RUSSIA AS A SUBJECT OF THE IDEOLOGY OF GEORGIAN NATIONALISM
Maxim Kirchanov, Ph.D. (Hist.), Lecturer at the Chair of International Relations and Regional Studies, International Relations Department, Voronezh State University (Voronezh, Russia)
Russian Narratives of Georgian Nationalism
Today, Russian narratives have moved to the fore in Georgian nationalism and have a special role to play in its development. For a long time, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire, and then the Soviet Union, which Georgian national consciousness regarded as a predominantly “Russian” state.
Disintegration of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s regained independence opened a new stage in Georgia’s relations with Russia. The discourse on history, which concentrates on contemporary political figures, is intimately connected with a particular political myth that presupposes the presence of certain political images (“others”).
The post-Soviet expanse interpreted the collapse of communism as “disintegration of the official collective memory,” which revived its numerous “unofficial narratives” related to the “images” of various states, including Russia.
In the 1990s, when South Ossetia and Abkhazia detached themselves from Georgia, Georgian politicians and nationally-biased intellectuals imposed the “victim syndrome” on their nation and blamed regional separatism on the “hand of Moscow.” “Deconstruction of the historical mythogenesis” of the Soviet period and the gradual crumbling of Russia’s image as the “elder brother” contributed to these interpretations.
The political changes of the early 2000s and Mikhail Saakashvili’s attempt to cut the Gordian knot of regional problems in August 2008 merely confirmed the anti-Russia stand of the nationalist-minded Georgian ideologists, which inevitably added to the tension between the two countries.
The Georgian political community believes that Eduard Kokoyty, the leader of the Republic of South Ossetia (RSO), has the “mind of a half-witted dictator”; and the results of the armed conflict of August 2008 are described as follows: “The war of 2008 was the culmination of Russia’s latent aggression which had been going on for many years. It brought Kokoyty’s gang and the local people “duped” by Russia’s ideology “the independence” they wanted so much.”
The Georgian nationalists are convinced that the construct Russia applied in Ossetia destabilized and aggravated the relations between different ethnic groups, which triggered the Georgian-Ossetian and Ingush-Ossetian conflicts: “There is no South Ossetia, just as there is no North, East, or West Ossetia; the Bolshevik artifact known as ‘South Ossetia’ disappeared along with the Soviet Union.”
D. Thompson writes that the recent developments, being related to national identity and self-awareness, are inevitably fairly painful, while their impact on politics is considerable.
The Georgian nationalists have the following to say about Russia’s policy toward the South Ossetian regime: “The Kremlin is applying its North Caucasian tactics in South Ossetia: a corrupt client is receiving a carte blanche in………………