A map of the Russian Caucasus published in Tiflis in 1903 / history.az via Wikimedia Commons
The multi-ethnic Caucasus, an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, was subject to foreign imperial domination for the great majority of its history, during which it experienced long periods of incorporation in the Persian, Arabian, Mongol, Ottoman, Russian and Soviet empires. In cultural terms, the post-Soviet Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the autonomous North-Caucasian entities within the Russian Federation) is a heterogeneous region in which the followers of a number of religions (Shiite and Sunni Islam, Russian and Georgian Orthodoxy, the Armenian-Gregorian Church, Judaism) practice their faith. In essence, the region acts as a transition between East and West, Europe and the Middle East.
Islam and Christianity in the Caucasus, MGFA
One of the oldest centres of world civilization, the 1 and multi-confessional area bordering the states of , and in their post 1991 form. Its inner and outer political frontiers constitute a matter of intense controversy, whilst cultural demarcation is almost impossible. Nevertheless, despite this high level of diversity, the geographical nature of the has established this strategically important land bridge between the and as a historical unity.2 Despite such geographical clarity, a cultural taxonomy of the Caucasus remains highly difficult. The French geographer and engineer for example classified the entire region as “l’Asie Russe”.3 In his classic English-language account of Russian history published in 1967, the British historian included a map entitled “The Caucasus and Transcaucasia” depicting the region as stretching between and Maykop in the North and Artvin, and in the South.4 Arguably of greater interest is Caucasian self-conception, in which historical experience during the 20th century has produced an interesting consensus, locating in the South of the European part of the . The Soviet-Georgian historian classified its territory as part of the Caucasus, establishing it on the border between and .5is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual
The Caucasus has long been transected by a number of important 6such as the . Incorporated into powerful empires (such as the , , Persian, Russian and Soviet empires), the geo-political status of the region remains a matter of intense dispute between a number of powerful regional actors.
Politically, the cultural region known as the Caucasus7 includes the three states , and Georgia as well as the , which has been incorporated into the Russian federation under the appellation Južnyj Federal’nyj Okrug (The Southern Federal Okrug).8 This in turn is subdivided into the republics of , Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkar, Karachay-Cherkessia, , and Adygea.9
From Antiquity to Russian Rule
Ethnic structures in the Caucasus, MGFA
To this day, the Caucasus continues in its role as constituting a meeting point for a number of cultures and providing the arena for a process of permanent migration.10 This is especially clear in the regional pattern of religious distribution. The Caucasus of the 4th and 3rd centuries BC was dominated by natural religions and Zoroastrianism, the majority faiths at the time of Persian campaign. Christian missionaries reached the Caucasus in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. and the Georgian,11 12 and Armenian13 Churches were established by the 4th century. Whilst the first two adopted dyophysitism (the acceptance of Christ’s dual natures) at the Council of Chalcedon in the 5th century, the Armenian Church retained a firmly monophysite teaching. The Caucasus remained overwhelmingly Christian up to the 7th Century, with observance of the natural religions restricted to the mountainous regions of Northern Caucasus. The population of on the other hand, remained Zoroastrian. The Arab invasion of the 7th and 8th centuries resulted in the partial introduction of Islam and as a result, both Zoroastrianism and the Caucasian-Albanian Church lost their previously dominant roles. Large swathes of present-day Azerbaijan became Muslim. Although defending their Christian heritage, the Armenian and Georgian Churches gradually came under a strongly Arabic cultural influence, to be followed in the 10th century by Persian overlordship. These influences are especially clear in Georgian literature. The strongest centres of this new Islamification and later dominant Arabic-Persian influence were located in the areas of former Zoroastrian faith and the sphere of influence of the Albanian Church in Azerbaijan. Persian literature, its motifs and styles exercised an influence on a number of artists such as the Georgian-language poet from Tiflis .14 The poet 15 from the Azerbaijani town of Gence wrote predominantly in Persian. Literature and scholarship flourished during this period.16
This high-point of literature and scholarship was brought to an abrupt end by the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. After laying waste to vast areas of the region, the new colonizers proceeded to establish a heavy economic yoke in the form of tribute payments. A further incursion from 17( ) by resulted in intense fighting between his forces and those of the Mongols, transforming much of the region into a battlefield. Only under the rule of King did Georgia achieve political independence, which was to last until the arrival of a new enemy in the form of the Central Asian conqueror .
The Caucasus under Ottoman influence, MGFA
Tatar rule was finally put to an end by a period of Persian and Ottoman dominance and the entire region was incorporated in the sphere of influence of a succession of Islamic empires (the Ottoman empire and Persia), a development which represented a particular challenge to the non-Muslim population of the Caucasus. Forced to pay a special tax, Christians soon became a religious minority. Many of the Tatar tribes remained in the region and mixed with the indigenous population, as did the Persian officials and merchants who came to the Caucasus from the South.
The 15th century saw the integration of the local Muslim population in the Eastern and South-Western Caucasus into the newly-developed feudal states ruled by a network of Muslim dynasties (the largest included were the Qara-Qoyunlu and Ağ-Qoyunlu).18 This new religious unity also effected a certain degree of reconciliation between the conquerors and their subject populations. Improved relations between the Northern Caucasian and Azerbaijani Muslims however did not bring relief for the Christians in the Caucasus; Christian Georgia for example collapsed at the turn of the 16th century into a number of small feudal units ( , Kacheti, Imereti, Samcche, Guria, Abchazeti and others).
The Caucasus on the Eve of Russian Conquest
Russian expansion in the Caucasus, MGFA
Weakened by Tatar rule, the Caucasus had been subject to raids from the West (the Ottoman Empire) and the South (Persia) from the 12th century. In the 17th and (especially) the 18th century, danger now came from the North in the form of Russia.19 Bandied about between a number of different states and empires, the Caucasus always remained a peripheral imperial possession, a status which was not affected by the advent of the 19th century and the appearance of a new colonial power in the shape of Tsarist Russia. Victorious against both Turkey and Persia, the Russian empire moved to fill the resulting power vacuum.
