National Geographic : 1992 May
Old enough to remember, young enough to hope, 87-year-old Dimitri Bostoganashvili savors the rebirth offreedom after casting his ballot last May in local elections, among Georgia's first democratic elections in 70 years. Here in the village ofZemo Machkhaani, and through out the nation of5.5 million people, long-outlawed nationalflags were pulled out of mothballs as Geor gians attempted to pick up where they left off in 1921, when three short years of independence ended at the hands of the invading Red Army. Though the Bolshe viks had promised a work ers paradise, what they delivered was a new form of Russian imperialism, hard on the heels of 117 years of autocratic rule under the tsars. Unrelated to the Slavic Russians, Georgians speak a distinct Caucasian language, written in a unique alphabet.