As of lately South Ossetia and Abkhazia have nothing in common with Kosovo, they are similar to Northern Cyprus, and Turkey's decision to recognize Northern Cyprus as a nation of its own. Decades later, what Cyprus is going through is just pitiful. Russia calls for others to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and rallies countries like Cuba, Belarus and Venezuela. They even dared ask Turkey. I am sure there will be Syria there too, showing gratitude for recently purchased "defense" systems. I bet Syria will get some freebies for this recognition. Turkey is very unlikely to go along though. I have pretty bad record for predicting things, but I do not think Turks have given up their European aspirations, and their business in Georgia is way more than a hotel in Sokhumi.

All of the anti-Russian talk aside, I pity Ossetians and Abkhaz who followed their leadership. Will they live better in Russia than they would in Georgia? I question that. Look at Chechens, they had aspirations and they were shot at.

Neither South Ossetia, nor Abkhazia has been what would be called "independent" last 15-17 years. They were told what to do by Moscow, and that's what they did. Why? Because Moscow paid pensions and salaries in both statelets.

Ossetia is a pasture land that survives on 60% Russian "donation" and the rest robbing people as they exit the tunnel. Lenght of Ossetia-Russia relationship's history can be easily summed up by the fact that Russians use a Georgian word to refer to the ethnic group. In Georgian, Ossetians are called "osi", "-eti" is added at the end to identify the place where people live/come from (e.g. Rusi/Ruseti, Turqi/Turqeti). Russians "conveniently" took Georgian Oseti, and by adding an -a, turned it into Ossetia and Ossetians became Ossetinets. Yet, they tout their "closeness" to each other.

Georgia has lost the war, but future will see how happy Abkhaz and Ossetians will be "independent" and at the same time dependent on Russia.


If there is no word Democracyphobia, there should be one!

By the way, I would like to link to a blog entry by jibs called Why Russia is wrong to attack Georgia. I personally agree with jibs on everything he says there and is very well written. Thanks jibs!


I cannot talk about this without pain. Since my last post, many things changed. I discovered the anger in me towards every party involved in this conflict. A few people who usually check this blog out know about Caucasus more than just a few Wiki articles' worth of cliff notes. They know that this is not a conflict that was started on 8/8/8. What happened on 8/8/8 was a result of Russian policies, Ossetian stubbornness and Georgian stupidity. Ossetians blame Georgians, while they let their government get them to this end result, which themselves acted like the boy who cried wolf. For months they screamed "Georgia will attack next week", "Georgia will attack next month", finally in power to avert this figured that there was no reason to do anything. In the wolf version of the story, boy gets eaten. In our story, it's not the Ossetian government that gets "eaten", but rather the innocent people instead.

Russians care less about South Ossetian people, or any Caucasian people for that matter. All you have to do is look at the immediate North East of Georgia to see that Russians are not in this game to save innocent minorities.

We are all to be blamed for this tragedy. I am not an apologist, i just realize that this is not comparable to America's invasion of Iraq - Georgians and Ossetians will have to live next to each other for years to come, there are no seven sees separating us. Once US leaves Iraq, it will be "out of sight, out of mind". We on the other hand will still be here, and they will still be here. Centuries of intermarriages and friendships have been destroyed and all for what?

I want peace, not just ceasefire. I want people to realize that Caucasus is too small to have half a dozen conflicts in less than two decades. It's not like a family that cannot agree on things, we cannot get a divorce.

My thoughts go to those who died, but did not have to. My thoughts go those who are dying as I write this, but don't have to.


It is not finished, and I am not sure if I will finish it. I will try, but figured that as topic is current, I will just upload it as is.

Day after day it is becoming obvious that the separatists have no desire to settle the conflict - even when at the brink of the war, they refuse to have discussions. They are not even firm on their position, last three days they managed to change their decision at least twice. Meanwhile, there was more shooting this afternoon...


I am posting a new cartoon after a few weeks of inactivity. Even though it was not a vacation, let's call it that way. Things took place that I would love to comment about during that time, but I think I needed some recuperation time.

