The conventional explanation for the Caucasian conflicts stresses the combination of local ancient hatreds and Moscow’s secret meddling. In this article, Georgi Derluguian argues that this explanation is both incorrect and an impediment to finding a durable, peaceful solution and provides an attempt to revisit these arguments and existing contradictory narratives from the opponents in the Abkhazia conflict.
Derluguian, G. (2000). The forgotten Abkhazia: anatomy of post-socialist ethnic war. PONARS Policy Memo, 163.
Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus is a gripping account of the developmental dynamics involved in the collapse of Soviet socialism. Fusing a narrative of human agency to his critical discussion of structural forces, Georgi M. Derluguian reconstructs from firsthand accounts the life story of Musa Shanib—who from a small town in the Caucasus grew to be a prominent leader in the Chechen revolution. In his examination of Shanib and his keen interest in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Derluguian discerns how and why this dissident intellectual became a nationalist warlord.
Exploring globalization, democratization, ethnic identity, and international terrorism, Derluguian contextualizes Shanib’s personal trajectory from de-Stalinization through the nationalist rebellions of the 1990s, to the recent rise in Islamic militancy. He masterfully reveals not only how external economic and political forces affect the former Soviet republics but how those forces are in turn shaped by the individuals, institutions, ethnicities, and social networks that make up those societies. Drawing on the work of Charles Tilly, Immanuel Wallerstein, and, of course, Bourdieu, Derluguian’s explanation of the recent ethnic wars and terrorist acts in Russia succeeds in illuminating the role of human agency in shaping history.
Derluguian, G. M. (2005). Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography. University of Chicago Press.
Author focuses on two of the many instances of “ethnic” war and peace currently in progress throughout the Caucasus. The two, in the former Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria, which are both now technically within the Republic of Georgia, seemed to best illustrate events in the boiling cauldron of Caucasian politics.
Derluguian, G. M. (1998). The tale of two Resorts: Abkhazia and Ajaria before and since the Soviet collapse. Research Series-Institute of International Studies University of California Berkeley, 261-292.
The conventional explanations of the Abkhazian independence war against the Republic of Georgia invariably dwell on the combination of local ancient hatreds and Moscow’s secret meddling. This explanation is both incorrect and politically harmful. After all, what can be done if the hatreds are so ancient, and Russia, as any state faced with similar problems, might predictably have no option but to continue ‘meddling’ in its complicated Caucasus underbelly? To reframe these inherently pessimistic assumptions, let us revisit the typical arguments or ‘facts’ one hears from the participants in the Abkhazia conflict.
Derluguian, G. (2007). Abkhazia: A Broken Paradise. Frontier Scouts and Border Crossers, 65-88.