Coming From Georgia, Living in Russia

The Independent has a really fascinating talk with Tina Kandelaki, a well known television personality in Russia who is originally from Georgia, and several other Georgians living in Moscow.

As President Saakashvili called Georgians who live in Russia “traitors,” its unsurprising that they don’t view him with an awful lot of sympathy (Ms. Kandelaki calls him “Mikheil the Destroyer”). But it also tells the story of several of Moscow’s less famous Georgians and the discrimination they’ve experienced since last month’s war.

I’d really recommend giving it a look.

15 thoughts on “Coming From Georgia, Living in Russia”

  1. “For America, we are only a small place where they can put their military bases. After all, we’re only 40 minutes away from Iran.”

    Yep; it’s all about Iran, because American foreign policy is all about Israel.

  2. One fifth of all Georgian nationals work in the Russian Federation and send money back.

    Saakashvili is a dead man walking.

    On the other hand, the Russians are always ready to talk. And he may have, well, “items” that they are interested in, in return for which he might be allowed to go into exile in,say, Tierra del Fuego, for example.

    Not that Tierra del Fuego deserves him.

  3. Saakasvili reminds me of an incident when I was in graduate school. Nearby to where I lived there was a very small family market. Though it was comparatively expensive it had a much wider assortment of items than even the larger markets in that particular American wasteland.

    The family was originally from Texas, though neither Tex-Mex or Anglo.

    One day a man entered the market while the father was alone in the market.

    He drew a pistol and asked for all the money in the cash register.

    The father complied.

    The robber then shot the man in the stomach twice and ran out the door.

    As the robber ran away the two grown sons, who also worked in the maaret, arrived. They ran into the store, saw their father was still alive, called ambulance and police and ran out after the robber.

    They caught him after a long chase.

    When the police arrived they were beating him to death, and he was screaming, “Police! Police! Help police!”.

  4. While Kandelaki is not part of this group, there is a very large Georgian diaspora in Russia, much of it illegal, which is not surprising considering that wages in Russia are 3-4 times higher than those in Georgia. In fact, remittances home from people living and working in Russia are something like 20 to 30% of Georgia’s GDP.

    1. In fact, remittances home from people living and working in Russia are something like 20 to 30% of Georgia’s GDP.

      Well, surely Bush and Cheney can make that up when the Russians stop remittances to Georgia, don’t you think?

      The sneak attack of Saakashvili and NATO on Ossetia may well be the precipitating event for eventual enosis or federation with Russia.

      Similarly with Ukraina.

      And even Poland does better economically associated with the Russian Federation.

      Not that they see it yet.

      I just read a detailed account of the preliminaries to the Stalin-Hitler Pact. As it turns out, Britain and France refused to guarantee the Soviet borders as they were guaranteeing Poland’s. Nor would the Poles concede free operation through Poland for the Red Army if the Germans attacked.

      This led Stalin to believe that Britain and France were not serious about coming to the aid of either the Soviets or Poland.

      At one point Stalin exclaimed to Molotov, “Enough of these games! The English and French wanted us for farmhands and at no cost” [Montefiore].

      The Neo-Con proposal to turn Georgia into a new Chechya really exhausts the possibilities of lunacy–does the US really believe the Georgians are prepared to commit national suicide for the privilege of being a completely autocratic NATO “democratic state”?

      And a quickly defunct one at that.

      1. Eugene,

        You are right about the history here. The British so downgraded their mission to Moscow in 1939 that the diplomats sent to do the negotiating traveled by boat rather than airplane! Clearly no sense of urgency. Much suspicion of Bolshevism in the West during this period and of the West by Stalin. Anyone seeking to understand the origins of the Cold War must grasp these early mutual suspicions.

  5. Note the date of the following:

    …We also cannot exclude the possibility that relations with the Russian Federation will deteriorate to the point of a new cold war (though Russia is now far weaker militarily and economically than during Soviet times). This may call for a policy of military preparedness, but a strong argument can be made for a different approach. Russia having been ignored and even humiliated by the West (in Nato’s expansion, the Kosovo war, etc.) and having suffered through the economic disaster of the past decade (during which Moscow’s policy was heavily influenced by Western advice), it would seem that a Russian strongman–President Vladimir Putin?–would find substantial support for a hard-line foreign and military policy. It is high time to rethink U.S. policy toward Russia and to acknowledge that a focus on military deterrence (in the event of significantly deteriorating relations) may be the worst of all options….

    Michael Renner, Alternative Futures In War And Conflict. Naval War College Review, Autumn, 2000

  6. looks like Ms.Kandelaki received some late night calls from her “silovniki” bosses at Not-so-free ORT channel. Besides, what gives this Playboy posing tramp a right to speak on behalf of the Georgian Diaspora Russia?

    1. What gives her right to speak is that – if certain “diaspora” does not like certain country then it MUST GET OUT OF THAT COUNTRY. For example, when I figure out that US Govt. is unacceptable to me I left the US after spending more then 10 years of my valuable life there. Why would not ALL “diaspora”-s living in Russia – be it Georgians, Ukranians, Jews, “liberasts” (that is the local terms for religious supporters of US-neoconish “democracy”) – why would not they leave the country?

      Also, how convenient is it to label any opinion that does not hail the the all-mighty US Empire religion of “democracy” – how convenient is to call the – what – KGB? FSB? “Soloviki”?

      Well – YOU Nikolas Miles is then speaking on behalf of CIA, FBI, Israel lobby and military-industrial complex and your opinion thus is now your own, and you don’t do on you own free will.

      Tina is just reasonable IMHO. And honest. And not infected with Georgian fascism. Very rare, unfortunately.

    2. “this Playboy posing tramp”

      I claim no expertise, but apparently Saakashvili had no problem with the “tramp” posing for him in Georgia.

      There are already hints that some of his NATO buddies find Saakashvili an embarrassment.

      Watching who gets to him first–Russians, Ossetians, Akhazians, Georgians, Americans, French, or the Hague will be more fun than any Olympics.

      I suppose if he converts to Judaism he may get refuge in Israel. But conversion is a long, drawn out process and he is in a bit of a rush, isn’t he?

      1. Now – here is one certain advantage of integration with Russian Federation – there is mutual visa free travel agreement wth Israel in effect since the 20th of September.

        Isn’t it interesting bit of trivia?

        And I want to ask all US-lovers of Israel – are YOU sure that intentions and consequences of US “friendship” with Israel fully understood? And most important – are YOU sure that citizens of Israel LOVE the US? As far as I know they don’t. At least – much less then idiots of Georgia :-)

    1. I lived for a long time in the northwest panhandle of Florida (1st District of Florida in the U S Congress) which goes from Talahassee to Pensacola. During that time, I ran for Congress as a Libertarian in 1994. I appeared at political rallies in the Pensacola area, and got a chance to listen to Chuck Baldwin speak; he was not running for any particular office then, but was a popular host of a local radio show mixing his religious beliefs with a “Christian-conservative” political theme. At that time, he along with a lot of other political discontents of the time, were worried about “the new world order”. There was quite a lot of hullabaloo over such things as U S troops wearing UN blue helmets, etc. There was also an anti-establishment attitude then – lots of armchair militias, outrage over Waco, etc. All of which disappeared after the Oklahoma City bombing and; more importantly, the election of the Republican Congress of 1994.
      Anyway, my impressions of the Chuck Baldwin were that he was a lover of authority and that he had virtually zero tolerance for diverse opinion. His Christian outlook was not too heavy on the “love thine enemy” aspect, it was more on the “Onwards Christian soldiers” aspect. I would advise anyone with a libertarian outlook to take a real long look before jumping on that ticket.

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