Tbilisi, June 12, 2011
|The Church of St. Alexander Nevsky, Tbilisi|
As head of the youth movement, George Apkhaidze, said, this was the first such gesture made, the aim of which is to confirm that Russians and Georgians live together peacefully in Georgia.
"Through this gesture, we would like to show Russia that there are people living in Georgia of Russian nationality, who are not discriminated against in any way, as opposed to the Georgians living in Russia. As you know, there have been many Georgians killed lately in Russia for ethnic reasons," said Apkhaidze.
There are currently over a million estimated Georgians living in Russia, some of whom have experienced harassment since the war in Ossetia. Although there are mixed feelings about the conflict amongst the Georgian diaspora in Russia, very many believe that Russia has in many ways always been historically much closer to Georgia than America or other Western powers have, and that the current tensions will eventually pass. To quote the well-known Georgian sculptor living in Moscow, Zurab Tsereteli, the conflict is like a lovers' tiff. "Even if you really love your wife, you'll still have to take a break sometimes," Mr Tsereteli told a Russian newspaper. "Sometimes you need to take a break from love, and that's what's happening now. But tomorrow the romance will start again, and it will be passionate!" (from The Independent).
Apkhaidze also noted that the group plans to make these charitable gestures permanent and more widespread.