On the eve of the Russian conquest, the Caucasus comprised an area ruled by two Georgian kingdoms (the Imereti to the West and Kakheti in the East of contemporary Georgia), a number of North-Caucasian principalities and a range of Muslim Chanats (Muslim principalities). The population was heterogeneous in its composition, especially to the South. Muslims and Georgians made up the clergy, aristocracy and the peasantry, whilst the Armenians provided the lion’s share of the population in 20 developed into local centres, i.e. locations within a greater context, with a “concentration of people, power, creativity and symbolical capital”.21 Such a development was particularly noticeable in Baku and Tiflis.22 Located on the periphery of the empire, they had developed into centres developed into centres of both cultural reception and transmission. The impulses in this process came from the new imperial metropolis and the old cultural centres and ; the newly-acquired influence of the Caucasian centres now, in turn, reached the “old” cultural towns.23 The situation was different in the Northern Caucasus, where a number of town and settlements developed around newly-constructed Russian fortifications. The colonial character of these settlements found clear expression in their names.24. In , they constituted only a minority presence. Over the course of the 19th century, Caucasian towns such as Baku, Ganca, Kutaisi, Derbent and above all Tiflis
The Caucasus as a Province of the Tsarist Empire
Apart from a short phase of independence between 1917/1918 and 1921, the Caucasus was to remain under first Russian imperial and then Soviet rule between the turn of the 19th century and 1991. The areas subject to Russian conquest came to be dominated by patterns of confrontation, adaptation and interdependence. The immediate implications of Russian rule also manifested themselves in the religious structure of the area. Muslims in the territories formerly annexed by Persia lost their dominant position and the Armenian middle classes gradually assumed greater social significance.25 Granted additional autonomy in 1836, the Armenian Gregorian Church was initially tolerated by St. Petersburg (not least due to the Russian desire to strengthen Armenian immigration from the ); the Georgian Church on the other hand lost its independence in 1811.26 Observant Muslims were now subjected to a number of restrictions such as a ban, issued in 1821, on embarking on the Hağğ, the pilgrimage to .27
None of these developments meant that the Caucasus developed anything approaching sustained and socially broad-based resistance to Russian occupation. Rather, Caucasian interaction with their Russian overlords presents a complex picture of adaptation and rejection, representing as it did, the interaction not only between heterogeneous cultural spheres but imperial metropole and periphery. Highly mutable, Tsarist policy (or better policies) pursued a number of different agendas. Whilst imperial policy-makers envisaged the integration of the Caucasian elites at the turn of the 19th century,28 the transition to mid-century saw the launch of a strict policy of involving the suppression of national sentiment.
The ambivalent nature of interaction between Tsarist Russia and its imperial possession is well illustrated by a consideration of the life of the Baku noble intellectual Abbasqulu ağa Bakıxanov and the history of the teachers’ seminary in Gori. It is important that these be considered in their historical context: the former representing a biography from the first half of the nineteenth century, whilst the second is designed to illuminate fin de siècle Russian empire and its transition to the 20th century.
Abbasqulu ağa Bakıxanov (1794–1847)
Just as the Azerbaijani author 29 numbers amongst one of the most prominent representatives of the Muslim Enlightenment in the Russian Caucasus. Born into a noble family living near to Baku in 1794, Bakıxanov was of mixed parentage; a descendant of the Baku Chane dynasty, his father had married a Georgian convert to Islam. After dividing his childhood between Baku and the North Azerbaijani town of Quba, the young Bakıxanov studied theology and oriental languages before following a summons (issued around 1820) to service on the staff of General at Tiflis, where he worked as an interpreter and translator. In addition to his military duties, Bakıxanov also studied Russian and French during this time. One notable episode of his duties as interpreter to the Russian armed forces saw his participation in the Russian-Iranian negotiations over the partition of the Azerbaijani settlements along the River Araxes in 1828. Bakıxanov was awarded the order of the Holy Anna third class in the same year. A thinker in the tradition of the Enlightenment, he acted as both a chronicler of his time and a cultural arbitrator. Whilst in Tiflis, Bakıxanov met the most prominent Georgian and Russian intellectuals and poets and travelled to the , and St Petersburg. Steeped in his oriental-Azerbaijani culture, Bakıxanov was also a product of the multi-ethnic atmospheres of Tiflis and St Petersburg. Whilst in Tiflis, Bakıxanov wrote poems, works of historical philosophy, academic tracts and a Russian-language book of Persian grammar, which he dedicated to the Russian Tsar.30 Later, he was to write a Persian-language history of the Eastern Caucasus.31 Bakıxanov returned to his family estate close to Quba in 1835 where he busied himself with one of his major works, The Secrets of the Heavens (written in 1839/1840) and which he translated into Arabic himself. Granted permission by the Russian authorities to embark on a pilgrimage to Mecca in the mid-1840s, he travelled first to Istanbul, where he presented this volume on astrology at the court of the Sultan.32 He died on the route to and was buried in the Vadi-Fatima in present-day .,
The Teachers’ Seminary in Gori (1876–1917)
Active in both cultures, the noble Bakıxanov can be viewed as a mediator between Tsarism, which he served voluntarily, and Caucasian Muslims, whose culture he shared. For their part, the Tsarist authorities attempted to promote the integration of the non-Russian population of their imperial periphery into the Russian-dominated structures. Establishing a number of institutions of education in the Caucasus, they sought to establish a broad-based caste of intellectuals loyal to Russia.
One such example of this cultural imperialism was the teachers’ seminary (Zakavkazskaja Učitel’skaja Seminarija) in the Georgian town of Gori.33 Opened in 1876, the seminary survived until the outbreak of the Russian revolution and the collapse of the Russian empire.34 Boasting both a Muslim and a Christian section as well as a music school, the seminary trained the music teachers for the schools of the Caucasus. The seminary was visited above all by the offspring of the middle and upper classes from the North and South Caucasian peoples. Its graduates included the founder of national composition in Azerbaijan, , the Azerbaijani linguists and , the Azerbaijani writer and the Azerbaijani composer and conductor . The prominent Georgian writer , the Enlightenment thinker , the doctor Micheil Cinamdzgvrišvili (1882–1956) and the composer also studied at the seminary in Gori. The school was of great significance for the Georgians and Muslims of the Northern and Southern Caucasus; the Armenians attended their own institutions – the well-known Nersessian Institute founded in Tiflis in 1824 and the Lazarev Institute35 in Moscow, established in 1815.
The primary task of this institution was to provide a supply of trained teachers for the schools in the region. Students financed their studies themselves or could apply for a central or local government scholarship. Although the language of instruction was Russian, students were able to learn Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani. Teaching a number of subjects including pedagogy, mathematics and geometry, the seminary numbered amongst the best in the Russian empire. It even received an award at an international educational exhibition in 36.
