Georgia’s Integrity via Education


The Soviet Union, the weirdest political protuberance on Mankind’s body, disappeared after it turned into a lethal cancerous growth. The monstrous empire vanished from the world map after 70 years of wretched social and glorious military existence, having disintegrated into 15 independent states, Georgia one of them.

Sakartvelo won independence, but not without paying a price: it forfeited one-third of its historical lands for the reasons that be, and acquired a new archenemy in the person of the newly created Russian Federation – the official inheritor of Soviet legacy. In a nutshell: the ruined USSR triggered the ruin of Georgia.

Was the soviet debilitating but not so funny socio-economic conglomerate good or bad for us? There is no straightforward and single-meaning answer to this traumatizing question, but the irrefutable fact is that the country used to be wholesome, with a secured peaceful existence as well as guaranteed territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers. Thirty years have passed and the problem of Georgia’s territorial integrity is still on the agenda of the Republic’s unsolved dilemmas. Moreover, it looks like the issue will stay there until the end of time.

But there are some wise heads operating in the country that are gingerly nursing the cherished idea of the feasibility of reinstating our territorial integrity. I was lucky enough to have recently encountered one of those bright heads at one of the conferences in town, organized by a certain segment of Georgia’s intellectual elite. There, I heard a succinct speech by the current rector of Sokhumi State University, Professor Zurab Khonelidze, who constructively managed to brief the strained audience in an exclusively educated fashion on the possibility of seeing Georgia put back in its previous territorial shape. The professor’s out-of-the-ordinary geopolitical concept was presented in plain, easily understandable language, and dwelt upon the issue against the background of the so called University Diplomacy, one of the trendiest means of executing one’s diplomatic and political aspirations. The main allusion was made towards the fact that Georgia’s international image and its recognizability mostly depend on how much the world wants to continue the discussion of its territorial problems. In any international format, and those are very few, Georgia’s future attracts serious attention only when the runaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia are squeezed into the narrative. Otherwise, there is not much to deliberate on Georgia’s fate. The conflict that Georgia has found itself stuck in for decades will have to be solved only on a peaceful basis.

Time is relentlessly passing by and hope for the solution remains as bleak as it has ever been. The situation becomes even worse because the world is getting used to the dire reality, plunging our most acute national pain into oblivion. International formats are being depleted of their geopolitical potential to help Georgia out, with the fact that Russia dominates the arena not in our favor. New generations are coming of age whose indifference towards the issue is simply frightening.

As Professor Khonelidze makes clear, the topic has to be kept alive and permanently discussable both internally and externally, but not without relevant education for the coming generations of Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians, scientifically elucidating every aspect of the depressing situation and looking for new forms of conflict resolution. And nothing can do this better than University Diplomacy, with its modernized technique and strategy of getting down to the nitty-gritty of the extant geopolitical problem which has put all of the conflict sides on the verge of misery and misfortune.

One of the most daring ideas that sounded in the professorial speech was a thought about the possibility of reuniting the once split Sokhumi University, which suffered the pains of compelled dissection as a consequence of the stupid internecine the 1990s war, managed and manipulated by the big northern brother of all of the suffering losers. It is exactly University Diplomacy that carries the educational and scientific power to bring up young people of thought and reason who can and would rightfully handle the damage, once brought about by their angry and not very intelligent ancestors, who have deliberately or unwittingly succumbed to the evil imposed on their unfortunate heads.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Photo: Zurab Khonelidze speaks in front of Sokumi State University

05 December 2019 16:19