Thursday, October 26, 2006

Solidarity with Georgians in Russia

The Moscow Times reports on escalating discrimination against Georgians in Russia, and support Georgians are receiving from the Russian intelligentsia:
A group of liberal political activists in St. Petersburg has decided
to protest the current anti-Georgian sentiment in Russia by officially
adopting Georgian-sounding surnames.

Alexander Shurshev, an activist in the Yabloko Party's youth
organization, said he was changing his name to Shurshadze.

"In Russia today, people are discriminated against based on their
ethnicity," Shurshev said this week. "I've decided to give my name a
Georgian ending to show my solidarity with the Georgians who are being
oppressed."
...
Roman Omari Vephvadze, senior priest at the Georgian church on
Starorusskaya Ulitsa, said his parishioners were afraid to go out in
public.
...
Police have ordered Tomsk State University to hand over information on
its Georgian students, Gazeta.ru reported Thursday.

Administrators have begun to gather information not only on Georgian
citizens, but also on ethnic Georgians with Russian citizenship, the
news portal reported.
The NY Times reports that, among other disturbing recent incidents, "A group of men burst into a contemporary art gallery [in Moscow] Saturday, destroying work by an ethnic Georgian artist and beating up the owner, Marat Guelman."

I have never lived in Russia, but everything I know suggests that Putin is a dangerous man and an enemy of democracy. He's running Russia into the ground and poisoning its democratic potential. I'm no fan of Dick Cheney, but he was right on in his remarks in Vilnius earlier this year.