• Brotherly Georgians
RUSSIAN AFFAIRS AND INTERTRIBAL PROBLEMS
3. Brotherly Georgians.
The beautiful Georgia, country of ancient temples, towers, flowers, songs and legends is not sung by our poets occasionally! The Iberian land is a corner of Madonna, land of the Saint George, – “Gurjistan” in Persian – much spoken about with distant love by our blessed ancestors many centuries ago as an ancient seat of the Orthodoxy. The sufferings of the little heroic people for faith and originality had echoed by brotherly compassion in hearts of the northern co-religious brothers. Consolidation was steadily growing, – especially since Russia has undertaken the mission of the Third Rome, – and completed by benevolent unification of the Kartvelo-Kakhetian kingdom to Russia hundred years ago. It was benevolent unification, not in quotes, and unlike small states of the Middle Asia unwittingly flirting with us, but serious. By the end of the XVIII century Georgia several times was “submitted” to Russia, but the Georgian tsars had remained enthroned and the internal order of Georgia had not been altered; it means that interpretation of definition of “subject” was at least incorrect: that status authorized Georgia to have protection of the Russian arms against the predating Asian neighbours and imposed the only duty on Georgians…to protect their motherland against the same enemies and arrange provision for the Russian troops. Strictly speaking such “dependence” even was not typical vassalage and more looked like a union of the weak with the strong for the purposes of self-defence. It should be also noted that numerous representatives of the Georgian royal
house didn’t compassion to the radical resolution in the beginning of the XIX century of the issue of formerly fictitious subjection, and some of the Georgian feudal lords supposed that Georgia should have joined Russia not by manifest, but by bilateral agreement, i.e. on the ground of special autonomy or semi-independence at least. That view still remains; it is being stronger, but quite unsuccessfully propagated by some Georgians infected by Armenian separatism and fulfilling, – not always disinterestedly, – its Caucasian anti-Russian programme. During unification of Georgia and on the later stages there were insurgencies on the ground of political enthusiasm and misunderstandings and their repetition in future is possible under influence of foreign interference and sometimes of incorrect administration of the province. But all of that, in final count, is infinitesimal and unable to decline broad lines of history. Because the Georgian people headed by the overwhelming majority of its leaders had joined willingly, unconditionally and forever. It has completed its historical mission and yielded to the spontaneous will of its own suffering soul by joining Russia on the basis of common religion. As long as we cherish our faith, Georgia is spiritually close to us. That link is also fixed by the flows of the Georgian knights’ blood shed under the Russian banner on the field of battle for our common cause, for the universal mission of the Third Rome, task of the Orthodox culture.
As long as we believe in that mission and value our banners, we have to regard the Georgians as brothers and view the Georgian people as one of the natural additional leverages of the mentioned task in the Asia Minor.
Let’s admit that for the past century and under pressure of numerous circumstances situation of those brothers became worse, their character became less
pleasant and everyday communications with them don’t pass without slight misunderstandings. Nevertheless it is necessary to study all that in order not to let trifles of life to cover and erase by their garbage the broad lines of our cultural history, not to let the infinitesimal to destroy the great, like mice nibble pictures of the immortal artists.
Georgians or more precisely Kartvelians live in the provinces of Tiflis and Kutaisi. There are Georgians and Kakhetians in Tiflis province; Imeretians, Rachinians, Mingrels, Gurians, Ajarians and others – in Kutaisi province, beyond the pass of Suram. The Kartvelians of the Transuram are so much different from Georgians for their type, temperament and character that some connoisseurs of the region consider them as completely separate tribe. The Georgians are more solid and stable; Kartvelians of the Transuram are less reliable in all issues, but more vivid, brisk and enterprising. They constitute the main contingent of the dawning bourgeoisie, Georgian for their language.
The origin of the Georgians is not established, what testifies about extreme antiquity of this tribe. Apparently and in addition this tribe is not absolutely homogenous, judging for names, historic-geographical data and variety of physical types of the Georgians. The ancient queen of the Massagets was called Tamarissa, i.e. Tamara, Georgia was referred to as Iveria or Iberia like part of the Pyrenean peninsula; and even now should one takes a closer look into the spiritual and physical image of the Georgian, then he can be easily taken for the Spaniard, Romanced descent of the Celts-Iberians. By the way there is knowledge about the Georgian settlements in the Northern Africa and Abyssinia. Besides that the Georgian language contains some hints testifying that people bearing this language used to live in very hot country, where
water was the dearest value; hence, almost all of the main life definitions – blessing, mercy, and misery – are connected with the word “tskaly” – water. Mercy in the Georgian is “tskaloba”, miserable – “satskaly”, literal translation for that is “belonging to water”, “taken by water”… Usually such metaphors do not lie. In later periods the Georgians of course had crossed with Jews, who had come to that area in times of Nebuchadnezzar. There are still a lot of Jews in Imeretia, whom nearly impossible to distinguish from the local Kartvelians by their appearance. Story of the Saint Nina enlightener of Georgia testifies about presence of many Jews in Mtskheta, ancient capital of that country. Still present numerous biblical names of local settlements prove that.
The northern limit of Georgia lies near Kazbek station: that is a kind of Zaporozhe of the ancient Iberian kingdom. The monastery on the mountain over the Terek River, names of villages like Stepantsminda, or Saint Stephan, Sion etc. – everything indicates the light of the Saint Nina had shined around these gloomy mountains. But from ethnographic communal point of view real Georgia starts from the point closer to south, and its first breathe and premonition starts from the Gudaur river.
Having a closer look at the image of nature and people in Georgia it would be impossible for one not to feel deep traces of suffering, centuries old and modern. There is some bad luck hanging over the country at first sight created for bliss. History of Georgia is one solid martyrs’ log. Even Shakespeare could gain there some scenes invaluable for their tragedy. As it was already mentioned, there hadn’t been a state in literal meaning of the word. The power of tsars used to be challenged by the self-willed, terrible feudal lords ruling the people. Monasteries were
more like forts, and religion – a treasury, which people could not use fully, because all of their efforts were directed to its preservation from external enemies. Besides, feudal-bishop quite frequently was rather more feudal lord, than servant of the altar. If one can express it so, the broad lines of soul under pressure of struggle for faith were absolutely imbued with Christianity, but small features of character and communal conditions had mostly remained pagan, and the Church had to stand it: for example, family blood vengeance still exists in some areas, animals are sacrificed to God. There was no external security and tsars and lords often had to pay off the fruits of earth, slaves, flattery, and even convergence in favour of predating Turkish and Persian masters, first acknowledging their power and then betraying it for the sake of national originality or their personal interests.
Feudalism and kinship had established firmly. This is the main line of the Georgian chronicle – Kartlis-tskhovreba – and there is nearly no mention about people as an active force. Nevertheless this is brisk and intelligent power, as it can be seen from beautiful folklore – songs, tales, noble and wise proverbs and colourful legends. The Georgian popular pipers “mestvire” – are brilliant poets-improvisers. People’s language is a treasury of poetry.
