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Will the people of Georgia unite in the name of Stalin again?

A new chessman may emerge on the chessboard of Georgia’s political life. On June 22 2016, the constituent congress of Socialist Georgia people’s movement was held in the town of Gori. The congress looked to unite all the left-wing parties in the country along with the political movements based on the socialist ideology.

The major task of the congress is to develop a common program and platform of the election campaign, develop the necessary tactics and strategy. The movement chose such load mottos as “No NATO!” “We are with Russia!” and a poster “The Motherland Is Calling!” That great poster by artist Irakli Toidze has become a kind of icon, relic for the Soviet people and an inspiration for the Great Victory.

Historically, the venerated icons were demonstrated in public at a moment of extreme danger threatening to a country and the people, at a moment requiring maximum mobilization and concentration of the people.

It is not accidental that the congress was held in Stalin’s native country and was timed to the 75th tragic anniversary (June 22) of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.  The initiators of the congress were the United Communist Part of Georgia, Neutral Georgia Party, and Stalin International Organization.

Few people in Georgia have remembered that there is a communist party, since its weight in the Georgian policy was extremely low. There are many reasons behind that. The people still remember how the communist party behaved during the last years of the Soviet Republic of Georgia. It did nothing for the people. After it fell apart, its brightest leaders –starting from the cunning Eduard Shevardnadze up to the party officials -  turned into bourgeois democrats in a blink of eye, taking all the plum jobs.

At present, the United Communist Party of Georgia has to regain the public confidence to revive together with the Neutral Georgia Party led by the well-known journalist Valeri Kvaratskhelia, who has always insisted on his principles fairly and bravely. He was in the opposition to the United National Movement. He often criticized the Georgian Dream, which failed to implement many of its electoral promises after coming to power.  Grigol Oniani - a fan of Josef Stalin- has founded and led the Stalin International Organization.

How authoritative may these persons become in the Georgian policy?  So far, their possibilities are not big. They can be compared with teens trying to raise a heavy sword obviously exceeding their abilities so far.  Hardly anyone in London would pay attention to such event as the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in early 20th century.

It is obvious that a reviving political force needs strong allies abroad. The honorable guests of the congress were representatives of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Member of the Russian State Duma Vladimir Simagin and Head of the Department of the Central Community Party of the Russian Federation for National Policy, CIS and Compatriots Chermen Dudati.  Like in the Soviet time, the delegates and the participants of the congress addressed Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) Gennady Zyuganov.

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It is noteworthy that the CPRF is not a ruling party, though it has a faction in the State Duma. Once Gennady Zyuganov was harshly criticized by his supporters for failing the elections in 1996 despite forecasts that he would win over Boris Yeltsin. At present, the left-wing parties in Georgia can have no other ally in Russia. What can Georgian left-wingers offer their compatriots to enlist their support?

“Like 75 years ago, now our peoples have faced a deadly danger. Like 75 years ago, today our people are called to unite against the common danger and reach the path of development and prosperity together.” This was really the point of the congress that represented the opinion of the greatest part of the Georgian public. “We deny cooperation with our common adversaries. We are with Russia! We are for the military and political union with Russia!”

These ideas will be welcomed by part of the population, as both the United National Movement and the Georgian Dream that has replaced it have discredited the pro-Western policy in the eyes of the people.

This gives the left-wing parties a chance to a success in the political fight by using Stalin’s name. The attitude towards that historical personality has been regularly changing from apotheosis to demonization.

The desire of the left wing parties to look at the relations with the West soberly coincides with the stance of another new player on the domestic policy chessboard, Tamaz Mechiauri.  It is for a long time already that this politician has been calling everyone to stop looking through the rose-colored spectacles to see what in fact is happening in the West. It was because of his Euroscepticism that he left the ruling Georgian Dream Party. The recent EU referendum results have proved that he was right.

No one today can predict the further processes within the European Union, but the chain reaction is possible.  Mechiauri has his own vision of the future of the EU. He is sure that the number of Asian countries will exceed the one of the European countries in the EU in the future.

“When we join the EU, no one will be left there. The British still have a desire to keep the traditions, history, Europeanism and resist the trends that actually destroy the features differentiating the nations,” Tamaz Mechiauri says. “No one holds us from adopting everything good without any commitments or refusing from our values.”

Although Mechiauri and the left-wing parties of Georgia have different ideological stances, they are united when it comes to the resumption of the relations with Russia.

The upcoming parliamentary elections will show whether the people of Georgia will unite in the name of Stalin again or they will choose another path.

Irakli Chkheidze for EADaily

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