Tag Archives: ussr

story about Soviet Georgia

I would like to make some quotes from the book I am reading now.

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On publishing this book, I did not consider its relevance in today’s current political climate, rather, I naively believed that after the USSR disintegration, the Soviet past of Georgia would become nothing but a bitter memory. I was wrong. As it turned out, the past can come back to haunt you, especially if we ourselves cannot move from it.

The space pioneer superpower failed to produce such a simple piece of clothing as jeans. What can be more innocent than a pair of jeans? But because they couldn’t produce them, they just banned them.
The banned jeans became sweeter than the forbidden fruit.

In those days every pair of jeans was believed to be American, and as the Soviet propaganda was particularly set to destroying American values, many thought the happiness lay where jeans were abundant.
There was a grain of truth in such a belief because the Soviet state denied its citizens the basic civil rights, the right of property among them. One could truly be free only in one’s grave or rather, the authorities stopped worrying about your freedom and rights when you were safely put under the earth…. … There might have been other reasons, but the fact is that a grave was the only property people owed. Such political attitude marked the start of altering Georgian taste for the worse. For centuries, the traditional Georgian graveyards were simple and modest, while in the Soviet times the graves became ovely decorated, adorned with marble tables and benches, statues, bikes and even cars. The Soviet Georgians were confident in one thing only – the grave belonged to them, so they were taken care of and zealosly protected. People built and decorated them as they’d do if they had real estate property. The authorities turned a blind eye to the graveyard eccentricities. The Soviet regime principles didn’t extend to the Georgian graveyards.

The Georgian authorities demonstrated more respect to the dead than to the living. However, there was one prerequisite for a guaranteed grave – one had to die ones’ natural death. If one was executed for crime, the dead convict would certainly be buried but he or she wouldn’t have a proper grave. Starting from 1920s, thousands of executed convicts found their eternal resting place in various unmarked stretches of land across the country. Very often the diggers assigned to the job of preparing a deep hole (not a grave) weren’t able to identify with certainty the places, especially that there were no landmarks to guide them and the work was usually done in the small hours, in complete darkness.

When the men opened the coffin lid, Gega’s mother turned away, waiting for their reaction. The men, deeply stunned, looked at the corpse which was difficult to identify due to the lapsed time. But it was Natia Megrelishvili who said with conviction: ‘This isn’t Gega. This is Soso, it’s his jeans, there’s the sun drawn on them.’ The others looked at the open coffin again and only now discovered the deceased was wearing the jeans, unaffected by the time and the soil. The jeans looked new and there was a shining sun drawn above the right knee.

In the 1960′s and 70′s they didn’t execute professors and scientists anymore, but in return for their lives, they forced them to cooperate with the Soviet authorities. Most of them did cooperate with the government, since otherwise none of them would have been able to travel abroad and attend a single scientific conference. Such cooperation with authorities, at first glance, was nothing special, and sometimes nothing was requested in return for their foreign trips, but this was only at first glance. In reality the main thing was taken away from them – freedom of speech and the right to have their own opinion. They couldn’t express their political views openly and had to support the government in all crucial cases (in every single one, for that matter). That’s what really happened – together with the Soviet government most Soviet scientists obediently created one big Soviet lie. Of course there also were exceptions – those who didn’t want privileges, apartments and cars given by the government (or the government didn’t with to encourage them). But there were very few of them – mostly they sat in the kitchens of their council flats. They would work, eat and drink and express negative opinions regarding the Soviet #regime only there, in the safety of their tiny kitchens. True, some – including academics – were in jail (and not kitchen), but those were known as dissidents.

Thanks to his provincial zeal, in the beginning of the 1970′s, Shevarnadze became the top person in Soviet Georgia (after beating his local competitors) and very soon, very easily, managed to charm the Soviet Georgian intelligentsia. However, the latter was more an “accomplishment” of the Soviet intelligentsia rather than that of the First Secretary, since for dozens of years, the intellectual abilities of the Soviet intelligentsia had also been deteriorating (alongside the morals).

und so weiter

story about one death

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Today, many years ago a dictator named Stalin died.

As House once said, almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.