The Georgian peasants conceive images, converse the philosophic aphorisms. Half of the flock belonging to one khizan – landless renting-peasant – has plagued. He accepted that misfortune and said: “Thanks God! He made me his brother by taking half of my property!” the following are some characteristic proverbs: “Conscience is mediator between honest enemies“; ”lie has short legs”. There is a high concept of truth and pessimistic sayings along with that, not without humour: “When you are about to tell the truth, hold your saddled horse ready”…
As one young Georgian writer knyaz Avalov correctly noted that the feudalism saved Georgian nation. When tsar submitted himself to some foreign rulers, then it didn’t mean subjugation of Georgia in whole, because it was too far difficult to seize all castles of feudal lords and pull up tribal originality. But feudal anarchy hindered development of the state-popular culture. The latter used to bloom only in times of short flashes of strong monarchical power. Such flashes, and quite bright ones, are related to the names of tsar David the Reviver, Queen of queens (shakh-in-shakh, or in the Georgian – mepismepe) Tamara the Great, and later George the Brilliant and finally Heracly II, who became the subject of Russia on the basis of vassalage in time of Catherine The Great. During their reign the cultural seeds concealed in the nation started bringing three hundredfold harvest, the country was built-up with magnificent temples, the holy artefacts and books with miniatures of unparalleled beauty had appeared in churches. The immortal verses of inspired poets were sounded across the place, like poem of Shota Rustaveli “The Man in Tiger’s Skin”, notorious for its undying beauty of expression and sympathetic wisdom; it is translated into main European languages (the German translation by Arthur Leist – “Der Mann im Tigerfelle” is extremely good), but there is no full poetic translation in Russian.
The people appreciated its tsars, who gave them truth and peace. Everything catching one’s eye – temples, ruins of towers, mysteriously beautiful places – is connected with name of the Great Tamara; people unceremoniously call tsar Heracly II, who was a terror to Persians and Turks, “patara kakhi” – the small Kakhetian. These examples show how deeply democratic is the basis of any powerful monarchy.
There was serious flaw in the original social structure of the Georgians, what they had suffered from and maybe even would cost them, if not existence itself, at least welfare of the whole tribe: they had no bourgeoisie of their own. In all of the numbered Georgian towns entrepreneurs, tradesmen and craftsmen mostly were foreign and infidel Armenians, hiding underneath the Georgian sword from the Muslim chase. Apparently they played the same role for the Georgians as aphis for the ants: made good use of the peace under protection of the Georgian sword, gained wealth and from time to time unwillingly shared that profit with their masters, whom they were trembling of servile fear before. Zealous Armenian patriot the late Caucasian general Kishmishev angrily told the story in some brochure that when rich Armenians refused to pay money required by feudal lords, the lords used to put them in sacks and soak in the fast-running Kura river threatening to drawn in case of disobedience; they say, ancestors of that author were among those who suffered that. Although the method of extortion itself was naturally unprepossessing, but tightly connected in logical and communal sense with the equally unattractive method once used to be and still employed by the Armenian bourgeoisie for multiplication of its wealth, a fruit of obviously wayward grubbing.
The Georgian tsars and lords were not abstract supporters of the legal order doctrine: they instinctively realized that the monetary feudalism, i.e. capitalism – is the enemy of statehood, when bursts over the reasonable limits. Regular feudal lord is not that terrible, because it’s always known where he can be found and how he can be dealt with; the “capitalist lord” is more fearful, because it’s unknown which of the royal servants he can bribe, what kind of armed people may hire, which interests
of people, especially of the alien one, he is ready to betray for his own benefit. Such issues used to be resolved simply at that time, and it should be pointed out that under condition of observation of humanity and modesty that order was more reasonable, than the socioeconomic chaos reining in most of the modern countries blessed by the European civilization.
Anyway, in the independent Georgia Armenians didn’t produce such fatal threat for the Georgians that they do now, in terms of the current administration in the province, which is distractively principled in theory, but frequently unprincipled in practice. Nevertheless, absence of the native Georgian bourgeoisie then, that role was played by Armenians parasitically, was basically as abnormal, as if one person would have in his body the implanted stomach of another man, secretly working for the sake of the latter. That example is an incredible in the everyday life, but quite ordinary in states; that anomaly was one of the reasons for collapse of Poland where economic field has been seized by the Jews.
The same anomaly should be fought more vigorously by our state too, particularly as the current times became far more sharp and less rich for the instinctive state sense: heterogeneous bourgeoisie – means supremacy of the anti-Russian putrefying ideas in the press, and in school, and in public institutions, and even among the class of officials, who are always poorly maintained; the individuals standing on top of some business channels may succumb to songs of such sirens like some Jewish banker or Armenian oilman… That can be seen now.
Part of the Georgian Armenians, whose tribal talent is not only economic pushing, but bureaucratic worming brought up by the amoral Persian-Turkish administration school as well, has infiltrated into the Georgian class of officials and even aristocracy. Except for two or three cases, that was inexcusable mistake of the Georgian tsars, a sign of their weakness, and frequently of corruption of many powerful persons, not excluding crowned ones.
In this regard, expressions of one the latest Georgian tsars about the Armenian family of the Korganovs1 are quite characteristic. Once upon a time somebody brought a complaint to tsar, who acknowledged truthfulness of the complaint and established the guilt of Korganov, but replied that he was unable to do anything about it: “They are poisonous people; there is a dead Korganov lying on the Solak Mountain. Wolves are circling round and smell him, but afraid to touch! What is you expect me to do about the living ones?!”
The history has shown Georgians that one should not trust people having natural inclination to espionage and treason: the Armenian meliks Abo and Majnun by names, blessed by the Heracly II, who sheltered them from the Persian chase, went over to the Persians in time of extreme and guided hordes of Agha Muhammad Khan, which had plundered and flooded Tiflis with blood in 1795. It’s useful to remind that fact when Armenian publicists too strongly insist on the Armenians’ being zealous Christians…
The absence of own bourgeoisie is extremely dangerous for any people in our days, when economic issues have an overriding importance; it’s vitally important to have such class of people with industrial energy, which could be filled not only from bottom, but top as well, i.e. with representatives of nobility accommodating to new circumstances; otherwise the bankrupted nobles would fall right into the “gutter”, and the popular mass
1 That branch of of the Korganovs family ceased existence. Author
would be enslaved by alien exploiters. The level of all cultural institutions and forms of life will depend on that: Church, and school, and the press, and charity – all that becomes weaker without material and ideological support from the energetic industrial class. Literacy falls – it’s not occasional: educational institutions are located in cities – and it’s difficult for provincial village inhabitant, even possessing large but less profitable estate, to maintain two houses while educating one’s son in gymnasium, or preparing him to enter there; it’s expensive to pay for full board and child will be parted from family; instead, any tiny manager, manufacturer, pigsty keeper of the Armenians living in the city can bring his son up to university nearly free of charge. When such a difference of situation manifests itself through sufficient number of occasions, then, in final account, the whole nation lags behind in cultural sense and loses huge chances in struggle for survival. In this case, from the point of view of the Russian statehood, it is extremely disadvantageous, since the Georgian people is the closest to us across the Transcaucasia for spirit and basis of culture, has high moral traditions, and besides, is distinguished from all other local tribes for greater talent to the scientific and spiritual development, as it can be seen from the bunch of reports of the supervisor for the Caucasian educational district.
