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My Musings on Georgia’s Anti-Russian antics by Prof. Vladimir Golstein
We know that politicians play their games and use their strategies, smokescreens, and spinning to get what they want. If Russophobia pays, why not use it? That’s what they do in Poland, and Ukraine, and United Kingdom, and Baltic States. If it works for local consumption only, fine.
Russian government probably uses it too — what’s the best way to unite the nation than to show that it is under siege. So I am not surprised that Russian press milks the images of angry Georgians for their own purposes.
With the sloppy way perestroika was accomplished, Russians felt utterly humiliated. Just few facts for those who have neither memory, nor understanding.
1991, and then again in 1998 –The collapse of the ruble, which twice wiped out all people’s savings. People with say, comfortable 10 thousand rubles on their accounts (which was a price of a good car) ended up with $20 bill for that. Then New Chechen war and its losses.
1998. 80% of Russian farms went bankrupt. 70 thousand factories closed. Epidemic of unemployment. 72 mil Russians (half of the country) fell below the poverty line.
In 2006 Russian government estimated that that there were 715 thousand homeless kids, while UNISEF raised this number to 3 mil. Suicide rate doubled, violent crime rate increased fourfold, and consumption of alcohol doubled in comparison with the Soviet period.
1999. NATO bombs the hell out of Serbia, and all Russians can do is to watch it in helpless anger, Eltsin’s excursion into Pristina notwithstanding.
Add to that a total change in ethnic make up of Russian cities, where all of the sudden all the markets belong to Azeris, plenty of other businesses are run by Chechens and Georgians, and so on. Yet, Russians just stoically put up with that, like a chained bear, continue to swallow the baiting, that comes both from these ethnic minorities inside the country, and outside it.
People who die at sixty with zero money to their name have to hear that they are occupants, that they are slaves, pigs, soviet deplorables, and all other crap that the westernized liberals along with assorted nationalists from Ukraine, Georgia or Estonia, keep on throwing at them.
What should be truly surprising is that there are so few ethnic and other sorts riots. Any other powerful group, would be rioting non stop. Luckily, the economics has improved since then, and plenty of Russians can feel justifiable proud of what their country has accomplished. Yet, the sense of national insult, national humiliation has remained. At least among the people who’ve survived these awful years.
So if Georgians or any other fool wants to play with fire, let them. But I don’t recommend it. Pushkin had warned the authorities of a Russian revolt: senseless and merciless, long time ago.
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