ECMI Publications Database

#83: The Role of Civic Nationalism in Transformation of the Internal Ethnic Politics of Post-Soviet Georgia
David Matsaberidze
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues
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The paper deals with the transformation of ethnic politics of Georgia in the post-Soviet period and tries to find an answer to the following question: Did the transition of post-Soviet Georgian nationalism from the ethnic nationalism of Gamsakhurdia to the liberal nationalism of Shevardnadze ending with the civic one of Saakashvili lead to the advancement of the civic integration process in the country? The study analyzes the political statements of the four presidents of Georgia in light of the ethnic policy discourse through changes in the accents of the state nationalism versus transformation of state-church relations. The study demonstrates that a shift from ethnic to civic nationalism was exploited as a source of peaceful integration of ethnic minorities of Georgia. Language policy is taken as a case study for the research. It was hoped that civic policies and rhetoric would lead to peaceful integration of conflicting ethnic groups as well, although this has not been the case up to now. The paper explains the success and failure of civic integration policy vis-à-vis different ethnic minorities of the country drawing on the language aspect of the National Concept on Tolerance and Civil Integration policy document. And last, but not least, the transformation of state-church relations in the light of building the civic state of Georgia is also examined.

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