“Hear you talk of smug complacency,” cried Ashile Mikoyan, an ethnic Armenian born in Akhaltsikhe, capital of the ethnic Armenian majority province of Samtskhe-Javakheti that is nestled in the mountains south of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
“What has smug complacency got to do with anything? Tell your story!” Mikhail Pugo hollered.
Ashile Mikoyan shook his head, and then continued. “That brings to mind the other nature of our people whose smug complacency has been transformed into radical nationalism. They have this tendency of backing the nationalistic rhetoric and actions of their leaders in a blind manner, or of disapproving of their destructive policies in a mute manner. Look at our Armenia. The Russians saved us from the gruesome fate of total genocide in the hands of Osmanli Turks, but today, the Armenians are on the verge of extinction from the hands of Azeri Turks.”
“Stop accusing my Turkic-speaking kinsmen when your people collaborated with Stalin and caused the deportation of Meskhetian Turks from the province of your birth,” objected Ruslan Aliyev, a Meskhetian Turk born in Osh, in Southern Kyrgyzstan.
“You are my brother, Comrade Ruslan. My father told me how well our grandparents got along as neighbors back in the day when Samtskhe-Javakheti was known as Meskheti. As teenagers with so much testosterone in their systems and little knowledge of how to control it, my father and your father played chess together, wrestled around, adventured and even chased young girls around as if they had to make a point about their masculinity. In fact, they fought in the same unit and saved each other’s lives during the Great Patriotic War. Stalin’s decision to punish an entire people just because some of them collaborated with the Nazis should have no bearing on us poor Armenians in Georgia,” Ashile Mikoyan cried, shook his head, and then added in an emotion-choked voice, “Let’s not dwell on that past. We have a new reality now in a new country that embraces everybody without laying emphasis on the citizen’s ethnic origin, race, religion and class. We have created the most humane society in the world in our Soyuz Republic.”
“Comrade Ashile has a point,” Mikhail Pugo interjected, “Still, I’m curious. Where did the Meskhetian Turks come from?”
“I will answer that question,” Ruslan Aliyev offered, “Our people made Meskheti home following the expansion of the Ottoman Empire to that part of the Caucasus in the sixteenth century. The Turks who settled there came mostly from the Turkish regions of Ardahan, Artvin and Kars. They mixed with some of the Georgian speaking Meskhetis to form the distinct ethnic group we know today as Meskhetian Turks.”
“The plight of Meskhetian Turks is not the fault of the Armenian people,” Ashille muttered.
“It certainly is not,” Boris said in a lucid voice, cleared his throat, and then added, “Please allow me to explain what I mean. I disagree with Stalin’s methods. I hold him responsible for greatly distorting the ideas of Marx and Lenin with his notion of practicalism that deprived the ideology and the Soviet system of so many aspects of humanism. Even so, I have to admit that he was even-handed in his mad treatment of those he considered anti-Soviet. He almost cleared Byelorussia and Ukraine of Slavic-Speaking Poles; he deprived the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of about ten percent of their populations; he dealt a heavy blow to Moldovan and Romanian-Speaking Soviets; he stung Buddhist Kalmyks, Far Eastern Koreans, Volga Germans, Don Cossacks, some Western Ukrainians and even Soviet Bulgarians. Greeks, Cossacks and Armenians were not spared either. Therefore, I don’t think his deportation of Turkic-speaking Meskhetian Turks and Crimean Tatars, or the Circassian-speaking Balkars and Karachays, or even the Nakh-speaking Chechens and Ingushetians, should be viewed in any way as something different from the others. It is obvious he sent those populations to the lands east of the Ural Mountains because he needed manpower to develop the mines, agriculture, industry and infrastructure of Siberia, the Russian Far East and Central Asia.”
“Thanks, Comrade Boris! You are very fair in your judgment of events. You are wise just like Athena herself,” roared Dimitris Pontus, a Pontian Greek born in the Crimea.
“Thanks, Comrade Dimitris. The deportations constitute a tragic era of our history. With that in mind, I am advising every Union-Muzhik to make an effort to shake off the horrors of our past. We should put those bad memories behind us because we have a future to look forward to. After all, we created a humane Republic whose citizens come from groups that hated one another in the past. I draw pride from the fact that we hold hands together, work, sing, dance, eat and drink in the Soyuz Republic as Union-Muzhiks. We acknowledge the fact that we have a common destiny. Our peoples in the former Soviet Republics should embrace that concept too. Even the peoples of Africa stand to gain a lot if they follow our example by embracing the best of the humane values that we have instituted in our new country, which is a microcosm of the former Soviet Union. The West also has a lot to learn from us,” Boris said and took a deep breath.