NATIONAL MINORITIES: CIVIL INTEGRATION IN GEORGIA

Guram SVANIDZE


Guram Svanidze, Ph.D. (Philos.), employee at the Committee of Civil Integration, Georgian Parliament (Tbilisi, Georgia)


I

The political and legislative communities long ignored the problem of civil integration of national minorities for the simple reason that the nation had had no time to overcome so-called ethno-national thinking. Its apologists regard minorities as part of an ethno-nation with a statehood of its own, or as an ethno-nation living in a state where it forms a numerically small group with no statehood at all. In this way, statehood and an ethno-national community were considered identical to the extent that the terms could hardly be separated.

The doctrine was equally accepted by the titular and non-titular ethnoses. Its extreme manifestation took the form of ethno-egotism and a feverish ethnic consciousness; and general civic principles were pushed aside for the sake of egotistical group interests. The most extreme interpretations of ethno-nationalism result in regimes that tend, on the one hand, toward latent or even obvious ethnic purges. On the other, such manifestations urge national minorities to demand re-division of territories and force them to shift their loyalty from the country they live in to their historical homeland. The non-dominating ethnoses tend to suspect the state of favoring the dominant group at the expense of the rest. On the other hand, the dominant ethnic group suspects the ethnic minorities of ethnic egotism, etc.

Ethnic nationalism has already caused segmentation of Georgian society, which constitutes a mêlée of ethnic communities that are


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