Pushkin And Georgia

A reader writes:

Sadly, you quote Pushkin to express Georgian suffering.  This is like having an abuser speak for the pain of the abused.

Both he and Lermontov wrote romantically of the people of the Caucasus at the time of the Russian conquests of this area.

And true, the czarist empire did save them from Persian and Turkish slaughter. But the Russians imposed their own empire and even simple things like ancient Georgian religious chants were pushed aside in favor of Russian music until the 1990's. Pushkin wrote of the conquest of the Chechens, a particularly horrid war, where the dense forests that used to cover much of the land were hacked down tree by tree to deny the Chechens cover, an ecological disaster they have not recovered from. He celebrates these conquests, and Russians often quote him to express their love for that area. But the conquered see it totally differently.

And did not these Chechens try to separate from Russia, just as the Ossetians and Abhaz now claim from Georgia, just a few years ago and were met by bombings worse than WW2 ? And this was met by silence from the world. Interestingly Shevchenko, the Ukrainian national poet, persecuted by the Czars, wrote from the viewpoint of the Chechens. So would it not have been better to quote a Georgian poet  to express Georgian misery at the hands of Russia?

Probably, yes. But the Pushkin was beautiful.