Russia – Georgia: public diplomacy
By Vestnik Kavkaza
A press conference “Russia and Georgia: charity is the main component of public diplomacy” took place in Moscow. The non-governmental organization “The Center of Development of Humanitarian, Cultural, and Economic Cooperation - GROSS” which was founded in Moscow is aimed at establishing a foundation for diplomatic relations at state level. Participants in the event spoke about charity projects which are planned to be implemented in Georgia and Russia.
Gela Zavrashvili, initiator and Director General of GROSS
The recent change of the political regime in Georgia encouraged a new impulse in Russian-Georgian relations. At the same time, the steady process of talks and consultations doesn’t satisfy the demands of the societies of two countries. In this situation, special importance belongs to public diplomacy and its main component – charity. Prominent representatives of social, creative, and business circles of Russia and Georgia became initiators of GROSS. Unlike other non-governmental structures, GROSS doesn’t strive for any political targets, focusing on humanitarian activity. At the same time, we are not dependent on the state. Financing of GROSS is provided by the initiators. The organization plans to implement wide-scale charity programs. For instance, Russian language classes are planned to be established in Georgia and Georgian language classes – in Russia. I would like to note that in Georgia such classes have been established already. Treatment of Russian asthmatic children, ICP and musculoskeletal patients is to be provided in Georgia. Art exhibitions, festivals, and concerts are going to be organized.
Sergey Markov, member of the Public Chamber of Russia, head of the Political Studies Institute
The peoples of Russia and Georgia have always felt drawn to each other, even in the years of difficult relations. They have been brotherly peoples. So, we decided that we shouldn’t wait for big politicians or state officials to cancel this or that laws, but to move forward as the majority of our countries’ citizens want. Restoration of relations in the sphere of culture, science, education, economy and other social spheres is supported by the peoples of both Russia and Georgia. Of course we will always support complete restoration of diplomatic relations, multi-aspect contacts, a visa-free regime, and so on. At the same time, we won’t put pressure on some officials, but implement our own projects which are ready to be implemented today.
Irakly Pirtskhalava, singer
If we analyze the situation, we will see that young people have suffered most of all, because these cold relations have lasted for 10 years. The older generation remembers educational, historic, cultural ties. I remember in Soviet times that Georgian theaters, acting companies came to Russia and many Russian artistes went to Georgia to perform. And this cultural exchange has been taking place for many years. Young people of both Russia and Georgia suffered from this most of all. We should remind them how it used to be. I am very happy to see this effort. I hope that this effort will mean not only words, but also certain actions. I think that Russia misses not only Georgian wine and mineral water, but also Sukhishvili-Ramishvili, the Rustaveli Theater, Georgian popular music which is loved, despite cold relations, but people want to see artists. The same concerns Russian artists in Georgia. I am glad that many Russian stars went to Georgia in the recent period of time. It should be continued and encouraged for young people to love each, just as the older generation's representatives love each other.