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Georgian cinemas will stop showing movies in Russian

By Temuri Kiguradze
Thursday, September 18
The biggest chain of Georgian cinemas has decided to show foreign-language movies with Georgian translations only. At present only half the films concerned are translated into Georgian, while the rest are rendered in Russian.

Russian news agency Regnum says that this is a “protest by Georgian cinemas against Russian aggression.” However, “This decision has no political background,” said Maia Sikharulidze, Public Relations Manager of Rustaveli cinema. She underlined that the policy of showing fully Georgian-translated movies had been agreed long before the conflict in South Ossetia and the entrance of Russian troops onto Georgian territory. “Those events just accelerated this process,” said Sikharulidze. She stated that she is not surprised that the Russian media is trying to connect it with anti-Russian attitudes in Georgia, and added that although most non-Georgian films used to be imported from Russia before the conflict, the largest part now come from the UK.

“I welcome this decision”, said Tamar Razmadze, a frequent visitor of the cinema. “After the war people have become irritated by everything connected with Russia,” she says. “It’s also easier for me and my friends to watch a movie in our native language.” However Lado Beridze, another film buff, is not so pleased. “The quality of Georgian translations is often very low. I personally prefer to watch a movie with a good Russian translation,” he says. But Beridze is sure the cinemas will have more visitors now: “The younger generation is not so good in the Russian language now, so I’m sure they will be glad to see films in Georgian.”

“This is not an expression of protest against the aggression, people just don’t want to look towards Russia,” said Georgian political expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze, talking about the existence among Georgians of a wish to “keep their distance” from Russia. Sakvarelidze has stated that there is no Government PR campaign to raise anti-Russian sentiments, “and one is not necessary,” he thinks.

There is still no access to several Russian TV channels and the majority of Russian information websites in Georgia. These TV channels and websites were banned on August 9. The step was described by Georgian officials as “necessary under the conditions of the information war with Russia.”