Malkhaz Toria: Georgia discredited in Abkhazian history text, says historian





Controversial new textbooks are being distributed to secondary schools in breakaway Abkhazia, which present the past of the region in a decidedly contentious way.

"The appearance of a new textbook is not unusual during conflict situations. The book serves to discredit Georgians and totally eliminate them from the historical past of the region. The historical peaceful co-existence of Georgians and Abkhaz is totally ignored in the new textbook," Georgian historian Malkhaz Toria from the Institute of Ethnology and History of Science told The Messenger.

Toria, who has read the book, uses the treatment of the Georgian-Abkhazian war during 1992-93 as an example of the books bias. In the textbook he says the war is described as, "a war for the freedom of Abkhazia, striving against Georgian oppression." According to the Abkhazians, the result of the war was "historical justice restored." He says the textbook reads that only Georgians are to be blamed for the fact that Abkhazians were lacking independence and that Abkhazia was forcefully united into the structure of Soviet Georgia.

According to Toria, the new textbook is an attempt to artificially re-write the historical past of the region, "The fact that Georgians are totally excluded from the region's history cannot be tolerated," he says...

Another bone of contention is the Middle Ages, considered a Golden Age for both Abkhazians and Georgians. Abkhazians claim that during that period Abkhazia managed to gain control over all of Georgia. According to Abkhaz historiography, Abkhazians held the positions of leadership, enjoying supremacy over ethnic Georgians. For their part, Georgians say it was in this period that Georgia -- including Abkhazia -- was united by Georgian monarchs into a powerful state.

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