This study with co-author Kety Gujaraidze intervenes in the energy justice literature by bringing to the foreground the local, emplaced, and bottom-up perspective. We specifically explore the potential of place-based agency, expressed in the form of traditional rituals, to expand the repertoire of extra-institutional means of resistance against various manifestations of energy injustice. We investigate the recent developments in the hydropower sector in the Svaneti region of the Republic of Georgia. Based on a qualitative research design involving personal interviews and document analysis, we explain how and why the traditional ritual of taking the oath of unity on the icon of St. George has been used to oppose hydropower developments, and how the employment of this extra-institutional action is linked to the changed political opportunity structure. In addition to underscoring the need to recognize and respect the cultural and religious importance assigned to traditional rituals by local communities, the findings of our study imply a need to consider traditional rituals not merely as symbolic or/and performative means of resistance, but also as political tools that may have a significant impact on the development of energy projects.
Dr. Nino Antadze is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island (Canada). Dr. Antadze studies environmental planning processes with the emphasis on environmental and energy justice, and large-scale environmental change with the focus on climate justice and just transitions. Dr. Antadze earned a PhD in urban and regional planning from the University of Waterloo, Canada. She also holds an MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University, Sweden and an MSc in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University, Hungary.
Karina Vamling, Co-Director of RUCARR, gave a guest lecture in the series “Russian outside Russia” on June 23 2021, organised by the Slavisc Department of the University of Cologne (link). Topic of her talk: The Russian language in South Caucasus with special focus on Georgia.
Dr. Erica Marat is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Regional and Analytical Studies Department at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defence University. She has previously directed Homeland Defense Fellowship Program at CISA.
Dr. Marat’s research focuses on violence, mobilization and security institutions in Eurasia, India, and Mexico. During our seminar, she will present her book – The Politics of Police Reform: Society against the State in Post-Soviet Countries. What does it take to reform a post-Soviet police force? Across the region, the countries inherited remarkably similar police forces with identical structures, chains of command, and politicized relationships with the political elite. Centralized in control but decentralized in their reach, the police remain one of the least reformed post-communist institutions. As a powerful state organ, the Soviet-style militarized police have resisted change despite democratic transformations in the overall political context, including rounds of competitive elections and growing civil society. This book explores the conditions in which a meaningful transformation of the police is likely to succeed and when it will fail. Based on the analysis of five post-Soviet countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan) that have officially embarked on police reform efforts, the book examines various pathways to transforming how the state relates to society through policing. It develops a new understanding of both police and police reform. Departing from the conventional interpretation of the police as merely an institution of coercion, this study defines it as a medium for state-society consensus on the limits of the state’s legitimate use of violence. Police are, according to a common Russian saying, a “mirror of society”—serving as a counterweight to its complexity. Police reform, in turn, is a process of consensus-building on the rationale of the use of violence through discussions, debates, media, and advocacy.
This year marks 30 years since the 1991 referendum on the restoration Georgia’s statehood and the following declaration of independence. The years 1988-91 were a period of profound changes in the republics of the Soviet Union, subsequently leading up to the dissolution of the USSR at the end of 1991. In the RUCARR seminar on April 9 the presenters Merab Chukhua and Tina Tskhovrebadze approach and discuss the process of restoration of Georgia’s statehood from two perspectives:
From the 9th of April to the 9th of April – a brief glance
Dr. Merab Chukhua was active in the national movement in Soviet Georgia during the last years of the Soviet Union and is currently Professor of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Department of Caucasiology, and also Director of the Circassian Culture Center (Tbilisi).
Politics of Memory in the Process of Georgian Statehood Restoration
Tina Tskhovrebadze is a PhD Candidate at the Dept of Political Science Tbilisi State University and currently working as a research assistant in the project Politics of Memory in Georgia in 1988-1991 at the Institute of Political Science. She a former visiting PhD Candidate to Caucasus Studies, Malmö University.
When: April 9 13.15–15.00 (Zoom, CET, Swedish time).
Special thanks to Chargé d’affaires Levan Machavariani of the Embassy of the Republic of Georgia to Sweden for his kind contribution in the organisation of this event and introduction to the seminar.
Merab Chukhua: From the 9th of April to the 9th of April – a brief glance
Tina Tskhovrebadze: Politics of Memory in the Process of Georgian Statehood Restoration
Welcome to the RUCARR zoom seminar on February 9, 15.15.
