Russia Today’s Georgian Obsession

A remarkable story appeared this week in the Kremlin’s English propaganda vehicle, Russia Today. The story itself, about the theft of a jewel from the Ukrainian chess team’s baggage, is minor, but it contains an element of Freudian insight into the paranoid minds of Russia Today’s editors.

After landing, Timoshenko saw that his bag had been opened up. The cup, which is named after the famous Georgian chess player Nona Gaprindashvili, was broken and the stone had vanished.

The group carrying the cup had flown through Frankfurt on their way back to Kiev. It was in Frankfurt that they were forced to check the cup into baggage. On the previous flight from Dresden they were allowed to take it onboard as a carry-on piece.

The president of the Ukranian Chess Federation, Viktor Petrov, has already filed a report with the police.

Mikhael Kravets, Deputy director of aviation security at Boryspil Airport, said that Georgians might be involved in the theft.

“Going into the the things of our passengers is widespread among Georgians,” he said. “We’re wrestling with this problem, but defeating evil that has been accumulating for many years is difficult.”

If you are also wondering how could this theft be be blamed on Georgians, comparing this story to the Russian original reveals the slip. The word for baggage handlers at airports is “gruzchik”, while Georgians in Russian are called “gruzin.” Obviously it is the baggage handlers at the Kiev airport who are suspected of stealing the diamond, not “Georgians.”

A simple error, perhaps, but it says volumes that the editor of the story found nothing odd about accusing Georgians of baggage theft out of the blue.