Partially through the influence of the Russian intellectual 37 and the Azerbaijani Enlightenment thinker Mirzä Fätäli Axundov an Azerbaijani department was established in 1879, three years after the foundation of the school. Nevertheless, although Azerbaijani was now part of the curriculum, lessons were still held in Russian only not in Azerbaijani. The seminary became the target of strong criticism at the beginning of the 20th century. The Azerbaijani intellectual criticized what he saw as the missionary nature of the school, decrying its director as an agent of Russification. In 1906, Baku intellectuals called for the Azerbaijani department to be relocated to Baku. The result was the foundation of separate teachers’ seminaries in Ganca (1914) and Baku (1916). Finally, the Musavat government decreed that the Azerbaijani department be relocated to the small Azerbaijani town of Qazax (close to Ganca). Criticism also came from Georgian intellectuals, who demanded a Georgian University in Tiflis to promote an independent Georgian identity and further national emancipation from the Tsarist authorities.
Patterns of Confrontation and Co-existence in the Second Half of the 19th Century
Although Bakıxanov provides a good example of the successful integration of a Muslim noble in Tsarist society, the majority Muslim population was characterized by a different reaction. The 19th century saw a number of anti-Russian uprisings in the Southern Causacus38 as well as a number of anti-Tsarist conspiracies amongst the Georgian aristocracy.39 These attempts at sedition were matched in the Northern Caucasus by an armed uprising of long duration lead by the Muslim cleric Imam .40 As a consequence, the Northern Caucasus was subdued completely only in 1859. The aftermath of the rebellion saw the emigration of hundreds of thousands of North Caucasian Muslims to the Ottoman Empire.41
This resurgence of traditional ethnic and religious conflicts was accompanied by the gradual spread of nationalist sentiment within the region. In all central Balkan regions national sentiment and agitation for nation states was on the rise. This phenomenon also affected the peripheries of the Tsarist Empire, for example in the Baltic region (parallels can be drawn to the peripheries of the Ottoman empire in the 42 The move to the establishment of political parties, a process which began in the 1880s reached its zenith at the turn of the century.43 Well-networked with other peripheral nationalities within the Tsarist empire (such as the , the Baltic provinces and the Tartars),44 these groupings established a wide regional presence and articulated their cause – above all greater independence – with a comprehensive press campaign. Whilst political life in Georgia was characterized by a thriving Social Democratic movement; the equivalent discourses in Azerbaijan45 and Armenia46 were dominated by nationalism.).
1917–1921: Short-lived Independence
[LEFT]: The constitutive assembly of the independent Republic of Georgia in Tiflis (1918) / The Georgian Museum of Photography
[RIGHT]: Azerbaijani victims of the events in Baku, March 1918 / Wikimedia Commons
The second cabinet of the independent Republic of Armenia meeting in Yerevan (1919), front row from left to right: Avetik Sahakian (1863–1933), Prime Minister Alexander Khatissian (1874–1945), General Kristofor Araratov (1876–1937); back row: Nikol Aghpalian (1875–1947) the minister for education and culture, Abram Gulkandanian (1875–1945) and Sarkis Araradian. / Library of Congress
The convolutions of 1917/1918 transformed the cities of the Caucasus into a hotbed of the revolution. With the disappearance of Russian military and political control, the various ethnicities were finally able to give form to their national ambitions. Nevertheless, the creation of four independent nation states, The North Caucasian Mountain Republic, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, served only to increase ethnic tensions, which soon reached an unhappy peak.47 Sending delegates to the peace conference at , the newly-independent states sought to establish a diplomatic presence at the European capitals. , Poland, Turkey, and a number of other states opened consulates in the region. The new national governments attached considerable importance to this exchange of missions48 and their statesmen identified closely with Europe. Having studied vetinary medicine in Warsaw in the 1890s, the Georgian head of state for example maintained close ties to the German-Czech Social Democrat and followed the development of the labour movement in with close interest. Others were no less international in their orientation: the Georgian politician Giorgi Gvazava (1868–1941) had studied Law in and Paris, whilst the Armenian Prime Minister followed up his studies in St Petersburg with an intensive programme of European travel in 1919/1920.
The first national universities established in Tiflis, Yerevan and Baku in 1918/1919 followed the European model closely. The Caucasians saw Europe as the counter-model to the newly-emerged Soviet Union. The impending legal reforms were also to follow European practice. All assuming a republican form, the new Caucasian states established the separation of religion and state.
The Soviet invasions of 1920/1921 were followed by aand both Žordanija and Gvazava followed the Azerbaijani politician in his departure for . The Parisian suburb Leuville-sur-Orge soon became a centre of the Caucasian exile community. With a high number of Georgians, it soon acquired the soubriquet la petite Georgie.
Independence and Sovietization from 1917 to 1936, MGFA
The entry of the Red Army in Tiflis in February 1921 / The Georgian Museum of Photography
This independent intermezzo49 was followed by Soviet occupation, first in Azerbaijan (April 1920) and then in November in Armenia. The Soviet occupation of Tiflis (February 1921) was especially bitter, preceded as it had been by the signature of a Soviet-Georgian peace treaty in May 192050 and taking into account that Georgia enjoyed a certain level of international sympathy – especially amongst European Social Democrats. The Sovietization of the complete Caucasus in 1920/1921 ushered in what many now see as “the second period of Northern dominance in the Caucasus”.51 The completion of the measures of Sovietization were met with numerous anti-Bolshevik uprisings including that in Gäncä (May 1920),52 and a whole series in Georgia (1924). In subsequent years, the region was subject to ever-closer integration in the political and economic system of the USSR. After an initial policy of “taking root” (Korenizacija), Moscow policy-makers continued the traditional Tsarist emphasis on Russification and exploitation of the regional economy. The immigration of Russians, and to the region increased markedly, who were recruited to help with the of the region.53 The Caucasian intellectuals were divided by the new developments; those with fond memories of the years of independence were matched by supporters of the Bolsheviks. Many of the Caucasian intelligentsia – men of letters,54 “old Communists”55 and others – did not survive the 1930s and the accompanying Stalinist purges, a development which affected all the Caucasian nations with equal measure.56
The Stalin cult, black-and-white photograph, Soviet Union, ca. 1932 / The Georgian Museum of Photography
An exogenous ideology, the establishment of Communism in the Caucasus was clearly the effect of military defeat and occupation.57 Nevertheless, a considerable proportion of Caucasians were Marxist sympathizers at the turn of the century58 and played a significant role in the extension and institutionalization of the new system both in their own region and throughout the Soviet Union. The “Asiatic professional revolutionary”59 , and others such as , ,60 ,61 ,62 ,63 64 were of considerable significance in the establishment of Soviet Communism.65
“Russia, the Caucasus, mountain infantry”, black-and-white photograph, 1942 / Wikimedia Commons
Caucasians fought in the Second World War on both sides. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Georgians and Dagestanians fought and died as soldiers of the Red Army, whilst the Wehrmacht maintained a number of Caucasian exile battalions drawn from the ranks of the prisoners of war.66 At the same time, a great deal of North Caucasian ethnicities (above all Chechnyans, Ingush), the Volga Germans and other groups were deported to and Central Asia during the war.67
The Post-Stalinist era saw the rise of 68 69 and ,70 who established a corrupt system of paternalist rule. After the fall of the Soviet Union, they managed a comeback in the politics of their home states. The 1970s also saw the development of a strong dissident movement in the Caucasus: the scholar of English 71 and the music teacher in Georgia, the Orientalist in Azerbaijan, and 72 in Armenia exercised strong criticism of Moscow’s programme of Sovietization and Russification.73 Caucasians were thus both the agents and victims of Soviet Communism; indeed, elite participation in the Russian-dominated system reached higher levels during the Soviet era than at any time during Tsarist rule. This applied to Party apparatchiks and artists in equal measure.,
The complicated lives of the Caucasian intellectuals are well illustrated by the example of two artists – the Georgian painterand the Armenian film director during and after the period know as the “thaw” initiated by . A particular focus in the present consideration of these examples is placed on the contribution which Achvlediani and Paradžanov made to intellectual transfer and cultural exchange.
