Echoes of “Russian-Georgian War” in August 2008: Memory Politics in Current Georgia

A Presentation by Malkhaz Toria

Thursday, December 8th at
8:00 p.m.

6 E 16th Street, Room 1101 (11th floor)

Bringing back the lost, historical memory became one of the more important goals of the Georgian government after the Rose Revolution, in 2003. Georgia’s new elites are trying to destroy mental bridges, between the Soviet past and the new, post-Revolution era. This requires re-claiming the past from the framework imposed by the former imperial core and creating, or reviving, a national historical narrative. Especially, the Soviet/Russian occupation issue became a central element in the state’s official presentation of Georgia’s historical struggle for freedom against oppression. Providing historical analogies between Russia’s invasion in Georgia in 1921 and the August war in 2008 is a key constitutive element of the new foundation narrative. The establishment of a Fact Finding Commission on Historical Truth, creating new sites of memory (including the destruction of old sites), the implementation of a new national curriculum in a history teaching and other state sponsored memory projects were designed to reconstruct the true, history of the Soviet/Russian occupation. In the context of serious security challenges, new memory projects aim to strengthen national and social cohesion and project a symbolic transformation or rebirth of Georgian nation to the rest of the world.

Malkhaz Toria is Assistant Professor at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at The New School for Social Research.




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