Well, one of the news these days is Tskhinvali demanding that North Ossetia be part of any talks that take place. Well, here's my take on that.

nation of thugs

I find it painful to look at immediate consequences of elections. All the "nasty" stuff that would definitely disturb the National Movement's reelection was introduced right after new parliament took oath.

We learned after elections that the building next to the city hall that in any other country would be considered a historical monument is being demolished to give way to another bank headquarters. Bank Republic does not like the "ultra modern" building they have on Ateni street any more it seems, they want to be closer to Gigi. What pisses people off even more is that according to some sources owners of the deelopment company involved are two men who happen to be fathers of MPs from the National Movement.

And, all of a sudden street vending is an offense again after four months of a break. Worst of all, police started acting like thugs. Incident that I witnessed does not take place in a democratic society.

Old woman was selling herbs on the street, while dealing with a client policeman knocks off hrebs from her hand and grabs the bag with the produce to walk off with it. As the customer shouts "do you have no shame", he shouts back "go deal with your family, or I will round you up with them". People stood and stared. People did not dare speak up during communism, and they do not dare to speak up now either.

In defense of an old woman who is forced to live on a pension that would not buy her more than bread and butter for the whole month, she is probably not even making 10 dollars a day after she pays for gas and electricity and phone and sanitation. What can profit margin on herbs be?

As policemen get paid steady 500-600 GEL salary, they start to forget what those people go through. And leave their sense of respect of elders at the last supra they visited.

Street vending is unclean and gives the city an "oriental" feel that "we" are apparently very strongly opposing. First of all, Tbilisi was never a "European" city - it has a meidan, it has a karavansarai, it has a middle eastern feel to it. Never mind European or not, when you demolish a market and force people into space that is one tenth of the original space, you will have rogues that either cannot efford expensive spots in the new market or simply cannot find any. These rogues supply to us food that is either overpriced elsewhere or cannot be located easily. I will not go to Goodwill to buy cilantro and dill.

Oh, you have to see the export grade cilantro and dill Georgia produces. It is something completely different. We just do not deserve them, you simply cannot get them, they go to Ukraine, Baltics and Eastern Europe...

Welcome to the nation of thugs!

opposition in denial

I have not actually drawn anything for couple weeks. This one is almost thee weeks old one that ran in the Georgia Today. I don't think much needs to be said about it. Opposition has been and still is childish and that's it in a nutshell.

symbol of prosperity

We officially have a symbol of prosperity, it's a four hundred year old olive tree.

A 400 year-old olive tree planted on Rustaveli Avenue

A 400 year-old olive tree has replaced a young plane tree in the center of Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi. The tree has a long history and it is a present which Georgia's Catholicos Patriarch has recieved from Italy. ''This tree is a symbol of Georgia's prosperity,'' Catholicos-Patriarch, Ilia II announced today. His Holiness blessed the olive tree and attended the process of planting today.

Winston called me a cynic when I said that the tree does not have much left to live. There are many ways that may happen, and that is not the point of the post. Just to make things clear, I have no intention of taking any part of assisting the tree's demise.

Point I am trying to make here is about the symbol itself. It is un-Georgian. We have to stop clinging to other nations' core values and making them ours. We should develop our own instead. Georgian language has a word for olive, and it's a very interesting word ზეთისხილი (zetiskhili). Literally, it means fruit of oil. But ზეთი (zeti) itself is a borrowed word and source of the borrowing is olive in Turkish. It is probably because we are not Mediterranean, and probably because preferred grease of Georgia has been ერბო (erbo), same thing that Indians call ghee, and is known in the West as clarified butter.

Why would one establish a tree that is clearly non-Georgian as a symbol of anything? Is that because we already sold every forest that bears traditionally Georgian trees, and we are forced to import symbolism? Or is it because the only way we see ourselves as a part of the European family is to have same symbols?

First we favor word ტოლერანტობა (tolerantoba) instead of already existing Georgian word შემწყნარებლობა (shemtsknarebloba), then we overlook Amirani in favor of Prometheus, now we adopt Olive tree as the symbol of prosperity. What is next?

who shall clean it up?

