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Russia, Georgia: Crisis Continues

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Georgia, Russia, Arts & Culture, Digital Activism, Economics & Business, Ethnicity & Race, Food, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Human Rights, International Relations, Law, Migration & Immigration, Politics, Protest, War & Conflict

As the confrontation between Georgia and Russia [1] continues, so does the discussion of it in the Russian blogosphere. Below are some of the exchanges, translated from Russian.

LJ user plushev writes [2]:

I don't even remember when nearly everyone was writing on one subject. Beslan, perhaps. Was there anything like this after Beslan? […]

What follows is a selection of Georgia-related quotes from plushev‘s LJ friends’ journals: one blogger worries about president Putin's mental health, a few others crave Georgian food (Moscow authorities have shut down several Georgian restaurants), there are mentions of sculptor Zurab Tsereteli [3] and writer Boris Akunin [4] (Grigoriy Chkhartishvili), both of whom are Georgia-born, and both, as of today, are reportedly under investigation for tax evasion and fraud. LJ user cook (Sergei Parkhomenko) shares this “I'm Georgian” (“Ya gruzin”) solidarity badge:

LJ user individuumus adopts the image for his userpic:

LJ user alisezus gets someone to add a Georgian flag to hers:

She writes [5]:

You see, I don't care about Saakashvili's regime at all, but I do care about the fact that ethnic cleansing is taking place in Moscow and its excuse is the fight against Saakashvili's regime. […] Yes, I am for the Georgians who are being abused in Russia.

In the comments to plushev‘s LJ roundup, bloggers discuss the seeming hopelessness of the situation – and wonder if they as bloggers can change anything:

_ko_alla: Do you think this can stop the shame that's taking place now? Our officials will read it – and it'll move them and they'll change their minds?

We write about it, discuss it among each other, but what's the use…

plushev: Do you mean you'd like the LJ to have a direct impact?

_ko_alla: Wouldn't you like it? :-))

Seriously, though, the only result of all these discussions is the possibility to find people who share your beliefs. To see that the nonsense of the authorities isn't absolute and that normal people still exist…

thespinningone: Right.. =\ Intelligentsia will, of course, sympathize and voice discontent, but the masses are either indifferent to this anti-Georgian state policy, or they [approve of it], imho…

_ko_alla: Exactly: it's not just the official position that's frightening, but the opinion of the majority as well […].

Those labelled “the minority” seem pretty vocal, however, and pretty inventive in their dissent. LJ user o-b-vinitel writes [6]:

If there's a need to hide a Georgian family from the [Federal Security Service], I can help.

Georgian cuisine [7], again, seems like a good weapon in the current situation. LJ user kmaka writes [8]:

[The only way I can help]

I'm on my way to buy ingredients for khachapuri. Kharcho, lobio and chakhokhbili are in my plans, too.

Very ashamed [because of the situation]. Disgusting jackals.

If someone needs it – there's a Georgian cuisine chapter here [9] [in Russian].

LJ user mash-ka has similar intentions [10]:

my personal
i won't be lazy and will cook
khachapurrrrrrrrrri and satsivi.
my personal protest action, damn it.


In an earlier post, LJ user plushev points out [11] the sad irony present in the ways the Russian authorities are dealing with the crisis – and the ways in which they are fighting organized crime:

A political component in crime prevention

The latest events demonstrate vividly that it's very easy to overcome ethnic criminal groups: all it takes is to [have a fight] at the highest level with the countries from which members [of these groups] originate. But according to this logic, Russian criminals are absolutely safe – to [break up] with oneself isn't a trivial task. But on the other hand, our own bandits are quite bearable, because they are a lot more pleasant and are easier to understand. And above all, they are a lot more spiritual.

Comments reveal that while for some criminal situation in Russia is an abstract topic, for others it's personal – and very painful:

hetribadi: Russian criminals will be overcome when Muslims become the majority in Russia. Then it'll be possible to say that all the trouble is caused by Russians.

frolin: I think that it's all very well. If you get a new playground for kids in your backyard because of the geopolitical confrontations – will you be upset?

plushev: Of course, I will. I've always assumed that children's playgrounds are to be built on my taxes, that are being ripped off me regularly once a month, and now it turns out that in addition to this, there should also be a geopolitical confrontation. I'm all for being happy about it, but only if they eliminate the income tax.


plushev: [Nature abhors a vacuum], as we know. One criminal entity will undoubtedly be replaced by another, mono- or multiethnic. So quantitatively nothing whatsoever is going to change, no matter how many [punitive] actions they stage to show off. Until the system that protects these criminal entities is destroyed. [This very system] is now chasing the Georgian bandits around – who but not [this system] knows better where to look for them. They are just unlucky, that's it.


timoha67: No matter what, it's easier to live next to our own bandits… They are, in one way or another, “the guys from the [same neighborhood]” who went to the same school with you, who grew up in the same culture with you… And it's possible to come to an agreement with them…

plushev: Aha, tell it to my papa, who was killed at the request of one Russian bastard by the twenty other Russian bastards.

sluza: You serious?

plushev: [Yes.]

timoha67: There are enough bastards everywhere…

plushev: But you promised it'd be easier to come to an agreement with them. So I decided to find out where they do come to agreements, thought you'd know.