Use of Soviet Rubles at Georgia’s Bakuriani Cableway

Soviet-era Ruble coins are being given to visitors at Georgia’s Bakuriani cableway after they pay for cable car rides, a holidaymaker revealed on Facebook.

Ana Marshania’s post went viral on Wednesday and as she says, many people contacted her who have found the same while holidaying in Bakuriani. The ski resort is one of the most beautiful in Georgia, located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level and 190 kilometers from the capital Tbilisi.

“I did not want to get upset but where before you got a paper ticket after paying GEL [for the cable car], now you get soviet rubles with the hammer and sickle, stars and the inscription ‘The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’…They have a lot of them,” Marshania’s post reads.

The Ministry of Economy responded to the information and noted that no use of Soviet Ruble has been seen at the cableways managed by their agency, the Mountain Resorts Development Company. The agency itself stated they operate only Didveli, Mitarbi and Kokhta cableways which are made by an Austrian company and their cable cars are totally automated.

“The use of the Soviet Ruble on the cables under the management of the Mountain Resorts Development Company has not been detected,” the company said, adding that the cableway mentioned by the holidaymakers is in private ownership and has nothing to do with them.

In connection with the incident, the State Security Service (SSS) is implementing the relevant procedures provided by the Georgian legislation.

“In connection with the above-mentioned fact, acting under the auspices of the State Security Service, the Freedom Charter Commission established by the law of Georgia immediately began implementing the relevant procedures provided for by the legislation,” said the State Security Service.

The agency also explained that this law, in compliance with international standards and universally recognized principles and norms, intends to: eliminate the threat of crimes against the State, and terrorism and violation of the principles of state security; ensure the effective exercise of the legislative norms of Georgia and strengthen national security in accordance with modern practices; provide preventive measures against the principles of communist totalitarian and national socialist (Nazi) ideologies; remove the symbols and names of cult buildings, memorials, monuments, bas-reliefs, inscriptions, streets, squares, villages and settlements of the communist totalitarian regime, as well as prohibit the propaganda instruments and other means of communist totalitarian and national socialist (Nazi) ideologies.

Totalitarian communist and fascist symbols are banned at the legislative level in Georgia. The Liberty Charter, adopted in 2011, bans the public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols, including statues or photos of the former Soviet leader and native Georgian, Joseph Stalin.

The law does not apply to private individuals, but it establishes that the use of Soviet totalitarian symbols cannot be used on state and local self-government buildings, squares and streets. Also, the use of these symbols is prohibited at public gatherings and public places.

Georgia was the first post-Soviet country outside of the Baltics to ban former KGB operatives and senior Communist Party officials from holding public office. They are also prohibited from serving as university deans or judges.

By Tea Mariamidze

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