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Shota Arveladze recalls when Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Georgia in 2008 and says ‘it’s still very tense’ back home

WHEN the Russian tank rolled across the Ukrainian border on Thursday, it brought back painful memories for Hull boss Shota Arveladze.

As for his homeland, Georgia was also attacked by Vladimir Putin’s army in 2008 and they still occupy parts of the country today.

Hull owner Shota Arveladze has painful memories of when Russia invaded Ukraine

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Hull owner Shota Arveladze has painful memories of when Russia invaded Ukraine
Russian tanks entered Georgia and occupied parts of the country in 2008

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Russian tanks entered Georgia and occupied parts of the country in 2008

When Putin sent his troops this weekfalsely claiming that they were there to help the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and fight the fascism of Ukraine, it bears striking similarities to the invasion of Georgia.

Back then, Russian autocrats claimed to be helping two other self-proclaimed but not widely recognized republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Arveladze is a football legend in his hometown and was voted their greatest player – winning 61 caps and scoring 26 goals as well as starting six games for Georgia proudly with with twin brother Archil and brother Revas.

And he told SunSport: “Even today, being in Georgia is stressful and I have to send my best wishes to all my Ukrainian friends. It’s a country that we love.

“Now is Russia to stop fighting, drop bombs and wage a war that has brought death and destruction to families whose parents are crying over the loss of their children.

“There has been a lot of conflict in Georgia since it became an independent country back in 1991 and now it is happening in Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, our countries and others around the Soviet bloc are still struggling and sadly no one can do much of that.

“It is painful and difficult to see all of this. We should not go to war in any part of the world.”

It is feared that Putin’s long-term goal is to restore a Soviet-style empire, but Arveladze enthusiastically opposes a return to those days under communist rule in Moscow.

Arveladze grew up in the Georgian capital Tbilisi when the country was part of the former Soviet Union with parents Justin and Tamara, both doctors and brothers.

He said: “Why do we have to go back to something that is not as good as today? This is a sensitive topic for me as I am proud of a country with such a long history.

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, our independence gave us our own identity.

“We read a lot of books about the first and second centuries in Georgia and Christianity was accepted in the early fourth century. We have churches from the third, fourth and fifth centuries.

“Also, Georgian is one of the oldest languages ​​in the world. It has its own alphabet and is completely unique.

Shota Arveladze (centre) with brothers Revas and Archil in Dinamo

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Shota Arveladze (centre) with brothers Revas and Archil in Dinamo
The conflict of 2008 brought suffering to Georgia

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The conflict of 2008 brought suffering to Georgia

“We have had so many famous painters, musicians and even Olympic champions from such a small country.

“In addition, Georgia was also one of the first countries to produce wine 8,000 years ago. We have 55 different varieties – while the French have only nine! We even make great cheese and bread.”

Arveladze remembers how the Georgian children were shielded from the reality of Soviet rule.

He said: “When you were a kid, you had good times – you go to the mountains, you go to the coast and everything looks perfect but then when you wake up at 15-16 and you know that it’s not as smooth as it was when you were a kid. ”

But Hull’s boss remembers a childhood dominated by football.

He said: “My parents came home with a ball one day – and who would have thought that it would make us professional footballers.

Shota Arveladze has happy memories of his childhood

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Shota Arveladze has happy memories of his childhood

“We used to play at home and break windows and glass. But then we’re smart enough to move the glasses and other things around to prevent them from getting damaged but not smart enough to put it all back.

“So our mother would come home and ask, ‘Why is this glass here and not where it is? What did you do Play football?”

“We are the children of doctors so we cannot expect us to go down the football path.

“I am very grateful to our parents for giving us as much freedom as possible when they returned to a country at that time which was difficult.

“They gave us a good education, a good school, and they didn’t stop us from pursuing something we love rather than push us to become lawyers, doctors or whatever. “.

Arveladze saw a live game for the first time at the age of 6 when Dinamo Tbilisi knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League in 1979.

Shota Arveladze against England for Georgia as Gareth Southgate (6) watches

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Shota Arveladze against England for Georgia as Gareth Southgate (6) watches

The Hull boss said: “We won 3-0 in the second leg to win 4-2 on aggregate. It was a great memory playing against one of the best teams in Europe.

“Then, in 1981, we knocked West Ham out of the Champions League on our way to winning the trophy!”

Arveladze went on to play for Dinamo himself – winning four league and cup titles in a row – before moving to Trabzonspor, Ajax, Rangers, AZ and playing the last game of his glittering career at the Bernabeu for Levante against Levante. Real Madrid.

After playing for Louis Van Gaal at AZ, Arveladze returned to work as an assistant to the Dutchman in his first stint in charge of the team.

“Louis is clearer than anyone I’ve met before,” he said. He can express something in great detail but in a very understandable way.”

Shota Arveladze proudly represents his country

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Shota Arveladze proudly represents his country
Shota Arveladze was Louis Van Gaal's No. 2 at AZ

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Shota Arveladze was Louis Van Gaal’s No. 2 at AZ

The Georgian – who also supported Ronald Koeman at AZ – went on to manage Turkish clubs Kayserispor, Kasimpasa, Trabzonspor, Israeli giants Maccabi Tel Aviv and Pakhtakor Tashkent in Uzebekistan, where he won 5 trophies.

He’s now at Hull a month after being appointed by the club’s new Turkish owner, Acun Ilicali – and he can be without a doubt the Championship’s relentlessness with a day trip Today comes Peterborough his eighth game.

Ironically, he turned against the man he replaced, Grant McCann, who officially took over the Posh power on Thursday.

Arveladze said: “I love English football. The atmosphere in the stadium, the venue, the fans – it’s everything anyone could wish for.

“The game came too soon. You can forget the last match as quickly as possible and keep coming back. Of course, it’s not good to lose but it makes the challenge bigger and gives more incentive to succeed. ”

And as the Russian terrier continues to march menacingly into a sovereign European nation, Arveladze has one final message: “Let’s play football and not fight. Instead of bringing suffering to people, let’s bring joy. The world would be a much better place. “

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/17774972/shota-arveladze-putin-russia-ukraine-georgia-invasion/ Shota Arveladze recalls when Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Georgia in 2008 and says ‘it’s still very tense’ back home

Ashley

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