Elene Akhvlediani (1901–1975)
Elene Akhvlediani (1901–1975), bronze, unknown date / Wikimedia Commons
Born in 1901 into a poor, yet well-educated Georgian family in Telawi (Georgia), Elene Akhvlediani sketched and painted from an early age. Throughout her life, Tiflis and its streets and parks remained her most important source of inspiration. First Contributing to an exhibition held in Tiflis (at the time the capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia) in 1919, Akhvlediani was accepted into the Tiflis Academy of Art in 1922, a year after the Sovietization of Georgia. Supervised by the prominent Georgian painter, himself a graduate of the Academy of Art, her talent was soon recognized and she was despatched to France and Italy to continue her studies. Akhvlediani was to remain outside Georgia until 1927. Taking advantage of the opportunity to study a number of different urban themes including the streets of Paris and , she was to remain influenced by this formative experience for the rest of her life. Returning to Georgia, Akhvlediani contributed to a number of exhibitions in a number of Georgian cities and advanced to become a popular theatre painter. Her later work concentrated on representations of Georgian provincial towns and mountain landscape.
Generally held to be a pupil of French and Italian painting, Akhvlediani’s personal experience made her one of the key agents of the reception of European thought. Despite being accorded the freedom to travel and stay in Europe, she chose to return to her home country. Exhibiting a certain level of conformity to Stalinist cultural policy, a number of her paintings from this period portray Soviet prestige projects, and during the Second World War she focussed on depictions of Moscow. Akhvlediani did not show any signs of dissidence and integrated herself in the Soviet cultural scene. Her work was received well in the leading Soviet art journal Iskusstvo and her position enabled her to act as a mediator between European and Georgian art. In this way, Akhvlediani influenced several generations of Soviet-Georgian painters and artists, not least thanks to her status as one of the very few Caucasians who maintained immediate contacts to European artists.
Sergej Paradžanov (1924–1989)
Sergej Paradžanov (1924–1990), bronze following a photograph by Jurij Mečitov, 2004 / Photo by Zaur Gasimov
Sergej Paradžanov is a representative of a younger generation of Caucasian artists. Born in 1924 into a wealthy Armenian family living in the Georgian capital of Tiflis, he moved to Moscow in 1945 to study at the renowned Soviet film academy Vsesojuznyj gosudarstvennyj institut kinematografii (VGIK).74 Eventually completing his studies in 1951, he had been arrested in 1947 on the charge of homosexuality. Serving the resulting prison sentence of several years in Georgia, Paradžanov presented his first short film following his release entitled Moldavskaja skazka (“ Tale”). Following this, he travelled to Ukraine to engage with the indigenous traditions and topics of . These studies came to fruition in his 1961 work Ukrainskaja rapsodija (“Ukrainian Rhapsody”) followed in 1964 by Teni zabitych predkov(“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”).75 Held by many to be the “most incisive event of Soviet cinematography in the early 1960s”,76 this film was compared to masterwork Bronenosec Potjemkin (“The Battleship Potemkin”).77
Travelling to Armenia in 1966, he presented his first film dealing with his experiences there the following year. Entitled Akop Ornaťjan, it is often understood as the preparatory work for his masterpiece Sayat Nova.78 Heavily censored by the Soviet authorities, the film was first released in 1972/1973 under the title Cvet granata (“The Colour of Pomegranates”). Living in at the time, he was arrested for criticism of the regime and sentenced to five years imprisonment in 1973. The intervention of the writer and the director contributed to his eventual release in 1977. Returning to Tbilisi, he was arrested again in 1982. 1984 saw the release of his next masterpiece, Legenda o suramskoj kreposti (“The Legend of Suram Fortress”) focussing on Georgian mythology and history. Paradžanov’s third masterpiece followed in 1988. The film adaption of an Azerbaijani legend, Ashiq-Gerib as described by the Russian poet , it was screened at the Venice film festival and awarded the European Film Academy’s Felix Award. Isolated and ill following his years in prison, Paradžanov was finally accorded the opportunity to meet European colleagues and conduct a European tour. Paradžanov died in 1990, and is buried in the Cemetery of Honour in Yerevan.79 Speaking in one of his last interviews, he said “it is common knowledge that I have three homes. Born in Georgia, I worked in Ukraine and wish to die in Armenia.”80
Paradžanov’s artistic socialization took place at the VGIK-Academy in Moscow, where he was influenced heavily by his co-operation with the Ukrainians 81 The central focus of his work was the Caucasus with its myths and legends; he drew inspiration from the streets of old Tbilisi and its history. Paradžanov was successful in his integration of specifically Caucasian themes and motifs in the wider Soviet film tradition. Persecuted by the Communists, he acted as an agent of transfer between the Russian and the Caucasian worlds.and . Taking as his subject the folklore of the various Soviet peripheries, he accorded particular attention to Moldova and Ukraine. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of his notes, collages and even his memoirs Ispoved’ were composed in Russian.
