The Putsch – Breakup of the Soviet Union
15 December, 2011

Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – Georgians were involved in fratricide at the great time for every former soviet republic, when they were becoming independent nations, finally free from the soviet shackles? This was just preposterous, wasn’t it?    

SM – We had zero information about the situation. There was total blackout – no newspapers, no television! And that was not even the time of the Internet. It was only in the middle of January of 1992 that we heard the news about the statement made by Gorbachev about the breakup of the Soviet Union. I personally saw the footage about lowering the Soviet flag only after several years. We just missed the whole great moment for by four days only. Had the Georgian television been up and running we could have seen the outstanding historical episodes of disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which took place on December 25 of 1991. Imagine the power of our exultation had we not started killing each other due to the rampant political discrepancies in the country. After so many years of political strife and literal bloodshed we could have enjoyed the cherished culmination – demise of the monstrous USSR! I can tell you for sure that the joy could have been tremendous enough to make even the vested political enemies embrace each other. But to my greatest chagrin, Georgians in Georgia had engaged themselves in a disgusting fratricide which would have a negative bearing on the future of Georgia for a long time to come. In Moscow, people were clearly aware that only hours were left until the great act. It is absolutely certain that the important decisions like breakup of an empire are not being made spontaneously. It was simply excluded that the leaders of the empire had no idea about its incipient demise.

GJ – Moscow had very masterfully prepared vicious provocations against Georgia, and they were well aware of possible consequences of course. Would this be correct to say?

SM – No doubt this will be fair to say! The day of the statement about the break of the Soviet Union was strictly confidential. The drowning soviet leaders needed time to plan and execute what they had conspired to do. They wanted Georgia to leave the Soviet Empire crippled, not wholesome. But if Georgia had managed to endure those four crucial days cleverly, patiently and peacefully – without having started the perilous bloodshed – we could have been, as a nation, on a totally different level today. The demising Empire wanted war in Georgia and they managed to organize and unleash it there with the help the Georgians themselves. Just imagine for a second – on the 25th of December of 1991, Gorbachev emerges with a statement about the annihilation of the Soviet Union. He says the USSR is no more! In the aftermath of that amazingly fundamental statement, nobody in Georgia would even remember any former confrontations and animosity or all those meeting, rallies and manifestations. Our people would clearly have acquired a reverted attitude towards violence in general. Any kind of carnage would have been obviated. This is why the soviet leaders were in a hurry. They did all their possible best to cajole Georgia and its population into massacre.