Author: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at Rondeli Foundation
This February and March it is 99 years since the occupation of the independent and democratic Georgian republic by Soviet Russia in 1921. It crushed the dreams of Georgians of that era, beginning a terrible and long-lasting tragedy of the totalitarian rule that has cost the Georgian people dearly.
Since 1918, until the final defeat of the Georgian resistance movement in the 1920s, Georgia, just like today, fought against not just the enemies of its national sovereignty but also against a force that was genuinely objectively evil. In that fight Georgia was defeated but the fact that it actively resisted that force is precious for both us, who live today, and the future generations. It is always worthwhile to fight against evil.
Sometimes, great geopolitical struggles, and their ultimate outcomes, are vitally important not only for the interests of the participating great powers but also for humanity at large. In such cases, the victory of one side is good for our civilization, and for the personal fate of countless human beings, while the victory of another side is bad. Since World War I, this has generally been the case and it is the case today.
It is not a battle between good and evil but it is a battle between the complicated, inconsistent, difficult humans on the boundary of light and dark, on the one side, and evil, on another. The victory of the first side means continuity of the usual human existence. The last couple of centuries have shown us that when this is the case, the state of humanity and the quality of life of specific people generally improve. The victory of evil, on the other hand, can bring about hell on earth. In particular portions of our planet’s surface, such a hell has already been created: by Lenin and Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, North Korea’s Kim dynasty. The only reason why this hell has not engulfed the whole planet is that the forces that promoted it, including Communists and Nazis, physically failed to bring it about because the people on the side of liberty resisted them.
The shadow of hell is also easily discernable today if one knows where to look. Modern technologies make it possible to establish forms totalitarian regimes that have been hitherto unseen. When George Orwell wrote his 1984, what he described was not quite possible technically. Today it is. A regime with sufficient political will and money is now actually able to create a system where it will permanently follow every step of every citizen. And since technologies keep improving, soon this will be even easier to do than it is now.
China’s ruling regime is already creating a system of such total control. The regime in Russia has also begun making steps in this direction. It makes sense. Where there is no democracy, any serious economic crisis or foreign policy setback might become a spark launching a revolution. Ultimately, it is just a matter of time. Building an Orwellian system is a method these regimes can use to try and preemptively defend themselves against such a scenario.
A country run by such methods is not a place where it is worth to live. After the Gulag and Auschwitz, hell on earth is taking new forms to threaten the obliteration of human liberty and progress.
There are numerous things that make our time different from the era of the first Georgian republic of 1918-1921 but we have something very important in common – then and now Georgia’s national freedom is attacked by a force that is objectively evil. For some reason, Georgia gets into this kind of trouble time and again. The truth is that both then and now Georgia is one of the many frontlines in the broader struggle for the future direction of human civilization.
26 May 1919, Tbilisi, Georgia. Members of the Shevardeni sports club march on Georgian Independence Day. Source: National Archives of Georgia
In the 1920s, the struggle ended in Georgia’s defeat. The evil imprisoned and kept us for 70 years until it drowned in its own corruption and absurdity in 1991. It does not mean that this time around it will happen again. There are many circumstances that make the present situation better for Georgia than it was at the time of the first republic. We do have a chance for the ongoing historical trial to end in a good, or at least acceptable, manner for us and we need to use this chance.
The citizens of Georgia who wish for us and our loved ones not to live in the circumstances that are unpleasantly similar to slavery, but as befits human beings, need this. And besides, we should also know that our ongoing struggle is a part of a global struggle which is presently becoming more and more profoundly evident.
Our present adversaries are also enemies, simultaneously, of: the ideals of liberty; the humanist ideals of reaching out toward human improvement; the Christian (and not just Christian) ideals of mercy, love and kindness. All politicians, activists, journalists, researchers and anyone else who is now doing something for Georgia to be both democratic and free from Russia stand on the right side of Georgian and world history. In the midst of battle, it is never known how it is going to end but whatever comes – it is always worthwhile to fight against evil.