Chain of Blunders


There are questions, questions, questions . . . most of them unanswered! But the other day, out of the blue, there flashed on the air a new 40-minute documentary titled: ‘We will peacefully win the war they triggered,’ “we” meaning the current government of Georgia and “they” connoting the preceding ruling power. Let us call it an unprecedented straightforward attempt to openly and fearlessly react to the historical issues still waiting for due unreserved interpretation.

In the last three decades, Georgia has experienced a chain of blunders, first made by our zealous contemporaries of different time, rank and age, and then corrected with a lot of sweat and strain. The new documentary, produced by the well-known TV journalist Nikoloz (Nika) Laliashvili, is a thorough chronology of events, precipitously conducive to the infamous military confrontation of our time, known as the Russian-Georgian War of August 2008. The film has instigated a hot controversy, although the story told in it has already become an accepted part of Georgia’s recent history. The only news in it is the freshened reading of facts, not succumbing to the arbitrary declaration by the preceding government that Georgia came out a winner from the bloody blitzkrieg with the Russian military juggernaut. Quick questions and brief answers: Did Georgia have to go to war with Russia? No, it didn’t! Was there a chance to win the war? No, there wasn’t! Did Georgia make a mistake by warring with Russia? Yes, it did? Did the former Georgian administration pursue a special latent goal of survival? Yes, it did! Did Georgia win the war? No, it did not! Has Georgia ever repented the dire decision? No, it hasn’t! Have we learnt a lesson from the stupid unwanted war? No, we haven’t! Should somebody answer those questions publicly? Most definitely, yes! And who can do that? Anybody who is daring and direct enough to do so!

Of course, being under the spell of just one version of evaluation of the war that has had a huge negative bearing on the nation’s fate is against any principle of freedom and democracy. Before the contentious documentary in question saw daylight, the popular opinion was one-faceted, which is Georgia’s ex-administration being an innocent lamb, Georgia a winner of the war, and Russia being the assailer without any reason whatsoever for sending her men and tanks to Georgia. Nobody has ever doubted that Russia is an occupant of our lands, but nor does anyone want to admit that the war has its political prerequisites, its reasons for actual fire and its tragic results which need to be thoroughly analyzed in order not to bungle decisions again in future.

To know exactly whether the then-Georgia’s chief executive was right or wrong to have so hotheadedly gotten involved in this war of unequal rivalry is an absolute indispensability for this nation so it can carry on with its numerous current and incipient national exigencies. And somebody should make the issue clear. This is exactly what the now-famous video interpretation of the Russian-Georgian war is doing, sincerely hoping to win the ongoing fight which was set not by this government of Georgia but the one which thought that it could save its skin and face with a diehard belligerent move and precariously violent action that eventually played out as totally unpredictable for the entire world.

The crux of the highly discussed film is whether we want to perennially continue living in the imaginative world of self-imposed truths or honor the actual facts, which have enough power to determine our future development. Don’t make a mistake though: the author is not burdening himself with the hard mission of analyzing the Russian-Georgian former, current and future relations. He is simply declaring that the nervous, hasty and voluntary decisions made by Georgia’s ex-and-exiled president before, during and after the damned war, was a typical example of playing a politician’s card to get out of the troubled waters he had gotten himself into thanks to his nature, his style of ruling the country and his unbridled disposition of making sudden moves both in state politics and his own social life. His behavior in war could serve as an even better lesson for Georgia than the war itself, because it was exactly the model of political performance that starts wars, wins wars and loses wars.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

22 August 2019 17:01