The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
ETHNIC FURY IN THE CAUCASUS:
SORTING IT OUT
The Caucasus, as usual, is aflame, and we are in danger of forgetting about this little mountainous region in our absorption with Bosnia and Somalia. I dare say that there are more ethnic nationalities per square inch there than any other place in the world, and, having learned about each other and rubbed elbows for many centuries, they are all out to cut each other's throats. World peace through understanding? Hah!
We all know about the fierce Armenian-Azeri struggle, with the Armenian stronghold of Nagorno (Mountain)-Karabakh locked as an enclave within Azerbaijan. So let us skip over that one.
Let us start by focusing on the Western Establishment's favorite Man-in-the-Caucasus, the incredibly beloved (in the U.S., that is) Georgian, Eduard Shevardnadze.
Shevardnadze, once Gorby's right-hand man as foreign minister, charmed his way into the hearts of the U.S. media and diplomatic corps, his greatest asset being the fact that he had converted from Communism to Social Democracy. How much better could he be? After Gorby was booted out, "Shevy" went back to take control of Georgia, by engineering the ouster of Georgian strongman Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
Gamsakhurdia's sin was to be elected as head of Georgia as a nationalist, and then to establish a dictatorship of himself and his family ("Gamsakhurdian socialism") over the country. Shevy then led a "democratic" coup d' etat that ousted Zviad, who retreated to his homeland and stronghold in the west of Georgia to carry on resistance and guerrilla warfare against the Shevy regime.
Enter the heroic and much-persecuted Abkhazians. Abkhazia is an autonomous republic within the northwest of the republic of Georgia. The Abkhazians are particularly exercised by the fact that they, the Abkhazians, are not masters even in their own republic, where they constitute only 18 percent of the sub-country of Abkhazia, the rest being such foreigners as the Georgians and other ethnic groups in the region.
The Abkhazians took advantage of the turmoil, and rose up against Georgian tyranny, capturing the main Abkhazian city. Shevardnadze typically forgot about his own professed devotion to ethnic national freedom, and sent an army to put down the Abkhazians, under the flimsy pretext that these were only pseudo-Abkhazians fronting for the dread Gamsakhurdia, whose region is only a few miles southward on the west coast of Georgia.
In the meanwhile, the Georgians were also suppressing another sub-nationality on their north-central border, the South Ossetians. The South Ossetians are spending their lives yearning to break away from their Georgian oppressors, and to join their brethren across the border in North Ossetia. The two halves of the Ossetian territory were arbitrarily separated by Stalin and dumped into different republics, in a typical Stalinist ploy to split and wreck peoples who were insufficiently Stalinist.
Meanwhile, on the northern border, the North Ossetians are cheek-by-jowl with another autonomous sub-republic within the Russian Federated Republic, Chechen-Ingushia. In my ignorance I had thought that this had always been the name of the region, but it turns out that Stalin again! Chad punished both the unruly Chechens and the Ingush by forcing them to merge into one sub-republic.
Now it turns out that the Ingush, in the western half of Chechen-Ingushia, had been forced to hand a chunk of their land to North Ossetia, and the Ossetians are showing no signs of giving it up. In the meanwhile, the Chechens complain that they had been shoved under the tyranny of the Ingush by Stalin's actions.
So: to sum up the goals for ethnic justice in the Caucasus:
Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenian.
Abkhazia for the Abkhazians; Georgians Out!
Ossetia: One Land, One People, One Nation!
But: The North Ossetians must give the Ingush back their land,
And: the Ingushis must allow the Chechens out from under
OK, got it straight? Now all we need is for the United States to send about 500,000 troops to the Caucasus under UN direction, of course and in about twenty years we should be able to straighten it all out.
Previous Page * Next Page
Table of Contents