From the beginning of the XIX century the Russian power has established firmly in Georgia, bringing benefits of peace and opening space for comprehensive development of the province. Meanwhile for original Georgia the peace has occurred to be not absolute, but relative benefit. It is undoubted that peace has brought some negative results too. First, in days of permanent threat the Georgians used to spend most of their time in the mountains, but after establishment of peace they have
settled themselves in sultry valleys, where fatally affecting health malaria became their cunning foe; the inherited traces of malaria still can be seen on faces of newborn children.
Second, although winery used to blossom in Georgia since ancient times, the chronic absence of security was blocking abuse of its fruits. Feasts of that time were rare and solemn like celebrations of victory or salvation. The traditional song “mravaljamier” (longevity) used to be finished (the mountainous Georgians still do) with the word amen and crossing. At present, when people hold feasts differently and at loaf, too often, that song became trivial table song, and its solemn Church tune is frequently substituted with recklessly funny one. Abuse of feasts – is not a joke: in some areas one can see many children begotten by fathers in state of intoxication. That, at least, has negative influence upon volitional centres of many people, especially in such an historical time when serious systematic labour, intelligent self-activity is required.
One characteristic and cheering symptom more and more frequently seen in Georgia should be mentioned: the youth often feels disgust to wine; one may think that the racial instinct of self-preservation dictates that. Hopefully it will bring good fruits.
Unfortunately, the psycho-physical state of population in different areas of the Empire is relatively little studied now; such studies would be extremely important at the outskirts with mixed population, where conclusions made on the basis of precise empiric data could have not only practical state, but general scientific meaning as well. In particular, such task, although in limited scales but with availability of sufficiently full characterizing data, could be undertaken by administrations of educational institutions, especially of the closed ones. The local cadets’
corps in Tiflis in the late 90’s was headed by I.D. Smirnov, who had held very important records rich for valuable data of that kind and sharp witted conclusions, which unfortunately still remain unpublished. For instance, he paid compassionate attention to the studying Georgian youth and noted the following sequence of changes frequently occurring to the young generation: little Georgian under 14 or 15 is distinguished for extraordinary comprehension of lively or scientific impressions, ingenious, brisk, accessible for pedagogical influence; then about indicated age, coinciding in the south with early puberty, he fades away, becomes stupid, loses interest to science and sometimes demonstrates some sinful inclinations; two or three years later he relieves from that state that can be called disease, but resources of former spiritual forces do not revive again and there comes quite trite young man, bearing traces of some sickness. Obviously that is influenced by nature in general and malaria in particular, as well as results of the inherited alcoholism manifested through weakening of the volitional centres; and significant lack of family control over boys in critical period of initial passions, unrestrained by anybody or anything.
To complete circle of psycho-physical changes one may guess that centuries old wars created such features in the nervous system of Georgians that get perverted because they cannot find application for themselves now; courage and knights’ valour found an application in carousing, gamble, bloody quarrels, unaffordable vain luxury etc; the slope becomes more and more steep running from former feats to shameful destruction or the dock; looking at the faces of people sitting there one can’t abandon painful feeling: it is so obvious that many of today’s criminals under other circumstances could be heroes;
they are driven not by ill will, but explosion of aimless and locked nervous energy.
In countries where definition of economy of popular life is developed better that spontaneous force could be given better application like army on the other border, or some other spheres as maritime navigation etc, requiring disciplined courage in capacity of creative element. The current Caucasian authorities have lost the momentum to raise an issue of forming of squad from bankrupt, landless, carousing contingent of Kutaisi nobles in time of the Chinese war, or chain of stanitsa on border with Manchuria.
The state in ancient Greece was developing artificially those features we have gained in the Caucasus for free and now leave to grow shallow and decay with obvious damage to public security, innocent people and the Russian cause of state.
Another characteristic feature should also be mentioned. The Georgians like serving in their motherland, and get strongly disappointed if they fail to do so after completion of education at the higher educational institutions; they tend to regard it as the “policy of Russification”, although it has nothing to do here. Neither native of Poltava or Tambov province does require to be given employment right at the place of his birth: in our times of over production of the absolutely unprepared graduated intelligentsia, he must praise the fortune if he is given any place at all. But the Georgian is certainly willing to get “employed” in Georgia. Meanwhile, there is the place where it is most difficult to do anything sound, become useful to people or promoted in service, because many conditions of the local life are strongly hindering that. The country still lives through painful-transitional situation. The old order was destroyed, but population did not accustom to the new one. Former customs and traditions are dying away,
i.e. namely grow shallow and decay; only despotic fragments and forms remain in force integrating mostly with negative sides of new definitions. All around one can meet “intelligent” Georgian, whose mind and feelings are confused with mixture of kinship revenge and feudal ambitions with banal formulas of more or less extreme “liberalism”. Under pressure of such internal contradictions it is difficult for the art to emerge and develop on the shaky ground of changing concepts and moods. The Georgian lawyer sticks at indelible tribal origin, supervisor of stateowned land interests – at the organic, spontaneous disrespect to them, zealot of peasants’ welfare – at rudiments of firm feudal instincts, writer – at jealousy requirements of the tribal isolation. Everywhere and in everything – there are obstacles to the broad view on the general state and human interests, although principle-based progressive creation is incomprehensible without it. If that is added by vindictiveness of people considering themselves offended, and importunity of those striving to get something deviating law, one can imagine how complicate is situation of any Caucasian Georgian official, connected with local population by family ties, neighbourhood, friendship or hatred, at least. Denunciations, harassment and threats – complete hell!.. Even when the sphere of his activity doesn’t touch vital interests of his fellow-countrymen he hardly can work systematically, he is prevented from peaceful seating at the desk either by guests requiring warm welcome with wine and songs or friends inviting to receptions with wine and songs. The climate is coddling, custom is making slack and distracting from serious work, and myriads of idle people, as if evocated to prevent their neighbours from working.