Dr. Tornike Metreveli (Postdoctoral Researcher on Christianity, Nationalism, and Populism in Lund University) will present his new book Orthodox Christianity and the Politics of Transition: Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia (Routledge, 2021).
Contact email@example.com for the zoom link.
The book Orthodox Christianity and the Politics of Transition: Ukraine, Serbia and Georgiadiscusses in detail how Orthodox Christianity was involved in and influenced political transition in Ukraine, Serbia, and Georgia after the collapse of communism. Based on original research, including extensive interviews with clergy and parishioners as well as historical, legal, and policy analysis, the book argues that the nature of the involvement of churches in post-communist politics depended on whether the interests of the church (for example, in education, the legal system or economic activity) were accommodated or threatened: if accommodated, churches confined themselves to the sacred domain; if threatened, they engaged in daily politics. If churches competed with each other for organizational interests, they evoked the support of nationalism while remaining within the religious domain.
Tornike Metreveli is a sociologist of religion focusing on Orthodox Christianity’s interaction with secular politics and nationalism. Before joining Lund, he had various research fellowships at the University of St. Gallen, Harvard, and London School of Economics. His recent book Orthodox Christianity and the Politics of Transition: Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia (Routledge, 2021) focuses on the comparative-historical church-state interactions, giving a grassroots and institutional account of counterintuitive secularization agendas, church involvement in public policies and revolutions, as well as interdenominational competition for the status of the national church.
I ett samarrangemang med Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt (NUPI) bjuder RUCARR in till ett Zoom-seminarium 9 november på temat: ”Säkerhetspolitik i Sydkaukasien”.
Seminariet äger rum online genom Zoom. Förhandsregistrera dig här för att kunna ansluta. Diskussionen kommer att hållas på svenska. Seminariet stöds av Tidsskriftforeningen/Fritt Ord och utgår från en temasektion som tidskriften Nordisk Østforum publicerade i september 2020:
Sydkaukasien betraktas ofta som en krutdurk. Regionen innehåller tre stater (Armenien, Azerbajdzjan, Georgien) men också tre icke erkända ”stater” (Abchazien, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sydossetien) som förlitar sig på stöd utifrån. Bland de externa intressenterna har både Ryssland och EU liksom Turkiet en framträdande roll, vilket de senaste veckornas stridigheter i och kring Nagorno-Karabach illustrerar. Detta regionala säkerhetskomplex är ämnet för dagens seminarium. Paneldeltagare från FOI, Malmö universitet och Uppsala universitet kommer att dela med sig av sin kunskap om Kremls intressen i Kaukasien, EU:s påverkansmöjligheter samt den svåra geopolitiska balansgång som lokala aktörer står inför.
10:00-10:05 Moderator Christofer Berglund hälsar välkommen
10:05-10:35 Paneldeltagarnas presentationer
10:35-11:00 Diskussion och frågor från åhörarna
Jakob Hedenskog arbetar på enheten för säkerhetspolitik, Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI). Han specialiserar sig på rysk utrikespolitik och länderna i Rysslands närområde.
Michel Anderlini är doktorand på Institutionen för globala politiska studier, Malmö universitet. Hans avhandlingsprojekt handlar om relationen mellan EU och Georgien.
Per Ekman är doktorand på Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Uppsala universitet. Hans avhandlingsprojekt handlar om utrikespolitiska strategier i Ukraina och Georgien.
Li Bennich-Björkman är Skytteansk professor i statskunskap, Uppsala universitet. Hon leder ett VR-finansierat forskningsprojekt om säkerhetspolitiska perceptioner i Sydkaukasien.
Prof. Stephen Jones, Mount Holyoke College (US) will give a seminar on his current research on the First Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-21) and its significance to the history of European social democracy.
RUCARR seminar (zoom), October 26, 3.15-5 pm (Swedish time)
You are invited to attend the RUCARR online seminar on October 6 The Caucasus in the Post-Covid Multi-Polar World with Dr. Lincoln Mitchell, affiliated to Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University (bio below).
