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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boney M to Rock the South Ossetian House

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Ra-Ra-Rasputin! Russia's greatest love machine!" These are not exactly the kind of lyrics you might expect the Georgian government to consider appropriate as part of its struggle to win back control of the tiny pro-Russian separatist region of South Ossetia. Nevertheless, informed sources insist that those flamboyant disco-era swingers, Boney M, are on their way to the Georgian-controlled sector of this conflict zone this month.

Boney M will perform in a rural village in volatile South Ossetia. Not a sentence I thought I would ever write, even amid the everyday surrealism of life in the Caucasus. But maybe someone here thought that a sweet blast of "Sunny," not to mention the deathless "Daddy Cool," would help convince the separatists that Georgia has the best tunes.

This is not the first time, however, that the Georgian authorities have invoked the alchemical power of disco to win hearts and minds. Earlier this year, President Mikheil Saakashvili announced that a disco would be constructed in the South Ossetian village of Tamarasheni so Georgian and Ossetian youths could lay down their weapons and rave together in peace and loving harmony -- one nation under a groove. Of course, he didn't use these words exactly, but now the place is built and the veteran crooners of Boney M are coming. Misha has delivered -- and in style.

The Georgian protest campaign aimed at ousting the South Ossetian separatist leader, Eduard Kokoity, has also been using pop music to rally the faithful. Its anthem "Kokoity, Farewell!" is a funky mix of Georgian and Ossetian rappers and traditional singers. When they launched the campaign, they pumped up the volume high enough to unnerve the separatist strongman just across the de facto border. Or so they say.

The pop propagandists haven't ignored Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, either. A rock video clip that gets serious play here shows smiley-faced Georgians waving national flags as they head off to Abkhazia in trains, boats, old Ladas and even planes. It's something of a wishful fantasy, considering the antipathy still felt toward Georgians in parts of Abkhazia that remains scarred by the civil war of the '90s. But it's in perfect harmony with the government's efforts to make people believe that regaining control over the rebel regions is possible, despite the bloodshed and enmity of the past.

And so back to the main event -- the arrival of Boney M. The cultural triumph would be complete if Misha were there to see them rock the South Ossetian house, perhaps wearing a Travolta-style white suit out on the dance floor with the strobe lights flashing and the bass line pumping. Daddy Cool, incarnate.

Matthew Collin is a journalist in Tbilisi.