Megi Kartsivadze

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Area Studies (2021 cohort)

The research topic to be undertaken on a doctoral level is built on my MA dissertation, examining the origins and the development of the Georgian nationalist forms, that created the fertile grounds for the emergence of Georgian Stalinism, and aims to broaden its scope through in-depth archival research. The scholarly interest toward Georgian Stalinism has lately increased due to the recent public surveys, revealing that positive attitudes toward Stalin’s figure are higher in his homeland, Georgia than in the other former Soviet republics. Although various studies indicate that there are apparent links between the Stalinist discourse and the Georgian national narrative, the initial phase of the nationalist forms upon which Georgian Stalinism has emerged, remains under-researched. Such analysis is especially relevant because there is significant archival proof that Stalin was personally involved in the editing of the first official history textbooks of Georgia and interfered in the creation of Georgian mass culture. For this, my MA dissertation was focused on the analysis of the Georgian history textbooks published during Stalin’s rule. There I contended that the associations between Stalin’s cult and the prominent Georgian historical figures have emerged out of the Stalinist history textbooks, penetrated the sphere of Georgian nationalism, gave rise to the myths about Stalin’s Georgian patriotism and crystallized into the locally-nationalist form of Stalinism. As for my PhD dissertation, it goes beyond history textbooks and includes literary works, paintings, films and a wider range of archival materials to explain the paradoxical linkage between the Georgian nationalism and Stalinism by examining the Stalinist cultural policy and the policy of history writing in the Georgian SSR. It will explore how the Communist Party under Stalin’s leadership used Georgian history to legitimize state ideology in the Georgian society and to what extent the Stalinist cultural policy and its public reception in the Georgian SSR have contributed to the emergence of Georgian Stalinism.


Since 2015, I have been involved in the research of Soviet past, starting with my Junior Project “Lenin and Stalin in the Memory of Contemporary Russia and Georgia” at the Free University of Tbilisi, where I studied on the BA level with the full governmental scholarship. After the completion of my studies there, I received the Chevening Scholarship and continued my studies at the MA in Russian Studies programme at the University College London. My MA dissertation was also focused on the analysis of the Georgian history textbooks published during Stalin’s rule and various archival materials. As for my working experience, I worked at the leading think tank in Georgia, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) as an Analyst of Memory and Disinformation Studies within the frame of the project “Enhancing the Openness of State Archives in the Former Communist States”. At IDFI, I was involved in archival and historical research as well as the study of disinformation and propaganda discourses in Georgia. Meanwhile, I was an invited lecturer at the Free and Agricultural Universities, where I taught courses “Political Ideologies”, “Caucasus and Georgia”, “MA Thesis Preparation” and supervised several Junior Projects and BA dissertations. Moreover, I have experience of working at the UCL’s academic journal - SLOVO as an Executive Editor and the National Science Foundation of Georgia (SRNSFG). During my career, I have presented my research at various international conferences after which I decided to broaden its scope and pursue my studies on a doctoral level.