It is quite remarkable that the Georgians appear to be talented actors in different fields, but under condition
of being parted from their motherland. Many examples could be cited here, but I will dwell upon one very bright and instructive from the beginning to the end. One knyaz, spending his time in carousing, causelessly killed some modest inhabitant, who was unlucky to call at local restaurant and to attract sudden anger of that “knight”; the criminal first was exiled to Siberia and then to one of the southern provinces of the European Russia. In both places of his exile that man gained general respect and compassion for his decency, diligence and useful activity; for instance, in the south of Russia he took trouble to teach population silk culture, gardening and viticulture, and became close councillor of the governor in his endeavours to raise people’s welfare. Suddenly came the news that mother of the exiled knyaz was dying. He was allowed to visit home – on his way he called to the famous war general and administrator knyaz N.Z. Chavchavadze, who happened to be in Vladikavkaz then, to ask his support to the appeal for complete amnesty of the exiled knyaz. Although knyaz Nikolay Zurabovich received the so-called “chapar breeding”, meaning that he didn’t have any diploma, he was selfeducated and remarkably wise person. He looked at the applicant with compassion and replied: “What is that dragging you, silly man, back to Georgia?! You should avail of that you can calmly work, get wisdom and study something abroad! Once you get back – you will become a heaven smoker again, and even once again will resort to crime. Anyway you will hardly be able to become a useful person there”. But the exiled person missing for motherland was insisting – and respectful knyaz surrendered: he received complete amnesty for that man. But his provision came true, as if it was prescribed! The pardoned deportee received good governmental appointment
in motherland, but lost it too soon for his own fault and turned to mastering at the piece of inherited land; first came neighbouring feasts, then carousing in towns, and finally some fellow rake disembowelled him with dagger. Although he has survived, he had naturally gone far further from an opportunity to be a “useful person”…
Life of the Georgian society, especially of its higher circles, sharply turns to worse, and order is decomposing, especially because of the fatal inconsistence between historically developed character of people and new socioeconomic circumstances, not mentioning laws. Loss of the native customs and traditions inevitably leads to decomposition. Change of the way of life doesn’t come easy. Not finding the usual forms for their satisfaction, the athletic and organic thirst for strong nervous impressions transform into not only ordinary criminality, but passion for anarchical utopias. Trouble-makers can easily drive the Georgian youth, which is loyal-hearted and likeable in general, to commit outrages with sorrowful outcomes: sometimes it’s enough to say that some adventure leads to glory or that the Georgians must be “pioneering people” and so on. The popular masses, especially beyond the Suram mountains, i.e. in Imeretia, Mingrelia, Guria, is quite sensitive to the anarchical whispers; the agrarian relation in Guria (uyezd of Ozurgethy) have taken extremely sharp character long ago. The remarkable growth of general crime on one side, socialist nonsense from the other side, and equally illegal colourful forms of former wild instincts and concepts from the third side – all that creates rather dangerous mass of the inflammable material for close future in the western Georgia, resembling either Italy with its carbonaries, or Corsica with its bloody anarchy and original wild colours. The small book “Colomba” by Prosper Merimee, describing the Corsican rites, makes one to transfer spiritually to the Transuram
Georgia. By the way, the extraordinary theatrical talent of all population from top to bottom is the characteristic Georgian feature. The Georgians, especially western, are born actors, poets and artists. The powerful, beautiful and stern nature, influencing their spirit and history full of adventures speak through them: adventures and inclinations of predecessors transform into game of fantasy and namely into organic artistic character of descents. When that phenomenon takes importance and scales of the mass occurrence, then it means that nerves of the entire nation are permanently excited, sensibility becomes morbid…
The following fact can be interesting illustration to the abovementioned. In 1895 in Kutaisi somebody Luka Costava by name was brutally killed by the Jewish crowd. Mother and widow of that man showed up in Kutaisi with undone hair, scratched breasts and angry screams. Their appearance disturbed within a moment all population, which had immediately caused gigantic devastation of the Jewish quarter. Entire local intelligentsia supported plunderers; everybody spoke about usurious yoke of major Jewish beachheads over local residents, about reprehensible relations between the rich Jew Tsitsianishvili with local administrator (dismissed soon after), etc; anti- Semitism was general. Several years after; Jews of St. Petersburg and their lackeys have erupted well-known scandal in Maliy Theatre at the performance of “Contrabandists” – the same play has provoked similar scandal at the city theatre of Kutaisi soon after: recent “convinced” anti-Semites became defenders of the malicious instincts of Jews. In both cases the main part was played exactly by nervous sensibility and artistic character, connected with inclination to the Frond…
Entering the depth of the purely psychological field, one should have mentioned that the world and new circumstances
of life have made an extremely negative impact on the Georgian Church. For centuries religion was inscribed by blood of martyrs and faith was a feat. Despite the presence of bishops-lords and undeveloped theology, the Georgian Autocephaly Church was highlighted by self-consciousness. With establishment of peace the faith has lost its tragic character, attributed to the very nature of the Christianity, and hence become depleted. Grounded by the common sense of state the Autocephaly Church was abolished and its extensive land possessions were taken to the treasury. Let’s admit that the mentioned act has been carried out by request of the Georgian priesthood realizing its inability to rule it. That shouldn’t be a disaster, if the sequestered Georgian church was not neighboured by the impressive building of the Armenian theocracy towering in Echmiadzin, rich for lands and money (administration of that was just recently transferred to the treasury), politically organized and frequently engaged in open fight with the Russian power. Seeing that picture, able to inspire separatist feeling in any people, and regardless the newly announced reform of administration of the Armenian Church property, the Georgians are still entitled to conclude that it is beneficial to be secessionist in the Caucasus.
Finally, that idea could go to the background as well, if the Orthodoxy enjoyed sufficient care and attention of the class of officials and society of the province. Meanwhile, religion in the capitals and centre of Russia itself was not in advantage till recent times, serious turn to better has begun only after the royal-creative initiative of the late Emperor Alexander III, although that saving movement reached Georgia only in limited scales. Several years ago one prominent Caucasian official asked exarch of Georgia whether or not the reverend gentleman
was planning to go to the station to meet Catholicos of all Armenians. That official was surprised to hear negative response:
– As far as I know, patriarch in religious hierarchy stands above Metropolitan or exarch?
– Yes, – calmly answered the prelate, – but the Orthodox patriarch, not heresyarch.
Official just shook his shoulders, but didn’t dare to insist. There is another example as much characteristic. Some censored Armenian newspaper, printed in Russian alphabet, has published malicious insinuations against one of the most ancient and noble among the Georgian monasteries – shrine of John of Zedadzen. By the way, that clear hint referred to the miracle (the pool waters itself in the day of shrine’s holiday), which that shrine of the IV century is famous for, as nothing but fraud. Like a witness, who visited that eagle’s nest inhabited by five miserable and hungry hermits, I wrote an answer deserved by the slanderer. The censor banned me. When I came to the relevant official for personal explanations and started convincing him that assault against people’s sanctuaries through the newspaper was a dirty trick and indignant press word could serve the best antidote to that, – the gentleman I was speaking to, answered with an air of the astonished liberalism:
– What is that passion to religion?! Excuse me, but your point of view is a bit of gendarme-like. Why should you bother to support that obsolete ruin?!
It was at least inappropriate to hear from the official person!..
