Dannon: “In Soviet Georgia…”

From 1973 to 1978, the Dannon yogurt company ran a series of successful commercials featuring centenarians from “Soviet Georgia“. Here is a transcript of one of the TV commercials (with captions in brackets):

In Soviet Georgia, there are two curious things about the people [Tarkuk Lasuria, age 96]: a large part of their diet is yogurt [Temur Vanacha, age 105], and a large number of them live past 100. Of course, many things affect longevity [Kasteh Tanya, age 101], and we’re not saying Dannon yogurt will help you live longer. But Dannon is a natural, wholesome food that does supply many nutrients [Shadat Marcholia, age 103]. By the way, 89-year-old Bagrat Tabagua liked Dannon so much, he ate two cups. That pleased his mother very much.

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Notes on Terminology

I’m working on some posts dealing the wars Georgia has fought in post-Soviet times, and the terminology involved in these conflicts is hotly contested. So rather than repeatedly adding disclaimers and footnotes, I’ll lay out my terminology guidelines here. (Much of this post is based on George Hewitt‘s new book Discordant Neighbours.)

  • Abkhazia
Georgian: Apkhazeti (აფხაზეთი)
Abkhaz: Apsni (Аҧсны)
Mingrelian: Saapkhazo (სააფხაზო)
Russian: Abkhaziya (Абхазия).

Also: Afxazeti, the Georgian keyboard transcription of აფხაზეთი.

afxazeti graffiti

Graffiti in Tbilisi

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Are Mingrelians Georgians?

The Mingrelians (Mingrelian: Margalepi; Georgian: Megrelebi) are a Kartvelian people who live in northwest Georgia, in the region of Mingrelia (Mingrelian: Samargalo; Georgian: Samegrelo).


Sounds innocuous, right? It’s not. The claim that Mingrelians constitute a “people” would be considered seditious by many Georgians, since it suggests that Mingrelians are not, in fact, Georgians. This, in turn, might lead one to suppose that Mingrelians ought to have their own independent state. That would be a big problem for Georgians, so they claim Mingrelians as their own.

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