In the western press, Soviet Georgia had been famous for its football team Dynamo Tblissi, whose name journalists famed themselves on pronouncing (“TB” is difficult to pronounce because none of the western European languages has this combination), because its residents lived to be 120 years old through eating garlic and drinking red wine and more recently, because of the popular Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Some years after Shevardnadze gained power in Georgia, the Western press has been reporting less and less news about this republic. After initial euphoria, in western Europe, that Georgia would gain from Shevardnazde’s leadership, the euphoria turned to silence and now tears as it is reported that the capital city only has a few hours of electric energy per day and many hours of the countryside do not have any electric power at all. That famous smile of this artful fox as he travelled the world shaking hands with the world’s leaders, promising a new era of diplomacy in public as at the same time he betrayed Mikhail Gorbachлv in private, must at this moment in time be rather thin. There are reports that the population is ready to revolt, demanding the standard of living they enjoyed before the rise of Shevardnadze to power. Instead of the many benefits they were promised, the people of Georgia have apparently lost their comfortable lifestyle of the Soviet era and now have to fight to survive. Shevardnazde tries to resist by fomenting fears of a recurrence of the two civil wars which followed his rise to power. As his people revolt on the streets of the capital, all that we read in western Europe ten years ago can be torn up and discarded to the trash bin as being utter nonsense. Another opportunist fights for his political life, but for the “old fox”, the writing is on the wall. Foxes are predators and will do anything to survive … until one day, they play their final trick, too clever for their own good, and are trapped by the hunter which is their own slyness and treason.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey,, Lisbon

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