To illustrate that casus I will add something else. The author of that filthy article was political deportee, nearly of participants of the March 1st conspiracy. Once settled in Tiflis, he systematically served to the Armenian usurer
separatist intrigue through local press and using the pretext of liberalism misinterpreted many things that dear to real Georgians and Russians. When that rogue died, one of the leaders of the local nobility, a man proud for his title and noble status, honoured the funerals among the rascals and imbeciles of Tiflis. Obviously, he did that by order of the Armenian bosses, who he had debts to.
Importance of such fact as decline of the religion is crucial for the people, whose whole culture and spiritual life was based upon that ground. That disaster was aggravated by bunch of the naturally produced phenomena, and reforms of the 60’s have become the most fatal among them, especially for the Georgian people; I say for people, not only nobility, because immediately after dissolution of the ties between them both nobility and peasantry have fallen into tenacious paws of the Armenian bourgeoisie. Everything that could be restrained by powerful hands of such wise rulers as Yermolov and Vorontsov in terms of the patriarchal order of the prereformed administration – now has grown wide under coverage of the abstract legal order giving the pushing swindle and advantage before the patriarchal and not always (only in extraordinary cases) strict traditional arbitrariness. New courts, and moreover, unprincipled attorneys have developed chicanery, muck-rake, perjury, substitution of normal honesty with formal impunity etc. The Imeretians are especially famous for that. They give hundreds of royal stamps to their daughters as dowry. Once upon a time in the city park of Tiflis I was looking after conversation between two Imeretian cooks with watch in my hand; within fifteen minutes their Georgian speech was more than fifty times interrupted by shouting: “cassation appeal”, “referring to articles” and so on.
The urban self-administration of new type with unbelievable speed became accumulated in hands of the
Armenian plutocracy, which was ruling insolently and clearly negligent about interests of the more numerous multinational mass of population. Armenians grabbed all banks, including the state bank, and trade of the agricultural products into their hands. All the economic life of the region is in the iron jaws of mob.
The Georgian land proprietorship is melting incredibly quickly. Various Mantashevs, Aramyants, Arafelovs, Makaryants and other Armenian bosses buy Georgian lands for nothing and fill them with settlers from Turkey; chapels and even churches transfer into hand of Armenians.
It should be noted that major part of that process is accomplished secretly: Armenians do not dare to present all their documents and terminate all intertribal issues in the land sphere yet. They are afraid of burst of desperation in the Georgian society and suspect that due to the sharp crisis Russian government would take a closer look at the Caucasian affairs.
The modern school entertaining itself with pseudo classicism and almost deprived of good educational significance has heavily damaged the Georgians. The previous battalion and regiment school of times of Yermolov and Vorontsov, as it was said above, had been simple, but well oriented. It used to raise minds and characters preparing them for switch to new order of state. It has brought up a plethora of outstanding Georgian military commanders and administrators. The number of the outstanding persons among students of the new school is small, but number of the disoriented people is countless. In Georgia – where factories are nearly absent, and its ridiculous to speculate about workers proletariat – it’s easy to meet the convinced Marxist; in country where wine flows as river and tobacco is smoked even in bed, one can encounter pseudo followers
of Tolstoy. A mass of intelligentsia receiving Russian diplomas cannot find employment, grow shallow and transform into people without any particular colour or with Levantine tinge.
The struggle fought by the late supervisor of the Caucasian educational district K.P. Yanovsky with then ministry of popular educational was for adaptation of the pedagogical practice to the local ground. That notorious teacher did not live the day of triumph of his ideas, and God knows when that day would arrive. The malicious prejudice of the “united school” is still strong; they mix concepts of aim and tools. Although it seems to be clear that aspiration for similar final goals under different circumstances must reach success only through diversification of tools. Ideal of the school is differentiation, not unification.
Elementary school doesn’t comply with its commitment fully, because sometimes it rushes to push out natural language of the population too fast. That formal statistical or more exactly career success is reached at the expense of damage to the spiritual development, because natural language is normal organic instrument of the latter. Of course, people need command of the state language as an access to all benefits and advantages of the plenipotentiary Russian citizens. People is thirst for knowledge of the Russian, but representatives of the local intelligentsia, who don’t want to allow that, are guided by serfdom feelings and thoughts: they find it beneficial to drive people into the dark corner of ignorance to exploit them as much unimpeded as possible. Similarly wrong those teachers who inflate the simple and clear matter of language into irritating trouble, building career upon nerves of people generally inclined to be our ally in the Caucasus. Obviously, official state and native local languages may coexist peacefully, not excluding each other: this is an issue of tact and benevolence to the population.
I didn’t deteriorate colours while describing negative sides of the Georgian life. It should be noted, major part of knyaz and nobles, especially those ones living in Tiflis and spending more than they earn, do fall not only financially, but morally, submitting to influence of rich Armenians, who more and more reasonably consider them as owned political tools. Level of the female morality and dignity falls remarkably as well under influence of such life and negative sides of the ludicrous European civilization in Tiflis in general.
Was the ancient Georgian lady moral? Travellers like Charden and Dumas deny that. I think they are wrong. Typical Georgian ladies of old breed, whom I met, deserve absolute respect to themselves. Possibly it was nature itself, which prescribed yashmak and original ethics of the past for the southern passionate woman.
Situation is bad, nut not hopeless. First, destruction, nasty destruction awaits the overwhelming majority of the higher class for centuries representing almost all of Georgia. That is bad, because every people needs the supreme class with noble traditions; there were ones. Part of the higher class, more modest, will possibly hold in their estates. They are – various retired captains, under-officers of militia with badges of military order in their tab and so on; they are real native Georgians, men of honour, loyal to their people, Tsar and fatherland. The Georgian bourgeoisie will gradually grow from both the top and bottom, if really-progressive Georgians and Russian power would realise that this cause strongly needs help. Level of the Georgian intelligentsia will improve with salvation of the Russian school and press; finally, the popular mass retains a lot of vivid power inside; but every popular mass needs help and careful attention of the government.
Nowadays the Georgian peasant is still oppressed, confused and misguided, although freedom was announced to him, but reform has been carried out carelessly; the compulsory land ties are not resolved yet, likewise boundaries and many other things. The economic conditions oppress him; on behalf of the buyers-up and Armenian kulaks he has got more cruel masters than the previous lords, whose tyranny could be mitigated by numerous good traditions bringing classes closer to each other. The former strict feudal power had kept peasants in obedience and made them to respect the strangers’ property. Now that power is abolished, but concept of legality has not rooted in the popular conscience because change was too sharp and people weren’t ready to that. The agrarian misunderstandings happen more and more often. Moreover, peasant doesn’t comprehend himself as citizen with definite rights and obligations…
Yes, he loves his motherland spontaneously, like any Georgian, because it cannot be unloved. And he regards the Russian Tsar not as ordinary manager, but his legitimate Tsar, natural successor of previous dynasties. That is patriarchal, filial love without any tinge of servitude.
