Two Truths: Learning to Judge by the People, not the Government


I have found myself in rather a confused state of late. With the deepening troubles that Georgia has faced in its occupied regions not showing any sign of letting up; now, within the past two weeks, the UK, my place of birth, has had its relationship with Russia take a serious hit.

It was bad enough when it was just Georgia; a place I am fiercely proud of, that has given me the opportunity to create a life for myself and welcomed me in so many ways. Russia, throughout both history and my time here in Georgia, has always been the reason for, shall we say, some unsettling thoughts. With them refusing to move out of occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia, tensions have always remained strong on the matter. Working as an Editor for Georgia Today means I must, of course, keep my own onions in check and report on what is actually happening, a reality that is unbiased and focused on the facts.

Yet, what I am writing now is an attempt to break the stigma and use my own freedom of speech over relations with our northern neighbor. Patriotism tends to come before logic; thus, when we know that Russia is indeed occupying Georgian territory, it is easy to become blind-sided and not look a little deeper.

Last week in the UK, a spokesperson for the Russian Ministry Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said, and I quote, “no-one can give Russia a 24-hour ultimatum,” referring to, of course, PM Teresa May’s request for them to explain the nerve agent attack in the British city of Salisbury within 24 hours. No response was given. This, I have to say, sickens me. Instead of offering an explanation, or using a bit of diplomacy, the official response is “No-one can give Russia an ultimatum”? Aren’t we delving a little deeper here than simple wounded pride? As, essentially, that is what such a response implies: “I’m bigger. I’m better. Know your place.” This from the largest country on earth, whose President has just been re-elected for the third time?

After this, I found my already tentative feelings for Russia on quick-boil into actual fury. How long are we, citizens of the world, grown adults, PEOPLE, going to allow this type of behavior? Georgia is constantly looking over its shoulder at Russia, wondering what will happen next in its occupied territories. Just this week, the body of Archil Tatunashvili was returned to Tbilisi, after his dying in “South Ossetian” custody, with more than one medical professional stating that he died as a result of ill-treatment.

Both of the countries with a place in my heart have wavering relations with Russia. The misery, pain and devastation they have caused Georgia is shocking. Yet, it is so very important to realize that these heinous acts are that of its government, not its people.

I, along with every other person who has been affected by the calculated actions of Russia, which has complete disregard for international law, hold the Russian government culpable. The great people of Russia are still very much welcome in Georgia; they love the food, wine and culture of this fantastic place. They have no say in the decisions their government makes in terms of Georgia’s occupied regions or nerve agents being used in the UK. It’s so easy, isn’t it, to label one whole nation? Yet, what if somebody did the same to me, a Brit, and judged me by the acts of the UK during the times of the British Empire? It would be ridiculous, illogical. So, my good people, lets continue our fight for justice, all the while remembering which entity it is exactly that we have the problem with…

Tamzin Whitewood

22 March 2018 19:09