Soviet Putsch & Georgia
22 December, 2011
Soviet Putsch & Georgia

Russia needed a reason, and sought for it desperately to justify her continuous occupation of 20% of Georgia’s territory. Eventually, Russia found such a convenient reason to do its vicious job, but the point is that Georgia could have avoided the dire consequences of Russia’s violent act. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – Confrontation and war put Georgia off the track of its development for several decades. The fact of the Soviet Union’s disintegration which meant an automatic liberation and

independence of every soviet republic was met by Georgia involved in civil war, ruined economy and political destabilization. Moreover, the main plight was still in store for the exhausted and the beleaguered nation. Where was all that taking Georgia to?

SM – In the days of the Putsch I had a person-to-person encounter with President Gamsakhurdia. I well remember his words – ‘Breakup of the Soviet Union is inevitable, we just need a couple of days more. Let’s after this hold multi-partisan elections and do whatever makes more sense’. His aim was to live to see the coming of the cherished day in order to celebrate together with his beloved people what he had fought for his entire life. In 1921, when the Georgian democratic republic (1918-1921) was still alive, Britain was working on the provisions of the treaty with Russia. It was presumed that Georgia would have maintained its long-fought-for national independence and freedom as a consequence of that treaty. The treaty was finally signed on the 18th of March of 1921, but Georgia’s Menshevik government had abandoned the country in a hurry on February 25, 1921 to find refuge in emigration. At the moment of their escape, Georgia was just one month shy of finally finding itself provided with the long-lasting and peaceful status quo. The Menshevik government had to resist the Russian Bolshevik military and political pressure for just one more month, which regretfully had never happened. Gamsakhurdia lacked just four days to achieve final victory, but he was not given a chance to hold onto power until the noisy crash of the Soviet Empire. The opposition ousted him four days too soon. Those facts are certainly more than a trivial piece of history. They simply make a great topic for a novel. This is just a paradox! What I am trying to emphasize right now may not be easily understood by a certain category of readers, like foreign ones, but those who know Georgians a little better will immediately conceive the meaning of my comments – we are the people with inherent ability to overly and unassumingly exalt when we have a reason to be felicitous. I strongly believe that Georgia could have avoided the civil war had they had enough patience for President Gamsakhurdia in those crucial four days of our history – from 22 to 25 December of 1991 – but alas, exactly the opposite had happened.

GJ – The war had turned everything upside down in Georgia and pushed the Nation backwards for several decades. What we are mowing now is a direct consequence of that stupid civil war at that time, isn’t it?

SM – It is exactly the result of that civil war that 20% of Georgia’s territory is occupied today. President Gamsakhurdia had abrogated the South Ossetia autonomy, which was followed by the escalation of the conflict in the region. But it was then that President Gamsakhurdia met with Russia’s leader Yeltsin in Kazbegi, who recognized Georgia’s territorial integrity. This meant that in case of the Soviet Unions breakup, Russia would automatically recognize Georgia as an independent country within the current legitimate boundaries of Georgia in the given situation.

GJ – Destabilization had started in Apkhazeti (Abkhazia) too, hadn’t it?

SM – Speaking about Apkhazeti (Abkhazia), the situation was calm and under control there thanks to President Gamsakhurdia’s constitutional reforms. As soon as the civil war had started and the President was compelled to leave the country, the Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba, with the help of Russians, the KGB and also assisted by the Georgian traitors, had managed to aggravate the situation. Georgia found itself in a political void, bereft of official authorities. So the motives which Russia had invented in order to maintain the occupation of 20% of Georgia’s territory would never have materialized. I am not saying anything about the ruined Georgian economy. I am not saying anything about Georgia’s spiritual life. I am not saying anything about the outrageously exacerbated person-to-person relationships in the country. (Continued in the next article on the same page)

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