Towards a Summary: Two Centuries of Caucasian History
Chechnyan soldier in front of the government building in Grozny during the first Chechen war (1994–1996) / Wikimedia Commons
The title of a collection of essays published in 1994 A Good Place to Die (Dobre miejsce do umierania)82 dealing with the history and politics of the Caucasus made clear reference to the ethnic conflicts which plagued the region at the end of the 1980s.83 These conflicts were essentially a continuation of the regional history in the 19th and 20th centuries, during which the Caucasus came to be a Russian province. If imperial history is a story of conquest and occupation,84 then the history of an imperial periphery is that of resistance and co-operation. The various nationalities in the region found themselves in repeated confrontation with the colonizers: aristocratic Georgian conspiracies; armed Muslim uprisings; the North Caucasian Šāmil movement of the 19th century; the Armenian campaign against the confiscation of their Church treasury 1904/1905; the anti-Soviet revolts in Georgia and Azerbaijan 1920–1924; the dissident movement of the 1970s; the accelerated secession from the USSR in 1989/1990 and the wars in Chechnya of the 1990s.85 Traditional hostilities were passed down within the intellectual class. Although the Caucasian intelligentsia maintained close ties with their Russian counterparts in the mid 19th century, its members retained a strong national and regional orientation. Although acting as the arbiters of Russian culture, the intellectuals did not become a part of it. Forming a bridge between St Petersburg, Moscow and their own region, Caucasian artists translated both Russian and European literature, yet at the same time remained vociferous in their protest against the Tsarist policies of Russification of the 1880s and its Soviet pendant 1950–1970. In the last two centuries, Caucasians came into very close contact with Russia and its culture, but the search within the different nationalities for their own identity and self-assertion also loomed large.
A figure such as Bakıxanov was necessarily multi-faceted: making a contribution to Russian Oriental studies he also acted as a mediator between the Tsarist authorities and Muslim Caucasians. Serving the Russian state, he assumed a firm place within the fabric of the imperial aristocracy. Yet despite such Russophile tendencies, he eventually left the Caucasus, saddened at what he saw as its capitulation to Russian culture. Georgian intellectuals underwent a similar set of experiences.86 Educated in St Petersburg, Warsaw and (today Tartu), they maintained extensive contacts with the Russian elite, but still campaigned for greater autonomy as early as the 1860s–1880s.
The level of Caucasian-Russian contacts increased over the course of the 20th century. The early Caucasian Communists moved to Moscow in the 1920s, from where once unleashed, the Red Terror devoured the intellectual class indiscriminately in both the Russian Caucasus and other Soviet republics alike. Even in the 1940s, the Muslim peoples of the Caucasus were forced to adopt the Cyrillic alphabet.87
The 1950s saw the launch of a massive programme of linguistic Russification throughout the regions; after Stalin’s death cultural networks also grew. The building programmes of the 1960s and 1970s were conducted in the spirit of “Socialist Realism”, a factor effecting considerable change to the urban landscape and amounting to what has been termed “architectural Sovietization”. At the same time, the Caucasus developed into a spa region of some considerable significance, attracting large numbers of visitors from across the Soviet Union and especially from Russia. This was accompanied by emigration from the region as thousands of Caucasians left for Kiev, Moscow andto live, work and study.
Despite such population exchanges, this period saw a general decrease in the number of Russians in the region and an increase of the autochthon population. The 1970s witnessed a “silent revolution” in the expansion of educational provision and the heyday of the novel. Music, literature and culture were all dominated by the national motif. In a fashion similar to that of the 19th century as the Russians developed a fascination for the Caucasus,88 the two cultures now exerted a mutual influence on each other. The Caucasian and above all, the Georgian film industry and singing culture acquired considerable popularity throughout the Soviet Union.89 At the same time, the Southern Caucasus in particular began to secede from Russia – a trend which was to last until the collapse of the USSR.
The history of the Caucasus is one of a multi-national, confessionally heterogeneous region subject to long periods of foreign domination. The interaction of the Caucasus with its neighbouring countries and its successive incorporation into a number of imperial units are the key factors which served to shape the region. Teetering on the periphery of the Ottoman, Persian, Russian and Soviet empires, the cultural and social elites alternated between adaptation to the imperial system and resistance to its religious, linguistic and religious policies. The cultural and power elites in the Caucasus of the 19th and 20th centuries became mediators between St Petersburg (and later Moscow) and their home societies. Acting within this function, the culture elites became the cipher for the transfer of European ideas coming from Paris andto Russia and then from there to the Caucasus. This applied to a range of figures such as Bakıxanov and the Georgian and Armenian intellectuals discussing their conception of Europe and the Caucasus in the coffee and tea houses of Tiflis. Nationalism and Marxism were the most important European imports to the region in the late 19th century, both of which exercised a formative influence on nearly the entire educated elite of the region, and the teachers’ seminary in Gori developed into the prototype forum of the nationalist awakening. Also participating in the Russian Marxist discourse, Caucasian intellectuals came into contact with European Social Democrats and as such were integrated in the wider European Socialist discourse as early as the end of the 19th century.
Whilst the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, the Caucasian republics chose the path of the nation state, the domestic course of which fluctuated between European-style Social Democracy and Nationalism. Europe remained the focal point around which these republics oriented themselves during their short-lived period of independence. The Caucasus and Europe converged on a foundation of anti-Bolshevism and anti-Communism.
The Sovietization of the Caucasus forced Europhile intellectuals from the region to continue their discovery of Europe and its ideas in European exile, whilst the Soviet Union transformed their homes into part of the “political unit of Greater 90 Caucasian intellectuals continued to operate in parallel worlds right up until the fall of Soviet Communism in 1991. Switching between the Soviet-Russian and local spheres – each with their own rules and forms – to a certain degree, such a life was imposed on all Caucasians, both Communists and members of the general public alike.“. Just as in the Baltic and Western Ukraine, the Sovietization of the Caucasus never achieved total cultural Russification and local languages remained firmly anchored in the population. The development of the Soviet Caucasian cultures within the framework of Socialist Realism imposed from above continued to be shaped by political and cultural dissidents such as the artist Elene Akhvlediani and the film producer Sergej Paradžanov. As with hundreds of other artists, they remained the products of their Soviet contexts and cultivated an intimate familiarity with Russian culture. Despite such cultural affinities, they never accepted or worked according to the Bolshevik formula of a “national form with a Socialist core”, itself a variation of Stalin’s 1925 dictum of “a proletarian message in a national form”.
Every aspect of the history of the Caucasus confirms this one precept – nothing formed this region more than its nature as a border-region sandwiched between a number of great powers and the competing influences of different cultures – Ottoman, Russian, Persian and European culture.
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- Georgian (kartuli ena), the only written language in the region with an independent written tradition served as the lingua franca of the Georgian cultural sphere, itself consisting of Imereti and Kartli-Kakheti, Abkhazia and Sochi. East Caucasian Muslims on the other hand spoke Aseri-Turkish. The London Turkologist Gandjei went as far as to contest that “before 1917, Azeri was the lingua franca of the whole Transcaucasia (except for some regions of Georgia) and South Dagestan.” (Gandjei, Azerbaijani 1998, p. 22). Subject to a feudal system, the pre-Russian Caucasus was dominated by aristocratic-clerical power structures. Georgians and Muslims obtained an education in a system of seminaries, the medrese and mekteb. Armenians had their own network of schools spread across the towns of the Middle East.