When: October 6, 3.15-5.00 pm (Swedish time)
Where: Zoom platform
The seminar is open to staff and students as well as other interested. Welcome to sign-up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the results of the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the American government has been to accelerate the movement towards a truly multi-polar world. Instead of controlling the pandemic within its own borders and offering assistance to the rest of the world, the US suffered more loss of life and greater damage to its economy that most countries. One of the effects of this has been to damage not just America’s standing in the world, but also limit its ability to impact political events in the rest of the world. This development will be felt acutely in the Caucasus.
The three South Caucasus countries as well as the Russian regions in the North Caucasus have long had to navigate a path between major political powers, but the nature of that challenge began to change in 2017, when Donald Trump became President of the US, and has accelerated in recent months. These polities now find themselves in a very different world, one where the American footprint will be lighter and China’s almost certainly heavier. Additionally, the possibility of the world becoming less globally integrated will have major impact on a region that has long been a crossroads between different regions. These developments will have an impact on the domestic politics of the countries in the region on issues ranging from democracy and human rights to domestic stability as well as their relations with each other and the rest of the world including with regards to questions of trade, fighting terrorism and national security.
This seminar will explore these questions and probe how the Caucasus will be changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lincoln Mitchell is a political analyst, pundit and writer based in New York City and San Francisco. Lincoln works on democracy and governance related issues in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He also works with businesses and NGOs globally, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Lincoln was on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International Affairs from 2006-2013. He retains an affiliation with Columbia’s Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and teaches in the political science department as well. In addition, he worked for years as a political consultant advising and managing domestic political campaigns. […] Continue reading: http://lincolnmitchell.com/about
Lofty Ideals in Aerial Connectivity: Ideology in the Urban Cable Car Network of Tbilisi, Georgia
Seminar with Dr. Dato Gogishvili (Postdoc at Dept. of Urban Studies, Malmö University) When: May 4, 13.30-15.00 Where: Zoom online platform (link in Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/65183900856)
Abstract This article (in collaboration with Suzanne Harris-Brandts, Department of Urban Studies + Planning, MIT) examines the ten-line cable car network of Tbilisi, Georgia,constructed between 1953 and 1988, then decommissioned in the 1990s and partially reactivated since 2012. During the Soviet era, Tbilisi’s cable cars played an important role in the city’s mass mobility, particularly in areas of steep geography. They also functioned ideologically, supporting Soviet ambitions toward the collective provision of public transportation and accessto recreational spacefor the working proletariat. This article unpacks such ideology, chartingits evolution over the network’s sixty-year timeline. It describes the ideological shifts that took place following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s transition to a capitalist economy. Specifically, it explores how Tbilisi’s cable car network is linked to changes in government urban development priorities and desires to create tourism attractions, while also reinforcing select framings of the surrounding landscape. The newly introduced cable car lines of the 21st centurynow reflect contemporary ideological goals that see cable cars as assets for luring global capital and facilitating the commodification of Tbilisi’s historic cityscape. The article thus argues that the city’s cable car network can be understood as embodying changes in government stances toward labor, leisure, and the direction of future development, while further reflecting the mobility politics of the city. The findings are based on personal interviews and historic document analysis, as well as transit ridership and City Hall data that collectively provide an evaluation of Tbilisi’s cable car network as it has transformed since the 1950s.
BIO David received his doctoral degree in Urban Studies and Regional Science at Gran Sasso Science Institute in 2017 where he studied the state use of mega-events as a tool for urban development and the imposition of legal exceptions onto host cities. Subsequently, he joined the University of Lausanne as a postdoctoral researcher where he studied the impact of megaprojects in the urban development of Kazakhstan. Currently, he is a postdoc at the Department of Urban Studies at Malmö University where he is carrying out a research project scrutinizing the role of legal exceptions in urban planning for the realization of the real estate megaprojects in Georgia and its surrounding governmental discourses. David’s research interests include interrelation of mega-events and legal exceptions, mega-events and urban image construction, mega-event related urban policy mobilities and the use of mega-events as a tool of urban development in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. David is also a principal researcher in the Shota Rustaveli Georgian National Science Foundation-funded project “Examining the Social Impacts of Large, Private Sector Urban Development in Batumi and Tbilisi”.
Guranda Bursulaia, PhD Candidate at Free University in Tbilisi (Georgia) and Swedish Institute visiting researcher 2019 at Caucasus Studies, Malmö University, has a new publication: “The voices of silence: The case of Georgian history textbooks”. The article appeared in the journal Caucasus Survey and was largely written during the research visit to our department.