So this allowed us to stop devastation of the Sevan lake, it allowed us to free some political prisoners, such as Mahari (though it was too late to help Charents), it allowed us to get rid of the huge Stalin monument over the Yerevan,
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it allowed us to have our 60ies, to speak about armenian genocide, and build a memorial where we can bring flowers and not be arrested, to have new, interesting architecture, like openhall, or a seagull for which Khrushchev punished Zarobian, it allowed us to breath a little more free, fresh air, it allowed some short change.
When it is someone’s birthday, people say – how cool that you’d born, and when people like Stalin die, it’s time to say – how cool that you died, thank you for that, it’s possibly the best thing you could do, and it was very nice for Armenia.

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und so weiter

story about prokhanov’s interview

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Russian version of the “Yerevan” magazine, first issue of 2013 year, published interview with the Russian writer Prokhanov about the Eurasian Union.
He states, that he cannot imagine Russia other than an empire and does not conceal that he considers the Eurasian Union as a new implementation of this empire. This guy’s cynicism is is pinning.
I am quoting:

Eurasian area with it’s ethnicities is a colossal resource. The area by itself is already a resource. And combining these squares into one creates colossal wealth.

Undoubtedly, area is resource. If it weren’t resource, Azerbaijan would give up Artsakh long time ago. Also, when US spreads democracy the question rises – for whom? And the same question rises now – wealth for whom? The answer follows.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia lost uranium mines of Kazakhstan, cotton of the Uzbekistan… It is obvious that there is a huge economical potential in this project.

Okay, Russia wants free uranium, and other resources. Then – wealth is for Russia.
Upon the whole Prokhanov observes both USSR and Eurasian Union as different forms of Russian Empire.

Russian history – is the history of empires, and Russian tragedies always connected with their disappearance. At least, four great empires (including the last one, Red empire) were demolished, and as a result Russia suffered colossal losses.

Wow, so sincere.
Then, may be empires shell not live by definition? May be they have to die naturally with time?
Isn’t it enough to make the same mistakes, Messrs Russian imperialists?
May you understand that it won’t bring the future closer?

Let’s continue. Prokhanov observes Eurasian Union as it is in reality, not as it is described in advertisements. People get deceived by the “customs union” expression. Though the real Eurasian Union is the new reincarnation of Russian Empire, not the customs union of independent states. This customs union could be created on the basis of Union of Independent States. However Eurasian Union is one whole state.

We already have conceived union state between Russia and Belarus, it has difficulties, but the gene is found.

Meanwhile Prokhanov expresses what kind of state it will be.

The civilization product – it’s not only technologies of the future, it’s also ideas of the future. And these ideas, ideologies already today are the most precious possessions – in Eurasian areas may become an alternative to the dying models, such as western liberal model.

Obviosly, my comment is that those are not ideas of the future, but of the past. New ideas are spoken in the Occupy movement, for example, but definitely not in Russia.
And despite the fact that the answer to the next question – doesn’t it mean, that this is a reestablishment of the USSR, he answers – no, USSR cannot be recovered, he also means that this is just another way to create a new Russian Empire, Russian Empire reloaded, the new one, not the old.
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And I agree, Soviet Union at least was Soviet to some extent, and they were trying to support some provinces, meanwhile working on the assimilation of the native population, and changing demographic composition (simply – by settling Russians, the main and base ethnicity of the empire in republics). So the new union won’t even support republics, it will have the same cruel capitalistic model, and the goal is to soak up resources from those republics. We see widespread pillages in Russia, but it’s not enough for them, they need more, cause they are fat and hungry.

And we just “elected” our new president. President, who got this title after not really clear events. President, who thanked Russian leaders for support after those not really clear events. President, who presents the regime, which copy-pastes Russian Federation movements, president who recently signed a paper related to that Eurasian Union, and what now? We have to wait with gladness until he makes another sign, by which Republic of Armenia will formally acknowledge it’s failure, then will be painted out with red or pink color on the map becoming a part of the stupid big state.
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photo from here
Why Russian language Yerevan magazine prints this interview remains an open question for me. Then, may be it’s not surprising that in the previous issue there were photos of the prime minister with combine, then president at the exhibition, and so on.

Congratulations, gentlemen. Congratulations. Everything is excellent, let’s enjoy festal fireworks.

und so weiter