- Cf. Kazemzadeh, Russian Penetration 1974, p. 239.
- Cf. Leprince-Ringuet, L’avenir 1951.
- Seton-Watson, Russian Empire 1967, p. 776, Map 8. Stavropol und Maykop lie in present-day Russia. Artvin, Kars and Erzurum in what is now Turkey.
- Mesxia, Istorija Gruzii 1968, p. 3. In the Caucasus, Europe is conceived of as a single unitary structure. A division between Eastern and Western Europe is an unfamiliar concept.
- Cf. Brzeziński, Grand Chessboard 1997.
- The Georgian cultural historian Nino Chikovani speaks of a homogenous Caucasian cultural sphere, which developed despite the competing influences of a number of cultures, religions and civilizations in the various regions. Cf. Chikovani, Kavkazskoe kuľturnoe without year, without page. The Russian historian Vladimir Degoev locates the post-Soviet Caucasus between the “former East (Russia and Central Asia) and the current Western world”. Cf. Degoev, Kavkaz 2008, without page.
- A Presidential decree issued by Dmitrij Medvedev on 19 January 2010 removed the so-called Northern Caucasus (Severo-Kavkazskij Federal’nyj Okrug) from the larger Southern Caucasus (Južnyj Federal’nyj Okrug), establishing it as an autonomous unity. The government is not elected, but appointed by Moscow. Rotarʼ, V Rossii 2010, without page.
- The nature of the Caucasus and its possible classification is a matter of intense discussion. The Azerbaijani cultural historian Farchad Aliev divides the region into a Russian-dominated Northern area and the Southern Caucasus consisting of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Cf. Aliev, Evrazijstvo 2010, p. 110.
- The current population in the Caucasus as a whole – some 39–40 million people – can be subject to a three-fold classification according to language and ethnic characteristics. The Caucasian linguistic family includes those tongues prevalent in the Russian Northern Caucasus and Georgia. The most significant Indo-European languages include Armenian (with its own script), spoken in the Armenian Republic and the Azerbaijani province Nagorno-Karabakh as well as Russian, spoken by the ethnic Russians in the Northern Caucasus, Tbilisi and Baku. The third group is Turkish-speaking, to be found in Azerbaijan, Dagestan and elsewhere. The confessional structures found in these areas do not match ethnic and linguistic divisions. Orthodox Christians are predominantly to be found in Georgia and the Northern Caucasus. The Armenians and Ossetians are also a majority Christian people, whilst the majority of Azerbaijanis are Shiite Muslims; those in Northern Caucasus are Sunnis. The cities of Derbent, Zchinwali, Tbilisi, Baku and Quba provide a home to sizeable Jewish communities.
- A detailed treatment of the Georgian Church is provided by Heiser, Georgische orthodoxe Kirche 1989; Hage, Christentum 2007, pp. 112–126.
- These are Caucasuan Albanians (or Agwan/Aluank). Cf. Trever, Očerki 1959; Gippert, Palimpsests 2009.
- A history of the Armenian Church has been presented by Heyer, Kirche Armeniens 1978; Hage, Christentum 2007, pp. 226–262; Krikorian, Die armenische Kirche 2007.
- Rust’aveli was the author of the famous folk epic narrative Vepkhis t’q’aosani (“The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”) first printed in Tiflis in 1712. Its reprint from the 1880s was illustrated by the Hungarian painter and illustrator Mihály Zichy. Vepkhis t’q’aosani had already been translated into a number of European languages in the 19th and 20th centuries (Rust’aveli, Mann im Tigerfelle 1889). The work was also subject to an intensive reception in Soviet Georgia. See Neukomm, Schota Rustaveli 1988, vol. 14, pp. 499–501; Chotiwari-Jünger, Rust’aveli 2004. For an English translation: Rust’aveli, The Man in the Panther’s Skin translated by Majory Scott Wardropp 1912.
- Niẓāmī Ganǧawī is still viewed as the figure-hear of Azerbaijani national literature. His writings were translated into Azerbaijani in the 1940s and published in Baku. Ganǧawī, Niẓāmī 1940/1941.
- Also worthy of mention is the theological academy founded in Gelati (close to the former Georgian capital city Kutaisi) by the Georgian King David Agmašenebeli (the builder) in 1106. The academy was established on the model of the Mangana academy in Constantinople and regarded as a “second Athens”. Cf. Mepisašvili, foreword 1982.
- Cf. Anchabadze, History of Georgia 2005, p. 19.
- The Turkish-speaking tribes from Central Asia, who founded the state Ağ-Qoyunlu (“of the white mutton”) and Qara-Qoyunlu (“of the black mutton”) settled in what is modern-day Northern Iraq in the 13th century. Travelling further northwards at the end of the 14th century, Qara-Qoyunlu conquered Southern Azerbaijan between 1406 and 1408. The area dominated by Qara-Qoyunlu was conquered by the troops of Ağ-Qoyunlus in 1467. The ruler of Ağ-Qoyunlus, Uzun Hasan, viewed his role as a bulwark against Ottoman expansion, which reached Constantinople in 1453 and the Greek principality of Trebizond in 1461, thus approaching the border of Ağ-Qoyunlus. As the enemy of the Ottomans, the ruler of the Ağ-Qoyunlus established contact with the Western powers as part of a diplomatic strategy to form an anti-Ottoman alliance. See Machmudov, Dvuchstoronnie svjazi gosudarstv 1991.
- The U.S. historian Ronald Grigor Suny writes: “The Caucasus historically was an insecure frontier that presented dangers from mountaineers to Russians settling the steppe and opportunities to take on and weaken Iran and Turkey. South Caucasia later became attractive as a ‘colony’ to be exploited economically, an emporium for trading with the Middle East.” Suny, Pawn 2010, p. 11.
- Tiflis had already established itself as an important centre of culture in the 18th century. The first printing shop in the region opened in 1709.
- Osterhammel, Verwandlung 2009, p. 131.
- In 1897, Baku had a population of 111,904; this had grown to more than 210,000 by 1913. The number of Azerbaijanis had increased from 40,148 to 45,962 and the Armenians from 19,060 to 41,680. The growth of the Russian community was especially fast, increasing from 37,399 in 1897 to 76,288 in 1913 (figures from Altstadt, Azerbaijan’s Struggle 1997, p. 112). For Tiflis see Jahn, Tiflis 2008, p. 233–243.
