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Georgians insulted by government’s anti-Soviet propaganda

A series of anti-Soviet cartoons have appeared in Georgian newspapers - the latest move in a campaign launched by President Saakashvili.

A number of Soviet monuments have already been dismantled across the country, and schoolchildren have been obliged to watch a documentary likening the USSR to Nazi Germany.

The Georgian government is leading an anti-Soviet campaign.

But both the timing and methods of implementation have led many to question its real motives.

“It’s not just anti-Soviet propaganda, but anti-Russian,” says historian Nana Japaridze.

“Those conducting this campaign are trying to put Russia on a par with the Soviet Union.”

It has been two decades since Georgian independence, and two years since Georgia attacked South Ossetia provoking an armed conflict with Russia.

A history of tense relations and those recent events are thought likely to be having a bearing on what is happening now.

However, many Georgians – particularly the older generation – hold positive memories of the Soviet era.

Anguli Jibladze worked as a police officer in the Soviet Union and believes “law and order was much better in the Soviet time than today”.

For people like Anguli the destruction of monuments dedicated to Soviet soldiers – many of whom were themselves Georgian – is particularly inflammatory.

They have had to sit by and watch as their memories of the past are reduced to rubble.

“Why do you think they have dismantled these monuments? They want us to forget our history. But we should never forget,” Anguli says.

The Georgian government is known for its provocative stance towards Russia but for some the controversial campaign techniques are perhaps a step too far.

Whilst a strong emphasis on the negative aspects of the Soviet period might well suit the present political agenda, not everyone inside Georgia is happy with their government’s actions.