Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Puppet Master

This was my first politically themed artwork ever. I hoped it would be the last, since I never thought it to be "my thing", but many people told me not to stop because I was good at it. It's not for me to judge, but I liked the idea of making a whole series of Russian-themed political artwork, with some surrealistic feel to it.

I made "The Puppet Master" a few days after the bombings stopped. In the center you see Vladimir Putin, the Grand Puppet Master, the Great Conspirer and the Father of the Modern Russian Democracy. On the left there is Sergey Bagapsh, the "president" of an "independent" Abkhazia with a Russian name and, apparently, a Russian passport in his pocket (metaphorically, since the puppets usually don't have pockets).
On the right you can see Eduard Kokoity, the "president" of so-called "South Ossetia", who happens to call himself a Russian citizen, which is quite strange for a "president of a sovereign state", to say the least.

Between them you can see the Roki tunnel, drilled through the Caucasus by Eduard Shevardnadze, when he was the Head Secretary of the Supreme Counsel of the Georgian SSR. It never had any significant economic value, since it didn't feature a railway road. But it served as a peephole for the Big Brother. Also, it connected the two autonomous republics -- North Ossetia (in Russia) and South Ossetia (in Georgia). Finally Ossetians were able to actually meet each other after the centuries of cruel isolation by Mother Nature, who decided to raise an impassable mountain range right in the middle of their Ancient Ossetian Kingdom.

Forgive my sarcasm, but it's really hitting my boiling point, when someone regards Samachablo, a historical province in the very heart of Georgia, as something not Georgian. The mere fact that the Ossetians heavily populated the region under the rule of the Russian Empire cannot be used as an excuse for building an independent statehood. The region was never truly Ossetian. Both people lived there as one, forming entirely different sort of ethnic background, a mix of Georgian and Ossetian. It can be compared to a checkerboard, where the black and white squares represent Georgian and Ossetian villages side by side. A mix of historical Georgian roots and blood with newly come Ossetian culture and blood -- that's what the region was. I say was, because today Ossetian and Russian troops are cleansing the region from any signs of Georgian presence. The houses which survived Russian bombings were burned down later for only one purpose -- so that the Georgian population had NO PLACE TO RETURN.

Now back to the Roki tunnel. Since South-Ossetian Autonomous Region proclaimed so-called "independence" (so-called because it's no independence when you want to leave a country just to become a part of another country) from Georgia in early 1990's, the tunnel became the main route of supply for the separatists. Smuggled goods, weapons, you name it. Despite the restrictions and embargoes placed by the OSCE, Russian government never stopped supporting the separatist regimes both in Abkhazia and "South Ossetia", effectively preventing any possibility of a peaceful resolution. Russia could simply say "no" to the separatists, leaving them no choice but to cooperate with Georgian authorities, but instead Russia encouraged them in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY.

Why? Because it's been always the motto of the Old Russian Empire, then the Soviet Empire and finally the New Russian Empire -- "Divide and Rule". How can you force a strong, united Georgia to walk your path? You can't. But fortunately for Russia, Georgia had its territorial problems (time-bombs placed first by Russian Tsars, then upgraded by Joseph Stalin) which could be effectively used as a means for manipulation and bargaining. That's why the Russian government massively supplied the breakaway regions with Russian passports -- to be able to come to their "protection" later. The "peace enforcement operation" which took place in August 2008 has been staged and rehearsed long before the Russian troops actually invaded Georgian soil.

Today we see the results. Tanks poured in through the Roki tunnel. Russian military bases deployed on Georgian soil. And the biggest political mistake of the Russian government in decades -- the recognition of Abkhazia and "South Ossetia" as independent states.


Post a Comment