Discourse on Ethnic Minorities and Civic Integration in Georgia during 1991-90: Analysis of Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Official Speeches, Statements and Interviews

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
According to Rogers Brubaker’s prominent thesis, one of the characterized features of post-communist states was policies that he characterizes as “nationalizing”. Such policy assumes the new nation- state building process mostly on basis of ethnic discrimination and humiliation. The main goal of given presentation is to reconsider Brubakers given thesis on the base of an analysis of Georgia during 1990- 91. Ethnic understanding and imagination originated in 18th to 19th centuries Germany, where, unlike of French civic-political approach it transformed into an ethno-cultural concept. The given traditions became the cornerstones for the whole of Eastern and Central Europe’s Independent Nation-Building process. Georgia turned out as an area of spreading such concept and approach as well. However, this approach was deeply shaken during the first independent Republic of 1918-21. Nevertheless, the situation dramatically changed because of the Soviet occupation and implementation of new soviet policies. The Soviet ‘nationality policy”, institutionalized ‘nation’ as a concept of ‘ethnic community”. Such concept, gradually turned out as a dogma for former Soviet Peoples while discussing the possibilities of constructing independent nation-states. In such circumstances, Georgia managed to organize its first free multiparty elections in 1990 and declared the restoration of national independence in 1991. The period is one of the most complex and challenging times throughout the whole political history of Georgia. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was the chief anchor of such state where his personal role in the formation of a certain type of political regime and legitimacy was enormous. The presentation tries to demonstrate Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s position towards ethnic minorities and civic integration according to his official speeches, statements and interviews. There is a quite widespread view on Gamsakhurdia in Georgian as in foreign literature that he employed the slogan “Georgia for Georgians” as an integral part of his official policies, while his principal goal was to establish ethnically homogenous society. The presented discourse analysis tries to look at such a view and position from a different perspective. In each of his official speeches, statements and interviews, Gamsakhurdia was trying to avoid any rhetoric discrimination to ethnic minorities and not address official laws and regulations, where one is not able to find discriminatory facts. Therefore, it is possible to conclude, that Rogers Brubeiker’s mentioned thesis on “nationalizing policies” requires some reconsiderations if we take into account Georgia’s case of 1990-91.
nationalism, ethnic minority, Civic integration, ნაციონალიზმი, ეთნიკური უმცირესობები, სამოქალაქო ინტეგრაცია