their image as the Blue Jeans Generation which was totally pro-western with their lifestyle, mindset, manners and dress. They were just trying to escape the abominable Soviet stereotypical way of thinking and the way of life. They were dreaming to acquire personal freedom and liberated mindset. That was their protest against the existent rule. And the real reason for the Soviet court to make such a fragrantly super-strict ruling was this, nothing else.

SM – I absolutely agree with you.

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