A Modern History of Soviet Georgia

A Modern History of Soviet Georgia

A Modern History of Soviet Georgia

A Modern History of Soviet Georgia

Excerpt

'Criticize your friend to his face, your foe behind his back.'--Georgian proverb

THE WORLD today is witnessing a resurgence of nationalism among the peoples of Asia and Africa. Western Colonialism is everywhere in flight. Self-determination for all is the order of the day, even when the granting of independence brings with it an intensification of economic problems and social contradictions. In the Soviet Union alone, the advocates of self-determination are silent, or else devote their energies to encouraging the aspirations of peoples outside the frontiers of the USSR. There may therefore be some degree of topicality in offering to the Western reader an outline of the modern history of one of the smaller peoples now embraced within the Soviet Union, in tracing the rise and fall of Tsarist autocratic rule over Georgia and Caucasia, and in showing how this led to Georgia's present membership of the family of Soviet nations, of which'she is now a leading representative.

Some of my Soviet friends have expressed misgivings at my attempt to write an objective history of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, on the grounds that this may revive painful memories best wrapped in oblivion. It is true that our generation stands too close to the cataclysmic events which attended the birth of Russia's social and industrial revolution, and that books written today will have to be radically revised in the broader perspective enjoyed by historians of a future age. None the less, I think that some useful purpose may be served by putting down on paper some salient facts of recent Georgian history while eyewitnesses and protagonists are alive to be consulted, and impressions from visits to Soviet Georgia in 1960 and 1962 remain fresh. At the same time, I hope that this book may arouse interest in a fascinating and congenial people whom the accidents of history have too often cut off from the Western civilization with which they have so many . . .

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