Dear Mr Medvedev,
The long-running crisis in Russian-Georgian relations that led to the tragedy of August 2008 and the decision to sever diplomatic ties between our countries is of deep concern to Georgian patriots. We are conscious that tension in our bilateral relations and the absence of economic, cultural and educational ties will sooner or later lead to disaster – the disaster of our peoples losing touch with each other. This is all the more so as the young generation, whose world view is being shaped by the influence of the unbridled demagogy and warlike rhetoric of irresponsible politicians, has very fuzzy notions of their country’s real history and the common historic road that our great forebears travelled together, hand in hand.
The Georgian people know and gratefully remember Russia’s great historic contribution to preserving the Georgian nation. We remember the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers who gave their lives for the return to Georgia of its historic soil, and Russia’s constructive part in building Georgia’s economy, science, education, and helping to form its national intelligentsia. This was not a one-way process. The names of thousands of Georgians, who made an invaluable contribution to developing Russia’s statehood, science, culture and arts, have been written for all time in Russia’s history. There has been no war in Russia’s history over the last 300 years, in which thousands of sons of Georgia, soldiers, officers, and generals, did not lay down their lives. During the Great Patriotic War alone Georgia, with its three million people, sent 600,000 of its sons and daughters to defend our common homeland, and 300,000 of them did not return from the battlefields.
It is our deep conviction that one of the main factors that has led to the current catastrophic state of relations between our countries is the falsification of our countries’ history, biased juggling of historical facts, and untruthful assessments of the roles played by historical figures. The widespread falsification of history aims to erase the historical memory, sever the continuity between generations, and as a result, set our fraternal peoples against each other and provoke bloody conflicts. This will be used as a background for outside forces to pursue their own geopolitical objectives. The current domestic situation in Georgia and the state of Russian-Georgian relations are the sad result of these efforts.
We do not want to allow our people to be used as a blind instrument in the hands of antinational forces, and it is in this aim that we want to revive in our people the memory of our country’s great and tragic history, and help the young generation to learn about their own people’s real past.
Motivated by this goal, we have established a public organisation, Historic Legacy, which is carrying out large-scale work to shed objective light on the most important periods in Georgian history, and correct the appraisal of historical facts distorted to suit political opportunist needs. We have already published and are preparing for publication unique historical documents – state documents, memoirs of contemporaries, biographical works – about the real situation in Georgia in the 16th-18th centuries, the history of Russian-Georgian relations, and the joint struggle of Russian and Georgian soldiers against foreign enemies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We are preparing for publication collections of biographical essays about outstanding Russians and Georgians – statesmen, military commanders, religious leaders, scientists, artists – people whose destinies embody the common historical, religious and cultural bonds that we share.
A official presentation of our organisation and its publications will take place in Tbilisi on March 27, 2009.
We are sure that our initiative will receive the understanding not only of the Georgian public but also of the general Russian public. At the same time, the benefits of our initiative would increase greatly if scholars in the Russian Federation were to undertake similar activities.
It is our hope, dear Mr Medvedev, that you will give your attention to our initiative, which will not only help to restore historical truth, but also help make the young generation aware of our common history, and pay tribute to our great forebears.
The founders and members of the Public Council of Georgian non-governmental organisation Historic Legacy:
Magali Todua, member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, doctor of history, professor
Elisbar Javelidze, member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, doctor of philology, professor
Alexander Chachia, vice president of the Georgian Academy of Ethnic and Social Relations, member of the Russian Academy of Social Sciences, doctor of political science, professor
Vakhtang Guruli, doctor of history, professor at I. Dzhavakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Merab Vachnadze, doctor of history, professor at I. Dzhavakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Father Alexy, father superior of Vezhinsky Monastery
Taras Gagnidze, chairman of non-governmental organisation For Georgian Neutrality
Teimuraz Koridze, chairman of the Public Council of non-governmental organisation Historic Legacy
Irakly Todua, co-chairman of the Georgian Union of Journalists, chief editor of Georgia and the World weekly
Shota Kvirtia, doctor of philosophy, professor, president of the Georgian Association of Graduates of Moscow State University.