The Other Side of Georgia

by Joshua Foust on 10/21/2008

Robert English has an historical perspective on Georgia:

Large rallies in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi denounced the Abkhazians and Ossetians as “traitors” and “pawns of the Kremlin” while groups of angry Georgians took their protests directly to the Abkhazian and Ossetian capitals of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali. The resulting confrontations often turned violent. A 1989 move by officials in Tbilisi to shut down part of the university in Sukhumi and replace it with a branch of the Georgian State University set off more bloodshed. In response to this clash—and the Abkhazians’ declaration of sovereignty—Georgian nationalists began an anti-Abkhazian rally that grew into a weeklong protest in downtown Tbilisi. That demonstration was violently suppressed by Soviet troops in April 1989 at a cost of twenty Georgian lives, further fanning Georgian passions and prompting a series of fateful steps by the Georgian parliament.

Indeed, even as one half of the U.S. political spectrum declares itself to be Georgians, it is important to remember that there is another side to Georgia’s conflicts with itself—and this side does not fit nicely into our standard rhetoric about the conflict.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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