New Publications: August-September 2015

Books

Blauvelt, T. K., & Smith, J. (Eds.). (2015). Georgia after Stalin: Nationalism and Soviet Power. Routledge.

This book explores events in Georgia in the years following Stalin’s death in March 1953, especially the demonstrations of March 1956 and their brutal suppression, in order to illuminate the tensions in Georgia between veneration of the memory of Stalin, a Georgian, together with the associated respect for the Soviet system that he had created, and growing nationalism. The book considers how not just Stalin but also his wider circle of Georgians were at the heart of the Soviet system, outlines how greatly Stalin was revered in Georgia, and charts the rise of Khrushchev and his denunciation of Stalin. It goes on to examine the different strands of the rising Georgian nationalist movements, discusses the repressive measures taken against demonstrators, and concludes by showing how the repressions transformed a situation where Georgian nationalism, the honouring of Stalin’s memory and the Soviet system were all aligned together into a situation where an increasingly assertive nationalist movement was firmly at odds with the Soviet Union.

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Book Review

Albulescu, A. M. (2015). Reassessing Security in the South Caucasus: Regional Conflicts and Transformation. European Security, 0(0), 1–2.

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Academic Articles

Aliyev, H. (2015). Examining the Use of Informal Networks by NGOs in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Journal of Civil Society, 11(3), 317–332.

To date little is known about the non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) use of informal networks, contacts and connections, as well as about the ‘informalization’ of post-communist civil society in the former Soviet Union. Research on the subject has been mostly restricted to the study of civil society organizations in Central Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Russia, leaving the use and significance of informality among the South Caucasus’s NGOs largely ignored. Drawing on qualitative in-depth elite interviews, this study examines the importance of informal networking within the NGO sectors of post-Soviet-rule Azerbaijan and Georgia. The findings of this study document that in Azerbaijan and Georgia the practices of using informal networks of relying on patron–client relations with donors and of individuals using their positions within organizations for profit-making are widespread among the NGOs included in this research.

Broers, L., Iskandaryan, A., & Minasyan, S. (2015). Introduction: The Unrecognized Politics of de facto States in the Post-Soviet space. Caucasus Survey, 0(0), 1–8.

Introducing this special issue of Caucasus Survey on the unrecognized politics of de facto states in the post-Soviet space, this article discusses some of the key problems involved in the study of these entities. It relates the origins of the articles contained in this collection and briefly introduces the main themes they deal with: the definition, representational politics, resourcing and engagement of de facto states.

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Dafflon, D. (2015). Ethnic Policies in Post-Soviet States: How Inclusive is Georgia? IICEES World Congress, 3-8 August 2015. 

Georgia is certainly one of the states of the former Soviet Union in which the national-building process is the mostcomplex. Ethnic diversity which characterizes Georgia makes it by essence a multi-ethnic state. However, thedebate on diversity and on the degree of inclusion of the different ethnic groups composing the Georgian nationremains extremely vivid in the country. It particularly concerns the Armenian community of Georgia, representingapproximately 7%.

The seizure of power by Mikheil Saakashvili in 2003 was accompanied by a more inclusive discourse on thenation, thus instilling among the representatives of national minorities the hope of better opportunities in terms ofpolitical participation and economic inclusion. Simultaneously to this new civic discourse, the authorities aimedto restore their presence on the territory inhabited by ethnic minorities through both concrete and symbolic statebuildingmeasures. Thus, the state based its integration policy on strong imposition of the state language uponrepresentatives of national minorities, hoping to strengthen their feeling of belonging to Georgia as a state.

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Kabachnik, P., Gugushvili, A., & Jishkariani, D. (2015). A Personality Cult’s Rise and Fall: Three Cities after Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” and the Stalin Monument that Never Was. Region: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, 4(2), 309–326.

Recently, in post-Soviet space, new Stalin statues have been created, and old ones have reappeared. These battles, both symbolic and material, over monuments fuel and exemplify contemporary “memory wars.” This article highlights the disparate meanings of three historical Stalin monuments that served as focal points for three major cases of mass demonstrations during Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization campaign: Tbilisi, Budapest, and Prague. Next, drawing on newly found materials from Tbilisi’s Central Committee Archive of the Communist Party of Georgia, this article discusses Bogdan Muradovich Kirakosian’s never-realized project to build a massive Stalin monument that would have overlooked Tbilisi. Last is the analysis of survey data that captures individuals’ attitudes towards Stalin for those born in Georgia before 1945 in order to surmise how such a grand monument to Stalin would have been received at the time.

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Paul, A. (2015). The EU in the South Caucasus and the Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War. The International Spectator, 50(3), 30–42.

Despite hopes that it would act as a transformative tool in the South Caucasus to strengthen democracy, stability, security and regional cooperation, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) has produced limited results, with the region more fragmented today than it was five years ago. Russia’s war against Ukraine has further exacerbated the situation, raising concerns over the extent to which South Caucasus countries can genuinely rely on the West. Today, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have different geostrategic trajectories. While Georgia has stuck to the Euro-Atlantic track, Armenia joined the Russian-led Eurasian Union in January 2015. Meanwhile Azerbaijan has the luxury of choosing not to choose. Developments in the region have demonstrated that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work and a more differentiated policy is required.

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Slade, G. (2015). Violence as Information During Prison Reform: Evidence from the Post-Soviet Region. British Journal of Criminology.