Here is one of the thousands of characteristic stories told by plain people of Tiflis about journey of the Emperor Alexander III to Kakhetia. Once their majesties left Tiflis on the highway they met a simple man, who was squatted down and roasting kebab. Being incredibly delighted he waved his hands and shouted, raising his glass of wine:
– Alexander, Mariamo, gamardjoba! Let God send you victory!
Tsar made that Georgian happy: he took a gulp of wine and drank for his loyal Georgian people.
4. Russian-Georgian relations.
The issue of the Russian-Georgian relations is very interesting. The lower popular classes reproach perfectly like two relative, impulsive origins. Thousands of the Russian pilgrims visit the ancient Mtskheta and Bodbiy monastery and fraternize with Georgians. In the army Russians come more closely with Georgians, unlike Armenians, who are not admitted to club by the officers’ families of some regiments, for instance, Nizhegorodsky. The Georgian generals are popular among Russian soldiers as men with appropriate carriage and courage. Even two years after departure of knyaz Amilakhvary from position of corps commander some soldiers continued to believe that he was on “temporary leave” and “in case of combat operations would take command again”.
Relations between the class of officials and Georgian nobility – are quite horny – undoubtedly because of the fault of both parties. First, the local higher class has a lot of aggressive ambitions, but frequently lacks civil principles. Should one official reject impossible or illegal request by some feudal offspring, then the latter would acknowledge all officials to be torturers, and Georgia to be offended unfairly. The logic is somewhat female: should one man offend a lady, then she would certainly call all men tyrants!.. Meanwhile those lords themselves arrogantly treat officials promoted from seminary students or plain family, thus creating enemies.
Some representatives of the old famous families distinguished for their psychology of small “rois en éxil” are specifically “uncomfortable”; those who can’t tolerate
their new situation, or engage in any business and do incline only to the “showy” searing of life, have spent money received from the treasury as compensation for the lost “estates”, and then quickly lost some “allowances” and fees gained from court processes against the same treasury – they are the most furious enemies of everything Russian, even when they keep receiving benefits; their complaints are full of the organic sorrow for the lost “tyranny upon chicken paws”, so to speak. Having extensive relations in capital circles these gentlemen sometimes turn into real disaster for the Caucasian Russian authorities; being driven by permanent need for the money to maintain their parasite “shine” they get hobnobbed with rich bosses of the Armenian movement and become guides for their tendencies and intrigues in circles they have an access to. They usually catch the magnanimity of the Russian government, expressed by vague formula “Il fout faire quelque chose pour ces bons Géorgiens”, in their favour. The lion part of that “quelque chose” is immediately caught by people fed to teeth with various blessings, but it’s no good for the Georgians, as nation. Arrogance and snobbism of the privileged parasites evokes indignation of the Russian officials’ class, almost turning into hatred. The Russian man is democratic for his nature and doesn’t understand the feudal pride: he acknowledges achievements, not coat of arms.
There should be definite policy in relations between plain people and officials. When the Armenian wishes to get anything he spreads as carpet, crawls as snake at the feet of clerk and reaches his goal by subtle flattery. The Georgian aristocracy and intelligentsia have neither that “convenient” character, nor that higher and more respectful character called endurance. This is why their
business position is often shaky. They also harm themselves by passion to kinship: even the most benevolent official, naturally, would have less trust to any person who is reasonably suspected to hide party or family combinations behind the proposals of principle nature.
Mixture of the medieval senses with theoretical definitions of the XX century obviously creates confusion, harmful for its bearer. Being impressed by frequent misunderstandings, both of the interested parties incline to the groundless opinions and easily believe in lie, consequently the relations become tenser. The Georgians incline to consider all of the Caucasian officials as absolutely bad people, what is of course wrong: many of them truly are, but not all! Many Caucasian officials incline to assert that all Georgians are serious separatists, what is absolutely wrong as well.
The Georgians like to emphasize the word trulyloyal, what in the symbolic Caucasian language means confession of loyalty to Tsar, but reluctance to submit to the Caucasian authorities. The Georgian nobles have an amazing ability to “sulk” at the officials and thus to harm themselves. It’s unspeakable how much suffered and tolerated slight pins on his dignity the late knyaz Dondukov- Korsakov, who had truly wished good to the Georgian people, but finally had been forced out of patience. They say that once upon a time when that person arrived to Kutaisi, he had been welcomed by the following slogan: they reproduced initial letters of his name D.K. and placed above and between them the word “ura”2. They did that like schoolboys, in vain, just to say! Chain of such actions is grounded by dissatisfaction with abolition of the procuratorship system better suiting the negative
2 Altogether it makes the Russian word “durak” – stupid. Interpreter.
sides of the oriental world outlook and way of life, than the cold-strict order and legality.
The Caucasian environment, corrupted by the Armenian flattery and bribery and intensified by the Georgian nervousness, specifically affects the Russian officials’ class, and authoritative representatives feeling to be distant from St. Petersburg, easily succumb to temptations of the oriental bureaucratic customs. The cunning elements of population take that moment into account and benefit, but nervous ones lose on that. One old Georgian once stated with humour that he was unable to distinguish limits between definitions of “government”, “patronage” and “supremacy”. Generally there is a lot of bitter humour in the Georgian speeches. For instance, one knyaz formulated his situation as following: “Armenians deprived me of my estate, administration deprived of service, the only things left there are my loyalty feelings and good appetite. It’s all right, I can live”!
From time to time officials or the press raise the issue of the Georgian separatism. Leaving exaggerations and, maybe, dreams of a bunch of unimportant people aside, that accusation should be infringed in the real limits of the existing fact. The glorious history cannot be forgotten – and conscious classes of people, absolutely not betraying their loyalty feelings and not objecting to the benevolent unification of Georgia with Russia, would hate to lose their ethnographic originality. They keep dear their national image, language, common and religious ones, songs, literature and symbolism of customs.
That hardly can harm anybody. Moreover: since morality and integrity of human personality is based upon rights and customs, racial fundament, then from the prospective of the widely-comprehensible state interests the
typical Georgian is more preferable than the Georgian torn off the ground and unattached tightly to the Russian roots; the latter takes an image of the Levantine, a man with tribal shortcomings and without traditional tribal goods, i.e. a man good for nobody: neither candle to God, nor poker to devil!
The sharpest forms of isolation, as was mentioned above, can be remarked beyond the Suram Mountains, Kutaisi province. Explanations to that must be looked for in history, very anarchical for its nature, and feverish climate, and extreme nervousness of Georgians of that area. Besides, the Imeretian kingdom was rather concurred than benevolently united. At last, under such circumstances the socio-economic phenomena take specifically important essence and due to them the most conscious part of population, grounded on shoat, demonstrates symptoms of anxious nature.
