Open Letter to Vladimir Putin
August 23, 2008

August 22, 2008

Georgia Today provides an open letter of Redjeb Jordania to Vladimer Putin. Son of the President, Noé Jordania, of the first democratic Georgian Republic (1918-1921), Redjeb Jordania was born in Paris after his parents were forced into exile by the invasion of Georgia by the Red Army and its incorporation in the Soviet Empire.

Redjeb studied international relations at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques and music at the Ecole Cesar Franck in Paris, and the Hochschule Fur Musik in Munich. He later came to the States, where he obtained graduate degrees from Yale and Rutgers universities. At various periods of his life Redjeb has been a professional pianist/composer, a professor of Maritime History, a boat builder/designer, a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute. For the past 25 years he is a resident of Springs and Manhattan, and frequently travels to Paris and Georgia where he retains many ties. He has three children (Virginia, Brittany and Tbilisi) and one grandson (Tbilisi).

Open Letter to Vladimir Putin

Soon after you ordered the Russian Federation attack on the Republic of Georgia the presidents of all four European Union member countries located on Russia’s borders gathered in Tbilisi to show their solidarity. This action speaks volumes in and of itself: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, together with Ukraine profoundly mistrust and fear you and your country, as well they should, considering the long history of Russian expansion and subjugation of independent neighboring nations.

To remain with the Georgian example, this invasion is but a repeat of what happened in 1921, when my father Noé Jordania was President of Georgia. Then as now our country was resolutely democratic, which was and remains anathema to the Russian totalitarian regimes. That year, breaking a non-aggression treaty signed a scant few months before, the Russian communist Red Army supported by the Ossetians then living in Georgia attacked and occupied the Georgian Republic and forcibly incorporated it into the Soviet empire – just as the tsars did in 1805 under the pretext of protecting that tiny country from the Persians and the Turks. At various times in history, all the nations bordering on Russia suffered a similar fate.

On the domestic front, with few exceptions everybody fears you, Vladimir Putin, personally, knowing full well that anyone opposing or criticizing you runs the risk of being murdered like the journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the ex-KGB operative Litvinenko, poisoned and permanently disfigured like Ukraine’s president Viktor Yushchenko, jailed like the businessman Khodorovsky and many others, or at best badly beaten or roughed up like the world chess champion Gary Kasparov and his supporters who challenged the leadership in recent elections..

The sad thing is that while individually Russians can be and often are wonderful people, as a nation they seem unable to shake their acceptance and support of autocratic, dictatorial regimes. The events in Georgia demonstrate once and for all that Russia has remained basically the same throughout the centuries, whether it is called Tsarist Empire, Soviet Union, or Russian Federation. Hopefully, the whole world will finally realize that Russia never did and still does not function according to the democratic principles of the Western world. Russia is authoritarian, to say the least, and always has been.

Vladimir Putin, your official title is now Prime Minister, morphed from President after a travesty of an election where practically nothing changed in the power structure. You may see yourself as the forceful leader of a great country, but in reality you are very simply a ruthless dictator in the lineage of Stalin, Lenin, Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, and practically all your predecessors in the thousand-year Russian history. Your country and the world deserve better.

Signed: Redjeb Jordania

Son of Noé Jordania,
President of the First Republic of Georgia, 1918-1921
August 17, 2008 (unpublished version)

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