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Open letter to Andrei (Andron) Konchalovsky

Wednesday, August 27
(Andrei (born Andron) Konchalovsky is a leading Russian film director. He has directed several films in the U.S.A. including Runaway Train and The Odyssey. His film, House of Fools (2003) won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival.)

Keti Dolidze is a Georgian film and theatre director. She is the founder and director of the annual Gift Festival held in Tbilisi.


Our good friendship, it seems to me, allows me to turn to you, for I have always thought that you are the man who talks about world civilization, makes wonderful films about it and speaks through your film “House of Fools” about the horrors of the Chechnya war, applied for French citizenship during the heyday of Communism and the KGB, then returned to his homeland (only this time as a French citizen) and once again left Russia during the putsch of 1991, because he considered that Communist fascism was returning once again.

I would really like to know to whom exactly I am addressing this letter: to the son of Sergei Mikhalkov, who twice composed the words to the anthem of the Soviet Union and who created such wonderful children’s poetry or to Konchalovsky, the grandson of the great Russian artists Surikov and Konchalovsky?

The bitter history of how our fellow Christian nation, Russia, and her exarches mercilessly painted over and defaced priceless frescoes of ancient Georgian churches and deprived the church of its autonomy was never in any of your films on world civilization. The bitter past covered our sad common history with a thick dark cloud.

Our countries were friends and we thought that this was reciprocal. I speak here only of that part of the Russian nation which is able to analyze events and every once in a while is ashamed of the deeds of its leaders.

Who could imagine that in the eighth year of the twenty-first century such hatred, the desire to subjugate, crush and abase would once again be resurrected from the hell-hole of the KGB?

The Russian people have swallowed everything: the horrible death of the Kursk submarine crew, Beslan, Chechnya… the list is too long.

For Russia, and not only for her, Georgia has always been the key to the Caucasus region. But for Russia, this key has always been lost. The highest measure of cynicism is that Russia is the guarantor of stability in the Caucasus. Russian generals from time immemorial have dreamed of “helping” all these “persons of Caucasian nationality” to keep killing one another and destroying each other, so that not a single living soul would survive.

Yes, Andron, it is immoral to burn cities and towns, without any sense of shame to break into the homes of strangers, rob, rape, maraud, forcibly distribute Russian passports and then threaten the entire world with annihilation in the name of saving and defending its citizens.

You can even successfully use this logic to defend the large portion of the Russian population which has run off in all directions, which has settled in various countries of the world, and which dreams of exchanging their Russian passports for any foreign one…

For how long will the Russian boot mean tragedy for the whole world?

May God forgive me for thinking this about an entire nation. I have so many friends, so many kind and beloved Russian friends who are with us on this earth and many who no longer are.

I am disturbed and shocked at your silence, the silence of the majority of you.

I understand that “silence is golden”, but what is the price of this gold, how many Georgian, Chechen, Ossetian, Ingush lives can it cost?

God sees all and his punishment always comes.

Why do people not think of eternity?

I read these disgusting articles in the Russian press about how we, the Georgians, abuse the minorities?

Various warriors, traitors to their own nation and mercenary troops are a horrid camouflage for the Russian army

But then, the Russian soldiers, while they are setting fire to national forest treasures and fruit orchards are probably eating these very fruits of nature.

The Mongols and the Tatar hordes were not able to bring our small nation to its knees; it is impossible to destroy our spirit.

We do not run from our country and do not seek foreign citizenships. We shall not leave Georgia. Tell that to your two Presidents, for whom you created gala inauguration ceremonies.

You are a great director and the procession of the two Presidents (Putin and Medvedev) with shots of the cupolas of the Kremlin cathedrals from above and below was quite impressive, underscoring once again the “greatness of Russia”, but greatness must be in the deeds and the hearts of people.

I feel sorry for many kind and just people in your country.

It is painful for me to write this letter, and I am also sorry, because together we went through the horrors of collectivization, the Gulag and the bloody basements of the KGB.

And together we conquered fascism. (Translator’s note: Georgia had the highest percentage of casualties in the entire Soviet Union.)

And we surely will defend our freedom and our land…

In the now destroyed ancient city of Gori, the Russian military left only one monument untouched, a monument which is personally odious to me, the monument to Stalin, for he is still “their Generalissimus”. This is the fault of this monster who, with his own hands along with that other monster, Lenin, created these “autonomies” – delayed-action bombs.

It is a pity that the Russian bombs which with such ferocity destroyed the city and its people, spared his stone personification.

Ghosts appear at night, but night always ends and the day appears…

My homeland is sunny, it is worthy of life.

And this will be.


Keti Dolidze
Film and theatre director
Leader of the International White Scarf Movement
Tbilisi, August 19, 2008. On the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ.

P.S. I am interested in knowing when Russia will grant independence to Chechnya.

Note: To date, this letter remains unanswered.