Local Russians react to Georgia conflict

August 13, 2008 6:33:38 PM PDT
There is a sizeable Georgian population in San Francisco's Richmond District, and deli say they're feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.

It's the perfect microcosm for an international conflict -- people from two fighting nations, sharing one business space.

"Everything is okay, we love each other," said store owner Maia Tchanturia.

Tchanturia and her husband Yakhtang Mebuke run a Georgian delicatessen. On the other side of the room there is a Russian bakery with a steady stream of Russian customers.

Occasionally, tempers do flare, but this is as fiery as the place ever gets. With the real battle so far away, most Russian customers are more moderate.

We pray to God for Georgia, yeah," said Russian customer Oxana Rudenco.

"What do Georgians want from the United States?" asked ABC7's Wayne Freedman.

"Help and friendship only," said

Maia and her husband moved to San Francisco five years ago. He was a civil engineer and she was an art critic. There have been times this week when they practically had to pry themselves from the news to get their work done.

"Russia a big problem, very big monster," said Mebuke.

"Russia is a big country and Georgia very small. And somebody must help us," said Tchanturia.

But how much help? The Georgian side of the room appreciates the humanitarian aid that arrived on Thursday. They also want more.

"I don't know, but I am thinking military help," said Mebuke

So in a store where usually a taste of Russia and Georgia remains in the palette, it included politics as well. The difference is that at the Russia-Tbilisi bakery, they fight with words instead of bullets.


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