- Cf. Adam, Russlandmuslime 2002.
- Examples include Grozny (“the terrible”), originally called Groznaja kreposť (“awe-inspiring fortress”), Vladikafkaz (“dominate the Caucasus!”) or Budenovsk (“the town of the Budennyj”), named after the Russian general Semjen M. Budennyj (1883–1973).
- Cf. Mirskij, Russland 1975, p. 359.
- Hofmann, Annäherung 1997, p. 74. Persecution of the Armenian Church began only between 1902 and 1903, with the expropriation of the Church Head-Quarters at Ečmiadzin (near to Yerevan). Followed by massive protest, the Russian authorities felt compelled to alter their policy. However, Ečmiadzin was again expropriated in 1928.
- ^ Sidorko, Dschichad 2007, p. 93.
- The Russian army fought a bitter war in the Northern Caucasus and thus had an interest in maintaining the loyalty of the Southern Caucasus.
- For details about Axundov see Kia, Akhundzade 1995, vol. 31,3, pp. 422–448.
- Bakıxanov worked on a short version of his Persian grammar primer for four years, presenting it to the Russian military authorities in Tiflis in 1829. Bakıxanov, Abbasqulu: Kratkaja Grammatika Persidskago Jazyka: Sočinennaja i perevedennaja, Tiflis 1841.
- The treatise Gülüstani Iram. The author translated sections of the book into Russian, which were published in Tiflis in the 1840s. The entire text was printed in 1926 in Baku. 1951 and 2000 saw the publication of an Azerbaijani translation in Baku. Bunijatov, Ot redaktora 1991, pp. 4–7; Bakıxanov, Gülüstani – Iram 1951.
- The Secrets of the Heavens was published in Ottoman Turkish in Istanbul (1848). The work first appeared in Azerbaijani in 1985 in Baku. Bāqīhānli, Äsraru-l-mäläkut 1985.
- Gori is located in close proximity to Tiflis, where a further Priest’s seminary was to include the later Soviet Dictator Stalin amongst its student body.
- The history of the trans-Caucasian teacher’s seminary has already been the subject of a number of investigations, but only ever within the tighter focus of Russian cultural policy or the lives of its significant graduates. (Cf. Ismayilov / Maksuell, Azerbaycan tarixi 2001, vol. 5). The teachers’ seminary was established on the initiative of the Russian Enlightenment thinker K. D. Ušinskij. It was transformed into a Pedagogical Institute with a two-year course in 1918. 1939 saw a further change, with it being renamed as the Gori State Pedagogical Institute. From 1939, the duration of the course was extended from two to four years. Cf. the Homepage of the University of Gori, History of the University http://www.gu.edu.ge/en/viewpage.php?page_id=1 [24/10/2011].
- The Lazarevskij Institut Vostočnych Jazykov (Lazarev Institute for Oriental Languages) in Moscow was founded in 1815. Cf. http://religion.ng.ru/history/2004-11-03/5_armenia.html[24/10/2011]. Further details in Bazijanc, Lazarevskij institut 1973.
- ^ Anonymous, Qori Müellimler Seminariyası 2005, vol. 2, p. 151–152.
- Černjaevskij (1840–1897) worked as the principal of the Nikolayev primary school (Tiflis) since 1870. He was appointed as the inspector of the Azerbaijani section of the Teacher’s seminary in Gori in 1879.
- The uprising in Quba in 1837. Cf. Sumbatzade, Kubinskoe vosstanie 1961.
- Cf. Jones, Administration 1987, vol. 65,1, p. 53–76.
- For the Šāmil movement and the anti-Tsarist resistance in the Caucasus, see Kemper, Herrschaft 2005; Sidorko, Dschichad 2007.
- This emigration has become known as the Muchadžirstvo (Muhajirun, from the Arabic muhacir meaning emigrant).
- This became especially important for the Armenians, who lived on the periphery of both the Ottoman and the Russian empires. The German Islamic scholar Udo Steinbach writes: “The Armenian tragedy consisted in the fact that an Armenian national consciousness had begun to form in this very period. Decades before, increasing tensions between the Armenians and their Muslim surroundings – both Turks and Kurds – sometimes resulted in pogroms. Nationalist Armenians called for an Armenian state and co-operated with Russia … This Russian advance into North-eastern Anatolia in early 1915 made the Armenian situation much more serious. Thousands joined with the advancing Russian troops; Armenian troops deserted from the Ottoman army to conduct guerrilla actions behind the Turkish lines. In this situation, the Ottoman government, reacting to pressure from the minister of the interior Talat Pascha, decided to resettle the Armenians from the war zone. Depositing them in Deir ez-Zor in the middle of the Syrian Desert, this action ended in a catastrophe for the Anatolian Armenians and others.” (Steinbach, Türkei 1996, p. 49f., transl. by A.S.)
- At the end of 1885, the Armenian intellectual Mkrtyč Portugaljan (1848–1921) founded the first Armenian political party Armenakan in the Turkish city of Van. Two years later, Armenian students from Tiflis launched an Armenian-language newspaper in Geneva (1887–1914) and founded the political party Hnčak (“Bell”) with the declared aim of “creating an independent Armenian state by breaking the enslaving chains of ‘the sick man of Europe'”. Quoted according to the Official Home Page [sic] of Armenian Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Australian Leadership, “Introduction to Social Democrat Hunchakian Party”, http://www.hunchak.org.au/aboutus/intro.html [24/10/2011]).
- Of especial interest are the contacts between to the deputies of the Duma, the Russian Social Democrats and the inter-peripheral contacts between the various imperial minorities. Writing his memoirs, the Georgian Social Democrat Noj Žordanija recalled his contacts to the Polish politician Roman Dmowski (1864–1939) in the Duma (cf. Zhordania, Moja žizn’ 1962).
- Of greatest significance was Müsavat Partiyası (“Equality Party”) founded in 1911. Erhard Stölting wrote: “Although nationalist with Pan-Turkish tendencies, the Musavat sought to establish a constitution closely resembling that of Western European democracies.” Stölting, Weltmacht 1991, p. 267, transl. by A.S.
- The Armenian equivalent was the party Haj Heghapochagan Dashnakcutjun (the Armenian Revolutionary Federation), one of the oldest parties in the Caucasus. Founded in Tiflis in 1890, it maintained a number of activists throughout the region.
- The so-called “March events” in Baku can serve as an example. The Armenians and Azerbaijani’s both conducted brutal massacres.
- The Polish consulate in Tiflis was financed by the Georgian state in its first months.
- See Zürrer, Kaukasien 1978.
