As we have seen the Gruzian Rump Nation (GRN) is kept in a state of permanent political crisis, by outside forces (=The Usual Suspects). Instead of accepting the loss of two provinces which never truly belonged to them (long story), Gruzians are egged on into full revanchist mode. Whose ultimate goal appears to be war against Russia. A war they cannot win.
The psychologically healthier response, in this, as in any similar loss (such as a divorce) would be to (1) accept what happened 11 years ago; (2) take some personal accountability for it; (3) kiss the lost provinces good-bye; (4) take very good care of what is left to you; and (5) get on with your fucking life. A 5-step process to good mental health! (I should write a self-help book.)
Unfortunately, the current government of Gruzia is unable to offer that healthy alternative to its subjects, since the ruling party (“Gruzian Dream”) has no ideology of its own; they are just passive dreamers whose only point of commonality was a tribal hatred of former President Saakashvili. Now they ferment in their own impotence while Russia, in a cold but controlled anger, scores telling blows against the Gruzian economy. See, Gruzia could have been a prosperous little nation if they had hitched their wagon to their giant neighbor. Trade and tourism would have made them rich. All they had to do was be friendly. Was that too much to ask? Apparently, yes.
Instead, the less healthy, shall we even say, psychotic, elements are driving the Gruzian narrative. We have seen how Group-Think has prevailed in this subculture, turning everybody, even previously healthy elements, into Chauvinistic Pod People. Today we examine the case of Nino Katamadze.
As I mentioned, I never heard of Nino before, but that’s just me. I follow opera closely, but not jazz or pop culture. Apparently Nino is so well known in Russia, as a jazz singer and composer, that even President Putin’s Press Secretary commented on her declaration. And the author of the piece, Dmitry Bavyrin, states unequivocally, that her demarche against Russia is a significant and telling blow. “For starters,” he writes, “Nino Katamadze is actually a talented artist, I would say almost unique…[..] Secondly, Katamadze is one of the Gruzian musicians from whom one would not expect political statements.”
The August War
Bavyrin mentions that even the August War (2008) between Russia and Gruzia (a war that Russia won, natch), did not appear to turn Nino against Russia. Not long after Russia handed the Gruzians their collective tushes and then recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries (a way of protecting them from Gruzian revenge), Katamadze performed at a concert in Moscow. Along with a musical ensemble from South Ossetia! If that isn’t a political statement, I don’t know what is.Now, when it comes to Russian pop musicians, there were people on both sides of that war as well. For example, Russian singer Yury Shevchuk, took the Gruzian side in that war. Well, technically he was “anti-war”, which, in effect, was the Gruzian side. In other words, Shevchuk was against the August War in the same way that Jane Fonda was against the Vietnam War. Being “against” the Vietnam War meant wanting the Vietnamese side to win. Similarly, being “against” the August war meant wanting the Gruzians to win and violently take back the split-away South Ossetian and Abkhazian territories. One must be clear about this. One significant difference, though, is that the Vietnam War went on for years, even decades; whereas the August War was over in a couple of weeks. And, to the horror of people like Shevchuk, the Russian army won quite handily and could have easily taken Tbilisi during their coffee break had they chosen to. But that wasn’t the goal. The goal was just to “force the Gruzians to peace” and to leave their neighbors alone, that is, the Abkhazians and Ossetians.
If Shevchuk used his music to promote the Gruzian side of the dispute, then, by the same token, Katamadze’s performance in Moscow with Ossetian musicians in 2008, was also a blatant political statement. A statement that she did not support Saakashvili’s genocidal attack against Tskhinval. At the time the Gruzian nationalists regarded her as a traitor.
So, what changed since then? In the intervening years, Katamadze has not made political statements nor endorsed politicians, she has sung concerts in Russia and limited her extracurricular activities to a-political and philanthropical causes. Counting since 2011 she has performed 272 concerts, of which more than half (141) in Russia.
And then suddenly — this. Nino suddenly came out in support of the Tbilisi protesters and promised them that she never again sing in Russia. Most certainly, she has weighty reasons why she would voluntarily sacrifice at least half her annual income to make this political statement. It is sad to think that a formerly rational creature has been swept up in the “imperial fantasies” of the chemi mitsa movement. A fascist movement that, in essence, fantasizes of a “lost empire” that never was. A movement of Regional Chauvinism, which denies the right of self-determination to “the others”, in this case the Abkhazians and Ossetians. Which latter have made it Über-clear, time after time, war after war, that they want nothing to do with the Gruzians, at least in the capacity of imperial subjects. They do not wish to be governed from Tbilisi, nor they want to be expelled from their lands, nor forcibly assimilated into Gruzian language and culture.
Bavyrin points out that, when the Soviet Union dissolved, it was precisely Gruzia and not Latvians nor Estonians, who first selected for themselves a radical nationalist as their leader. His name was Zviad Gamsakhurdia. This was the guy who came up with the slogan “Gruzia for the Gruzians”, in an entity that was 30% ethnic minorities. In the U.S. this would be like a new President coming into office and announcing his new platform of “America for White Folks”, or something like that. (And please, no Donald Trump jokes in retort!)
Bavyrin, who is clearly a fan, expresses hope that Katamadze does not personally believe in such fascist notions. Hey, I also didn’t want to believe this about my former idol, Anita Rachvelishvili. But, realistically, one must face the truth head on, in the style of Gregers Werle. Let’s face it, these talented ladies have truly gone over to the Dark Side, and then dived head first into the pool of shared Kartveli madness. The tribe has spoken.
Bavyrin concludes his piece thusly: “Nino Katamadze is a great loss. Not for Russia nor Russian audiences, but for music in general. And this loss underscores the point that we cannot forgive those cavorting fools in Tbilisi who have figured out a way to draw good people into their evil adventures.”