Lazy, a rather large people, akin to the modern Megrels and Svans, the indigenous people of present-day western Georgia, living mainly in Turkey, professing Islam and practically merged with the Turks, retaining, however, the memory of their roots, reminded of themselves.
The leaders of most public organizations (sites), in one way or another, representing this people, signed an open letter to the leadership of Georgia, stating that although some kind of relationship between Eastern Georgians (Kartvels) and Western Georgians (Laz, Megrel and Svans) is indisputable, nevertheless , talking about the Georgians as a single nation is impossible. For there are more differences between them than between the Germans, the Swedes and the English who are members of the German language family, or Bulgarians, Czechs and Russians who are part of the Slavic language family. Therefore, it is wrong to drive Megrel and Svan into the cartwheel, as well as to declare the Lazy "the foreign part of the Kartvelian ethnic group" The authors of the letter are not only protesting, but also demanding from Tbilisi permission for cultural autonomy for the Megrillians, the revival of their traditions, education in the schools in their native language, "national media" and so on.
On this subject, there was already a conversation almost three years ago ...
It was true, then, in the context of Ukraine, but the conversation was very thorough and interesting, and the Georgian opponents very harshly criticized me for raising this topic, arguing that there was no problem. Meanwhile, the problem, as it turned out, is there, and today the same Georgian bloggers are discussing it more than seriously.
In fact, the peoples, of course, are different. To make it clearer, I will try to explain with a "family" example. Lazy, Mingrelian and Svans, - Egre-Chansky family (in ancient times, collectively, "Kolkhus"), - like brothers, though from different mothers, such as Great Russians and Little Russians, but the Kartvels (in ancient times, generally, " ivers ") they are cousins or even second cousins, sort of like the same Great Russians with Poles or Bulgarians. Awareness of some kind of relationship is definitely there, and political, by the way, also, because it happened to live in one household, but the differences never disappeared anywhere. And they left at the first opportunity, and kept the tobacco apart, and so on. In fact, it was only in the 19 century when the local intelligentsia, imitating the European, began to "nationally awaken" about the "united Georgian people" based on the cartwheel.
Why, ask, based on exactly the cartwheat? A very simple. Tiflis was the seat of the governor and the location of the district headquarters, that is, the capital and center of the entire spiritual life of Transcaucasia, and there, unlike Kutaisi (not to mention the outback), the backwater, the intelligentsia, which is equal to the example of the older ones, developed in full, considering it to be a cultural the sample, and all the rest as lagging, subject to the cultivation and adjustment of the standard. Neither megrels nor Svans were the secondary ones (no one had long been under the Turks) nobody declared, on the contrary, the door to politics and culture was wide open, and anywhere, but under one condition: shake the ashes from the feet provincialism ", to speak as it should and recognize the general vector:" one nation, one language, one, - God willing, - the state ". What was done by intellectuals from the provinces, and everything Megrelian (Svan), by default, left a “parochial, common folk, sub-ethnic”.
And on that stood. And, interestingly, the final “green light” and full support for the creation of a unified Georgian people, called “Kartvels”, was given by the Soviet government. Mingrelian intellectuals of the "second generation", who did not soar in the heights and also dreamed of "nationally awakening" the masses in the field, began to write textbooks of the Megrelian language, publish newspapers, stage plays, and then all this was abruptly stopped and weathered out.
The official statement read as follows: only subethnos, and official practice meant the crudest suppression, and the so-called. the "Mingrelian affair" at the end of the Stalin era, when people with big stars and merits went under the ax, only suspected of intending to "split the single Georgian national self-consciousness", an example. And after 1991, there’s nothing to talk about. Under Gamsakhurdia (megrel purest), and under Saakashvili (mother megrel), any inscriptions on this topic were considered seditious at the level of almost state treason provoked, naturally, by Russia. Although just Russia during the confrontation just this very promising card from its sleeve did not reach.
And trouble came, from where it was not expected. Manholes began to stir, and if someone says that without the knowledge or even the initiative of the Turkish authorities, I will allow myself to doubt. If earlier, during the time of developed ataturkism, which assumed that all Muslims of Turkey were automatically Turks, and those who were disagreeing who were scheming, they were quieter than a mouse, Turks out loud, in order to avoid complications, and now, when they rule, neo-Ottomanism allows kind and loyal Muslims (even Kurds) remember the roots, and that “national awakening” naturally began. Of course, in the most loyal forms, but with an exit and in political reasonings.
There was once a noble and powerful egro-Chansk people, and then disaster struck: evil distant relatives came to the enemy (Russian) convoy, crushed Megrelia and tortured, forcibly merging the unfortunate Megrels and Svans. And only lazam, who lived to the south, were lucky to hide under the reliable roof of mother-Turkey, where they now live happily and freely. And the most time, they say, is time to think about restoring the former unity, having helped the brothers in their liberation from the Georgian yoke (good, the Russians have already left), so that the brothers could self-determine how to live. Although a separate independent state, the union of Ankara and protected by it, at least, which is even better, is part of Turkey, along with Lazy, who do not need any independence, because Turkey is a country for all who live there, and not just for the Turks, and in general the most ideal ideal that you can imagine.
In principle, everything is correct. The doctrine of neo-Ottomanism, developed by Dr. Dautoglu, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, nobody hides her, on the contrary, it is publicly voiced, and moreover, it is far from official, but extremely popular among the masses, in one form or another, the return of "temporarily lost zones of traditional influence." According to the principle, a stranger (like Tbilisi) is not necessary, but one’s own sooner or later, but we will take it away. From the still Ukrainian Crimea to the northern coast of Syria and Iraqi Kirkuk. And not necessarily by force weapons, this is just the last. And what's more, not very desirable. Or even completely undesirable. Ideally, they themselves want and ask.
And Colchis, Megrelia, like Adzharia (the former pashalyk), like Abkhazia (the former vassal), from which side you look, it is the “lost zone of influence” that is, and besides, its financing goes residual principle. So, if you invest in the project "Megrelian Awakening" a due amount of money and deploy good-quality "people's diplomacy" with real information support, the apple will mature enough. Especially since during the reign of Mr. Saakashvili, who made the confrontation with Russia his modus vivendi, and before Ankara frankly frustrated, - as they say, at the suggestion of an extremely Turkophile-minded mother, who actively lobbied this matter, - Turkey’s position in western Georgia strengthened more than. So much so that Batumi, with its cherished pipe finish, according to some experts, is economically already so Turkish a city that its presence on some maps on the southern side of the Turkish-Georgian border practically reflects reality, and this is another part of the legacy left for now even the president of Georgia's successors.
Will the new authorities of Georgia find the answer to this difficult challenge?
Will they be able to pass between Scylla and Charybdis, without letting Mingrelian separatism flare up seriously, but at the same time without entering into open confrontation with Ankara?
Where, from whom and under what conditions should they seek support, if separatism becomes a fact, and Turkey goes all in?
Is Russia aware of the danger of turning the Black Sea into an "Ottoman lake" and is it aware of the possibility of a fan of opportunities that this situation opens up if it is not neglected?
All these questions will be answered by time, and there is no certainty that it’s too remote.