One of the most repulsive parts of Georgian election process is the campaigning one. In a rare interview, Vano Merabishvili, Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia declared that one of the main reasons National Movement won was because they campaigned better than others.

To me this translates into:

  • We lied the best

  • We spent most money on billboards and posters

I have nothing to say about the first one, at least for now. It's the second one that I find bothersome. I stopped questioning the source of all their money, and decided to accept that business owners donate for one reason or another.

Problem is not the posters they used, but rather how they used them. I know there are few rotten apples in every basket, and one may blame those for improperly placed posters. Yet, it is more or less systematic, and all across town, making it more widespread than not. I decided to take a few photos to document their campaigning efforts.

To start with, I find the whole poster business un-European. A nation that claims to be part of the West, both by religion and culture should have enough moral values not to destroy both private and public property for the sake of being reelected. Unfortunately, it does not hold up. After sticking posters to any usable space they could find, they have sent a cleaning crew around town. Last couple days seem to be the ones when the cleaning people went through extra effort to try and remove any markings that would hold resemblance to the party that financed those posters. It is quite depressing to see white glue and torn paper all over the city.

It seems that temporary wooden fences were not enough for them, they used street name plaques, building walls, telephone and lamp posts, anything that they could stick papers to.

In order to get their voice heard, they put their posters over other parties' posters. They even used extra strong glue, so that they would not be torn off. Maybe they were thinking ahead, and used enough glue so that in four years, they won't have to put up as many posters, a lot of posters from this time around will be still around. You might find it to be a laughing matter, but old town still has posters from four years ago here and there.

Police arrested people for stenciling "I remember November 7" on Leselidze street, yet posters that took same spots and now cannot be removed without redoing walls managed to get their doers into the Parliament. There is not freedom of expression in Georgia. You are free to express yourself, as long as you are willing to spend at least a few days incarcerated. Unless of course your expression coincides with the one of the government...

who's job is it to clean up?

who's job is it to clean up?

who's job is it to clean up?

who's job is it to clean up?

And this is their version of clean up:
their version of clean up

nothing says gutsy, like standing up to a bully

Not much to say here - Georgia asks for an apology and monetary compensation. As I expected, almost a week later, no one speaks of it. Not only that, Russians did not even bother responding to it, at least I did not see it in the breaking news section.

shooting foot, or more like chopping off whole leg

Before the news goes stale - opposition unity is already questionable. Actually, it's an eight party coalition now. How do you manage to lose a party within a few days after elections? Well, it's quite simple I guess. They suggested, and it seems that they are still actively pursuing the idea of an alternative parliament. Boycott turned out to be somewhat unpopular, majoritarian MP from on the the opposition parties refused to boycott, claiming that he has to server his electorate. At least there is one wise person in the bunch.

When asked what happened, leaders of the united opposition decided to blame voters. It is a known fact by know that some people in the opposition have pretty uncivilized ways of talking about the president, but calling voters "stupid" seems not only unfair, but also suicidal. Neither was the rephrased version cheerful - voters are apparently selfish and put their personal well-being ahead of that of the country.

What a surprise, people are selfish. I wish opposition said something new. Alas, they are drowning in the pit they decided to fill with tar themselves. They helped Imedi become popular, and Christian Democrats managed to pocket that popularity. They made November 7 happen, people pocketed 50 Lari vouchers for gas and electricity, and voted to Misha. We are back to square one. January elections gave me a hope, I thought that the Georgian politics was becoming more competitive and diverse. Surveys released prior to May 21 elections seemed to back the idea of diverse, hence strong legislative body, but reality turned out to be pretty grim.

People do not change easily, it takes generations to learn what democracy is. Unfortunately, many of those who got elected this time are the ones who managed to take advantage of unstability of the country during last decade to make money. Now, it seems that best way they found to retain the wealth is to be the ones to command the law. Georgians have to learn to leave their business interests behind when they join the legislative body, but that has yet to materialize. Most join to protect those interests, few have real motivation to help the people and the country.

single-party democracy

National Movement picked up enough votes to have the constitutional majority. Misha promised that each amendment will be talked over with all shades of opposition, but we will see that...