There are many internal contradictions between aspirations of the isolated part of the Georgian society. Representatives of these trends, on one hand, look back in the past, have passion for kind of an amateurish archaeology, nervously keep dear their outfit, dagger, architecture and various external forms bearing tribal imprints on, on the other hand – they wish the common Russian institutions like court of jury, municipality, universities and other higher educations establishments to reach out Georgia; from one side they stand for the inviolability of the Georgian language, from the other one – for the Marxist class struggle, denial of importance of language and traditions. These antagonist ideas are supported by different groups of intelligentsia, quarrelling with each other, but joining in the common flow of the centre-running aspirations; sometimes absolutely contradicting tendencies live together in mind of one person, confessing the confusion of definitions.
The Georgians are people simultaneously apolitical and having passion for nervous sensitivity, produced by theatrical sides and sportive forms of the political struggle. At first sight, the abovementioned includes the controversy. But nervous passion for the policy is not a vocation crowned with successes. Strictly speaking, the title of the “political people” is most deserved only by Germans, and especially their Anglo-Saxon branch: popular governance works there regularly, reasonably, successfully, besides the society is nearly integrated with government; majority of other peoples needs strong central power and administrative order, because their citizens are either unable “to fit in well” or indifferent to policy, or too nervous (practically all southerners). “Political” people can be shallow and bourgeois-banal (for instance the Dutch and others), and “apolitical” people can be the great, like the Russians, for instance. It is not an issue of the spiritual level, but degree of “unification of atoms” of the people, so to speak. From this point of view, the most southerners can be compared to the gaseous bodies…
Unfortunately, not only isolated, but all of the intelligent Georgians strongly lack the farsighted tribal patriotism, thought plan of actions to reach a deserved privileged position to that nation in the Russian Empire. That status is usually reached either by weapons in hands, or by good; but Georgians incline to the third and quite unproductive way: they often absolutely unreasonably become “sulky”, frond – and spoil their business, thus pleasing other Caucasian competitors. The Georgians have great potential for success: they are sympathetic to the Russian people, worship the state religion, easily accustom (when desired) to different conditions. They could have taken prominent positions with us, if they wished,
and influence the common Russian affairs. Alas, they lack self-control and far-sight as well…
The Georgians incline to attach the sharp character of politics to any issue, not only related to their ethnographic originality, but even the simplest commodity or economic matter connected with electoral agitation, speeches, ballots and so on.
The recent elections of boards of noble land banks in Tiflis and Kutaisi have demonstrated very colourful characteristic picture. All of the more or less intelligent Georgia participated in that noisy struggle. Speeches accompanied by the unspeakable uproar of claps and protesting screams filled the house of the Georgian noble theatre; flowers and hysteric cries have poured out of boxes occupied by the expansive grand-daughters of formerly strict and snobby Georgian matrons. Speakers from time to time squeezed their weapons, but luckily never used them. Meanwhile the irreconcilable hostility spilled over like wide wave far beyond limits of banking sessions and interests. The party of “machabelists”, named after knyaz I.G. Machabely, who later became missing, was especially notorious for its hostility. Everything was mixed and involved here: ladies’ sins, competition of literary men, and echoes of old feudal animosity between particular “gorges”; possibly the latter was that element specifically intensifying discussions on “loaners”, “directors”, “revision commission” and other issues. This way or other, both the hostility and forms of struggle have borne truly Corsican character: a kind of a “rabbit”, point of madness distorting the whole world outlook, the whole nervous system, and the whole life had emerged and ineradicably established in heads of combatants… Removing or, at least, strongly smoothing the sharp forms of the banking struggle the Russian power did a
great favour to the Georgian society desperately longing for tranquillity; it should be noted, that while the Georgians dedicated their time, means and forces to those quarrels, the gangrene of the Armenian exploitation more and more successfully was decomposing their welfare.
One can easily imagine what the land institutions could become! It’s not occasional that the Armenianized press insists on their introduction. The Armenians – zealots of the economic and spiritual enslavement of the Caucasus – naturally would very much like to see the land institutions in Georgia turned into arena of contradictions, on one hand, and on the other hand – into the seat of isolation, inclining to transform the business-like administrative establishment into small parliament, and finally to distract attention of the Georgians from cities being keys to the economic supremacy, because only cities, especially big ones, make prices for the agricultural products, being extensive markets for their trade and centres of credits. It’s amazing how sensible are Georgians to the Armenian prompting, despite their bitter experience!.. I will never forget one of many sessions of the nobility assembly in Tiflis dedicated to the issue of land institutions. The proponents of the latter were knyaz G.M. Tumanov, “Armenianizing Armenian”, untalented, but stubborn propagator of the “Armenian-Georgian solidarity”, and knyaz D.Z. Melikov, owner of the “Novoye Obozreniye” newspaper and half-Armenian by birth, very popular among Armenian financial circles and then elected leader of the Tiflis nobility. Both of them “softly sang” about land institutions and audience listened to them passionately. The only wise and reasonable word then came from colonel knyaz G.I. Orbeliany demonstrating deep knowledge of local conditions and political
mind. He has remarked the sufficient difference between the forms of institutions and their content; if there is no serious factual ground to hope for establishment of full correspondence between them, then institution works poor, bringing harm to residents and benefits only to those, who can catch fish in stirred up water. “We rejoiced, – continued knyaz, – to introduction of new urban statute in Tiflis, but what it had come to? The city became less comfortable, they forced us, Georgians and Russians, out of the Duma, it is rather more difficult for the Georgian worker to find a piece a bread than to newcomer from Turkey, our ancient capital gradually stops to be the Georgian city; nothing to say, we have reason for joy! No, gentlemen, we need governor! It’s rather better to confess it sincerely than to follow down the path of adventures!”…
Sensitive and well-grounded speech by knyaz Orbeliany was welcomed by applauses, but then… after following sessions the assembly spoke in favour of introduction of the land institutions, it’s noteworthy that later some nobles confessed cordially that they voted “pro” exclusively because of the fear to be considered “illiberal”. Luckily for the Georgians that project didn’t encounter compassion in the governmental circles. True (in literal meaning) supporters of the project forgot that the land activity was administrative work and one can’t do it without appropriate knowledge and practice; if people are unable to organize well the agricultural unions of mutual assistance, consumers’ societies and so on, then what kind of land administration they could have, how unproductively and tendentiously would self-taxation grow?! That would be strange for a man having poor knowledge of main rules of arithmetic to deal with logarithms: any charlatan can cheat him on this “cipher”! If in some areas
of the mainland Russia the land institutions were liming in the beginning and people got used to them later, then it is difficult to expect the same at the outskirt with multinational population, especially where the trade-industrial class is composed of the predating nation enslaving the Georgians more and more. It’s obvious that subjugation will grow even stronger if not stopped by adoption of the restraining law, becoming more actual day by day.
The representatives of the isolated part of the Georgian intelligentsia are equally little far-sighted when striving for the establishment of university or polytechnic college in Tiflis: they would get only “residues” of that benefit, which would be grabbed by the Armenian plutocracy to be transformed from the higher educational institution into academy of the Armenian intrigue.
