28 June 2011, 17:39

Georgia eyes “national rebranding”

Georgia eyes “national rebranding”

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said Tbilisi authorities want to return the country its historical name. According to the Georgian government, its historical name is actually “Georgia”, as in English, not “Gruzia”, as in Russian.

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said Tbilisi authorities want to return the country its historical name. According to the Georgian government, its historical name is actually “Georgia”, as in English, not “Gruzia”, as in Russian. 

The Georgian official said, the government has officially approached many countries with a request to recognize the new official name of the state. So far, only South Korea has agreed to do it.  The Deputy Foreign Minister said Tbilisi is determined to achieve “the final victory” on this issue so that not only an American state but also a country in the Caucasus will be named Georgia in the near future.

The “rebranding” plans reflect the wish of the Georgian authorities to reject its “dark” past related to Russia and to fit into the Western world. As always, ambitions reign supreme over common sense and historical truth.

Russian-Georgian relations have a centuries-long history. On many occasions, the Georgian rulers turned to Russia for military assistance in their wars against Turkey and Iran. In the late 18th century, the Georgian czar Irakli asked Catherine the Great to take Georgia under Russia’s protection. Later his successor filed a petition to the Russian czar, asking him to make Georgia part of the Russian Empire but to preserve an autonomous government there. Thanks to Russia, the Georgian nation did not lose its identity, which would be impossible under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. 

One should not forget that in order to protect the Christians of the Balkans and the Caucasus Russia had to fight Turkey and Iran for 100 years.

Even the Soviet period was not as terrifying for Georgia as some Georgian politicians want to present it: as part of the USSR, Georgia was one of the richest republics.

But all this historical examples only prove that the historical truth means nothing to the regime of Mikhail Saakashvili. The main goal to break with the Russia-related past associated with the name “Gruzia” and move forward toward a bright Western future. In an interview with the “Voice of Russia”, political analyst Pavel Danilin supposed that perhaps Georgia wants to become one of the American states.

"Georgia hopes that a new name will give it additional economic and political advantages. The most ridiculous thing in this context is that Russia’s Foreign Ministry has received a proposal from Georgia to turn a new page in the bilateral relations. According to Georgian officials, Tbilisi proposes Moscow to reestablish ties because the UN Court obliges it to do so. But they forgot how Georgian soldiers killed Russian soldiers. Tbilisi has not officially apologized for this. Georgia thinks that the renaming will wipe the slate clean. It is naïve, stupid and crazy for Saakashvili to think so."

In the near future we have no reasons to expect Georgia’s best friend Washington to accept the new name. The US government is trying to protect its citizens from any new stresses. They have had enough over the last few years - Iraq, Afghanistan, the financial crisis and the environment disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  

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