When reform occurs in prison systems, prisoner insecurity increases. One reason for this is disorganization. The disruption to informal governance structures, distributions of power and mechanisms for establishing trust causes conflicts. This paper argues that a key mechanism linking disorganization to conflict and violence is information flow. Incomplete information in interpersonal interaction marks prison settings. Informal institutions for producing certainty for both staff and prisoners emerge to overcome this. Such institutions are handicapped by reform directed at reducing informal prisoner controls. In such cases, violence becomes an information-generating activity and can substitute for reputation. The paper examines this proposition as it applies to prisoners and staff through a critical case study of radical prison reform in the South Caucasus country of post-Soviet Georgia.

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Skhirtladze, N., Javakhishvili, N., Schwartz, S. J., Beyers, W., & Luyckx, K. (2015). Identity Processes and Statuses in Post-Soviet Georgia: Exploration Processes Operate Differently. Journal of Adolescence.

When reform occurs in prison systems, prisoner insecurity increases. One reason for this is disorganization. The disruption to informal governance structures, distributions of power and mechanisms for establishing trust causes conflicts. This paper argues that a key mechanism linking disorganization to conflict and violence is information flow. Incomplete information in interpersonal interaction marks prison settings. Informal institutions for producing certainty for both staff and prisoners emerge to overcome this. Such institutions are handicapped by reform directed at reducing informal prisoner controls. In such cases, violence becomes an information-generating activity and can substitute for reputation. The paper examines this proposition as it applies to prisoners and staff through a critical case study of radical prison reform in the South Caucasus country of post-Soviet Georgia.

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Zarifian, J. (2015). U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1990s and 2000s, and the Case of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia). European journal of American studies, (Vol 10, no 2).

The foreign policy of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) shows U.S. foreign policy under a rather positive light. With consistency and continuity, they were able to implement a multidimensional realistic foreign policy, the main manifestations of which allowed the U.S. to gain, in a few years, solid political, economic, military, and diplomatic leverages. Its vital interests were not at stake in the region and, from the early 1990s onwards, it has been in the position of a potent “challenger” that worked on consolidating its position in order to be influential and powerful when and if necessary. Although it did not become the sole dominant regional power, the U.S. succeeded, mostly in the second half of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, in strongly geopolitically penetrating a region with which it previously had no contact and on which it had no major expertise.

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The EU-Georgia Association Agreement

This is a full copy of the Association Agreement signed by the European Union and Georgia in June 2014. The Association Agreement includes the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) which has significantly liberalized trade between the EU and Georgia.

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Georgia: History of Green Politics

Aim of the project was public awareness rising on political and civil green movement through research and publication of the most interesting historic chapters of green movement in independent Georgia.

Georgia: History of Green Politics (2013). Tbilisi: Heinrich Boell Foundation.

See on ge.boell.org; Introduction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Frederiksen – Young Men, Time, and Boredom in the Republic of Georgia

In the midst of societal optimism, how do young men cope with the loss of a vibrant future? Young Men, Time, and Boredom in the Republic of Georgia provides a vivid exploration of the tension between subjective and societal time and the ways these tensions create experiences of marginality among under- or unemployed young men in the Republic of Georgia.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Martin Demant Frederiksen shows how the Georgian state has attempted to make the so-called post-Soviet transition a thing of the past as it creates new ideas about the future. Yet some young men in the regional capital of Batumi do not feel that they are part of the progression these changes create. Instead, they feel marginalized both by space and time—passed over and without prospects.

This distinctive case study provides empirical evidence for a deeper understanding of contemporary societal developments and their effects on individual experiences.

Frederiksen, M. D. (2013). Young men, time, and boredom in the Republic of Georgia. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Available at Amazon.com; Chapter 1 (temple.edu) Review (Erik Aasland, American Ethnologist) (Perry Sherouse, Rezensionen)

Antony Eastmond – Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia

Medieval Georgia, in the Caucasus, produced a wealth of monuments to its rulers, of which little is known outside the former Soviet Union. This book is the first of its kind to examine the development of royal imagery in Georgia between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. Positioned between the Christian and Islamic worlds, Georgia provides an excellent case study for the investigation of issues regarding the relationship between art and power and the transmission of ideas between East and West. Byzantine, Persian, Armenian, Turkic, and local traditions are shown to have influenced the image of power promoted by the Georgian rulers, and Eastmond bases his study on fine examples ranging from high-relief stone carvings to sophisticated wall-painting cycles.

Initially, the book traces the production and interpretation of royal imagery over five centuries, from the revival of the Georgian monarchy in the ninth century to its culmination in the reign of Queen Tamar (1184–1213) on the eve of the Mongolian invasions. Eastmond highlights the ways in which the details and settings of each image of a ruler were very carefully designed to impress different audiences, allowing for the coexistence of contradictory portrayals.

Specifically, the book concentrates on the five surviving images of Queen Tamar. These portraits provide untapped evidence of the ways in which artistic traditions were transformed by the need to legitimize the accession of a woman to power. Eastmond also challenges the typically held view that the role of patronage in the functioning and development of royal imagery was centrally controlled. He proposes instead that it was manipulated by members of the court to promote both local and royal interests.

Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia introduces a rarely seen body of important works and provides a model of interpretation that can be applied to the study of royal art elsewhere in the Byzantine and Western medieval worlds. It is the first detailed English-language study of this material.

Eastmond, A. (2010). Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia. Penn State Press.

See on books.google.com, Review (Lynn Jones, The Medieval Review)