The Georgians quite reasonably explain their sensitivity to the Armenian influence saying that Armenians represent the only real force in the region and even the Russian power doesn’t offer them appropriate counteraction in any field; the Armenian bosses have freely grabbed all life important sources: markets, banks, and influence (although secret, and hence more dangerous) of destinies of officials and enjoy impunities in cases, when any other Caucasian resident would be punished in the most cruel way. From the prospective of transient and temporary advantage they are right, but at the same time they confess of serving their personal benefits, not high ideals like their ancestors knights. Let’s be hopeful that they will be right not for long, from the practical point of view as well: necessity of counteraction to Armenianization of the Caucasus by radical actions becomes more pressing. From the point of view of the Russian historical mission that would be a sin to submit the co-religious and generally loyal to us people to be
ate; equally sinful would be a bad policy, because it would be disadvantageous from the prospective of the Russian state cause to allow Georgians to become the conductors of the Armenian movement!.. Armenians lead there consistently and systematically, but succeed only in respect to the ruined smokers of heaven. The Georgian people don’t believe them. During religiouspopular holidays in Mtskheta, Alaverdy and Bodby the blind Armenian singers freely sing “Georgian” revolutionary songs, composed specially by the Armenian politicians of bankers. People listen without attention, with scornful smiles as hearing some nonsense. But once somebody starts singing beautiful lyrical song by popular poet, knyaz Tseretely or Chavchavadze – everything wakes up and turns into ear… For the nervous intelligentsia the Armenian bosses publish “La Géorgie” newspaper in Paris in French, but they don’t succeed here as well: the newspaper is prepared without talent, deals with shallow gossips and dissemination of libel. At first public has shown slight interest to that, but nobody speaks about it seriously at present…
It is a fatal combination of circumstances that the more or less stubborn, although not very dangerous of course, seat of the Georgian isolation is that field of local life, which serves the strongest chain uniting the small Georgia with the great Russia. I’m referring to the Church. The Georgian priesthood cannot forget the autocephaly of its Church, and there are narrow minded people among the Russian priests in the Caucasus unable to separate religion from politics, as well as the “career- makers in frocks” ready to shake the very fundaments of the holy Church’s cause in Georgia for the sake of career ambitions. It should be also noted that the Georgian priesthood itself is not distinguished for ei
ther high cultural level, or useful influence on the popular masses and enjoys nearly no authority among them. That is not a fruit of the Russian regime; quite to the contrary it is a result of exhaustion of the spiritual power in Georgia by the end of the XVIII century. I had a chance to see one recent official correspondence: two prominent priests were accusing each other in criminal offences: A accused B in hiring assassins to make an attempt on his life. B proudly responded that there was no need for assassins since he had many young relatives ready to kill anybody at his first sign.
Family vengeance between priests, especially supreme ones, has not turned into legend yet. Under such circumstances it becomes clear that presence of the ethnic Russian and objectively benevolent exarch, not connected with any political unification tasks which can be carried out by thousands of other methods, is extremely useful from the prospective of religion and spiritual interests of the Georgian people. The most thoughtful Georgian patriots understand that. While the Georgian orthodoxy was pressing all its efforts for not to be ruined, the Russian church, protected by strong power and inaccessible for neither external enemies, nor family vengeance, was promoting representatives of the deep and calm spiritual thought, fruits of which are useful for the coreligious suffering people.
Along with that, it is necessary, of course, to safeguard the Georgian church language and traditional songs. I confess they have always made a deep impression on me: they breathe with amazing mystical antiquity; it seems that listening to them one ascends closer to the times of Jesus. Many plain Russian pilgrims I met in the Georgian monasteries share that feeling. By the way,
some of the Georgian church songs remind our old song of sign. Here are some more words about Georgian patriotism. When wide lines of history and main fundaments of life eloquently speak in favour of the tight Russian-Georgian union, then local patriotism may become dangerous only in case of unsuccessful conduct of the provincial policy in general. I will speak about it with more details in of the paragraphs dedicated to the issue of the Armenians. Under normal circumstances the local patriotism will contribute to the state cause, if it would be looking forward, not backward, and dwelled upon the reasonable ground of the economic care about people’s welfare.
Of course, one must renounce the fantasies described in the saying composed by people – “inflated like Liakhva”; Liakhva is a river near the city of Gory falling into the Kura River, usually it is very shallow, but in times of flood it overflows and causes great damage. One of such “Liakhvas” is a claim of some particular “cultural-historical” mission of the Georgians in Abkhazia based on the fact that the kingdom of Abkhazia sometimes was vassalage of Georgia (in XII century!) and that lords of this feud Georgianized Persian princes Shevarshidze (transformed from Shirvan-shah, Shirvanshahidze) bear name ending with “dze” and regarded as the Georgian aristocrats. Some priests speculate the fiction of the “Georgian-Abkhaz church”, although the Abkhazians speak language having nothing in common with the Georgian. As the late Caucasian linguist baron Uslar once jokingly said “the Abkhazians speak such a complicate language that it is astounding how they understand each other at all”. And suddenly the culturalhistorical rights over Abkhazia are claimed by the Georgians,
whose native land property sleeps through their fingers!..
The Georgians would better strive for not fantastic “grease”, but own survival! The self-activity is the first thing to be reached for – and many people understand that fine. I heard sincere wishes to have more of the Russian orthodox tradesmen in the Georgians centres, because that would have helped the life-important development of the Georgian bourgeoisie and the cause of the church and the cultural development in the economic field.
The agricultural syndicates, consumers’ societies, depots and other entities emerge in different places of Georgia. The government should have helped them, and we should have supported the economic revival of the closest to us people of the Transcaucasia.
The late knyaz K.I. Bagration-Mukhransky, the last of the typically Georgian leaders of the nobility of the Tiflis province, once said that all of the Georgians are conservators. Only few people understood these words, because too many people certainly want to be regarded as liberals; but basically knyaz Mukhransky was right. I can’t forget how one company of progressive great talkers was openly speculating about constitution and different forms of the provincial isolation with my presence. Suddenly some young knyaz rushed in and brought news about expected visit of their Majesties to the Caucasus. Next moment, without any arrangement, all eyes shined, and wine glittered in the goblets and choir started singing “mravalzhamier” – many years to Tsar.
Knowing the flaws of the Georgian life and shortcomings of their society well, I many times openly told Georgians of them in the Caucasus, I still cannot consider that suffering and nervous people alien to us. Keeping faith in vitality of the uniting us cultural values,
covered with trash in minds of the high circles of both peoples, but alive in depth of the nation’s soul – I follow the path of Slavophil, my views coincide with ones of such people like Ivan Sergeyevich Aksakov and Rostislav Fadeyev, who didn’t consider alien the people united with us by historical mission, glorious deeds in the past, and community of faith, Tsar and fatherland at present.