Valentina, an acquaintance of mine, is a third year Moscow University student. She told me recently: ‘Whenever I or my friends and college mates hear ‘Georgia’, the reaction is nearly universally positive – food, people, culture and now democracy! The Georgians succeeded where our rulers failed”. The Kremlin may well hear more from Saakashvili – and Georgia’s growing fan-base in Russia itself.
But wait! This sounds… remarkably similar to a Facebook conversation with one Valentina Filippenko on Eggert’s wall. (She is a student at the Journalism Faculty of Moscow State University, presumably another democratic journalist in the making). Except that “food, people, culture and now democracy!” or even “nearly universally positive” (≠ “Georgia’s image becoming more and more positive”) don’t figure anywhere in her comment. This is what she actually said, in translation:
You know, I’m noticing in my “youth” circles: The connotative coloring of Georgia is becoming ever more positive – this the Kremlin and United Russia will find hard to deal with.
Now it’s more likely than not, I suppose, that Ms. Filippenko would not disagree with Eggert’s apparent amplification of what she actually said. Still, unless she further expounded on this topic to Eggert on the telephone, one has to conclude that he is guilty of the same thing that ruined Johann Hari’s career.
PS. In case Eggert deletes this:
Note also another gem, in the third section. One journalist Ramil Gataullin comments, “Saakashvili above all entered history as a killer of Russian peacekeepers.” In reply, Sergey Medvedev, a professor of Economics at the (neoliberal) School of Higher Economics replied, “Russian peacekeepers got lost in the mountains and ended up in the wrong territory…)) Konstantin, excellent commentary.”
Needless to say, it was Medvedev who got most of the Likes on Eggert’s page, not Gataullin.
Little surprises me from these people, but still, even I am taken aback by this degree of loathing for their country. They really do think it excellent that Saakashvili bombarded the barracks of their own soldiers and killed some of them. To them, Kasparov and his ilk meeting Saakashvili in solidarity immediately after the war wasn’t a cause for disenchantment; it was taking a heroic stand against the Kremlin! It’s not like I care about their views that much, they are of course entitled to them, but what’s hilarious is that these liberals genuinely can’t figure out why they are considered revolting by much of the rest of the country.