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.
Table of Contents
Foreword 1 . Introduction 2. Kremlin – Tbilisi. Purges, control and Georgian nationalism in the first half of the 1950s 3. A History of the March 1956 Events in Georgia, based on Oral History Interviews and Archival Documents 4. "What is the Cult of Personality and what has it to do With Stalin?": The Role of Ideology, Youth and the Komsomol in the March Events 5. Nationalism after the March 1956 Events and the Origins of the National-Independence Movement in Georgia 6. "A Kind of Silent Protest"? Deciphering Georgia’s 1956 7. Resistance, Discourse and Nationalism in the March 1956 Events in Georgia 8. Georgian-Abkhaz Relations in the Post-Stalinist Era 9. Conclusion: Georgian Nationalism after 1956 10. Appendix: Documents from the Georgian Archives
Timothy K. Blauvelt is Associate Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Jeremy Smith is Professor of Russian History and Politics at the Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland.
"This book is an important contribution to our understanding of Soviet life in the periphery of the USSR in the 1950s and 1960s. It is pioneering archival research, and reveals the complexity of national minority politics in the USSR."
Stephen Jones, Mount Holyoke College, Slavic Review