- For an analysis of these treaties, see Mentešašvili, Okkupacija 1990.
- Zubov, Političeskoe buduščee 2000.
- According to the Azerbaijani exile historian Le Mir-Yacoub, the Bolsheviks killed some 12,000 people whilst suppressing this uprising. (Mir-Yacoub, Le Probléme 1933, p. 160). The Russian historian Andrej Zubov wrote that “the Bolsheviks killed almost the entire population of the town – more than forty-thousand people…”. (Zubov, Političeskoe buduščee 2000).
- Of the 336,000 Russians living in Southern Caucasus in 1926, 220,000 lived in Azerbaijan, 96,000 in Georgia and 19,500 in Armenia (cf. Poljakov, Sovetskaja strana 1986, p. 163).
- The prominent Armenian poet Egiše Čarenc (*1897) was murdered in 1937. (Kasbarian-Bricout, Les Armeniens 1984, pp. 105–114). The Azerbaijani peoet Mikail Müschfiq (*1908) was shot in Baku in 1938. The Azerbaijani poet Hüseyn Cavid (*1882) died in a camp in Irkutsk (Siberia) in 1941. Declared to be the “enemies of the people” all three writers were accused of nationalism and anti-Communism, a common charge in Stalinist Russia.
- The victims of the Stalinist purges included the Armenian Communists (Agasi Chandžjan and others), Azerbaijani (above all the former members of the Socialist party Hummet) and especially Georgian Communists.
- See the contributions by Sarkis Torossian, Mirza Bala, Nikolaus Imnashvili and Ali Kantemir in Deker, Genocide 1958.
- Cf. Maćków, Totalitarismus 2005.
- Cf. Ter Minassian, Aux origines 1978, vol. 19,1/2, p. 67–117; Keenan, Remarques 1962, vol. 3,2, p. 225–260; Imart, Un intellectuel 1967; Ter Minassian, Aux origines 1978 vol. 8,4, p. 528–559.
- Rubel, Stalin 1975, p. 19.
- Nărimanov graduated from the teachers’ seminary in 1908 and continued his studies in Odessa.
- After studying medicine in Tiflis, Sergo (Grigorij) Ordžonikidze was active in the Social Democratic Party in Baku from 1907. Fleeing to Paris from Siberian exile, he returned to St Petersburg in 1912 and rose to the position of Ukrainian Commissar in 1917. He made a decisive contribution to the Soviet occupation of the Caucasus. He led the Commissariat for heavy industry from 1932 until his death.
- As a protégé of both Stalin and Beria, Mir Džafar Bagirov was appointed Chairman of the Azerbaijani Communist Party. As chairman of the ministerial council, he was responsible for the Stalinization of Azerbaijan. He also penned a political history of the Northern Caucasus in the 19th century. (Bagirov, Mir Džafar: K voprosu o charaktere dviženija mjuridizma i Šamilja, Moscow 1950). He was shot in 1956, becoming a victim of Khrushchev’s programme of de-Stalinization.
- Studying at the Polytechnic Institutes in St Petersburg, Riga and Berlin, Stepan Šaumjan worked together with Stalin and Ordžonikidze in Baku from 1907. He was arrested in 1914 after organizing a strike. His death remains a point of speculation until this day. According to the general version, Šaumjan was shot (along with other Communists) in Turkmenistan on the orders of the British and members of the Musavat party and given a solemn funeral in Baku. According to an alternative version, Šaumjan managed to escape the firing squad as the exhumation of the cemetery in which the 26 Baku Commissars were buried failed to find Šaumjan’s body. Zabrodina, A byl li Šaumjan? Without year, without date.
- Nikolaj Marr was a linguist of Scottish-Georgian extraction. Exercising considerable influence in both the Soviet Caucasus and the USSR as a whole well into the 1930s, he analysed language in terms of the Marxist model of structure and superstructure (cf. Alpatov, Marr 1993).
- “Stalin’s Soviet Union was a Personal fiefdom run by a despot and his vassals.” Baberowski, Terror 2004, p. 15.
- A detailed treatment is provided by Hoffman, Kaukasien 1991; Mamulia, Gruzinskij legion 2007.
- Cf. Seely, Russo-Chechen Conflict 2001.
- Minister of the interior and First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, Michael Gorbachev appointed Eduard Shevardnadze Soviet foreign minister and as such he became an architect of the Cold War programme of détente. He finished his political career as President of Georgia 1992–2003. For further detail, see Schewardnadse, Vorhang 2007.
- Gejdar Aliev (1923–2003) led the Azerbaijani Komitet gossudarstwennoi besopasnosti pri Sowjete Ministrow SSSR (KGB) and was promoted to the position of First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party in 1969. Between 1982 and 1987 he was an active member of the Politburo in Moscow.
- Karen Demirčjan was the First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party between 1974 and 1988.
- Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1939–1993) was a philologist, cultural historian and a founder of the Helsinki Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Georgia. As a scholar, he worked on Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and an analysis of English and German literature. He was President of Georgia between 1990 and 1992. For further detail, see Gerber, Georgien 1997.
- Parujr Hajrikjan (*1949) studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Yerevan and joined the Armenian dissident movement as a student. Criticizing the Soviet Union and its policy towards Armenia, he was repeatedly arrested and was sent to a labour camp. Expelled from the Soviet Union in the 1980s, international pressure ensured that he was allowed to return to Armenia shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- For the dissident movement in the Caucasus, see Gasimov, Demokraten 2009.
- Graduates of the film academy include a large number of Caucasians who launched a career in the Soviet film industry. Worthy of mention are the Georgian director Tèngiz Abuladze – the author of the film Monanieba (“remorse”) who in 1986, anticipated Gorbachev’s Perestroika with his focus on the crimes of Stalin in film and television productions – and Otar Ioseliani, who attained international fame following his emigration in 1982 (cf. Fiant, Le cinema 2002).
- Published in Germany under the title “Feuerpferde”.
- “Fiľm, kototyj stal odnim iz samych jarkich sobytij sovetskogo kino pervoj poloviny 60-ch.” Quoted according to: http://viperson.ru/wind.php?ID=554987 [24/10/2011].
- http://www.parajanov.com/maestro.html [24/10/2011].
- Sayatʻ-Nova (1722–1795) was an Armenian folk singer at the court of the Georgian King. His songs were written in Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian.
- A Paradžanov museum, established in Yerevan in 1991 organizes international travelling exhibitions. Cf. Paradjanov, Collages 2008.
- “Vse znajut, čto u menja tri rodiny. Ja rodilsja v Gruzii, rabotal na Ukraine i sobirajusʼ umirať v Armenii.” Quoted according to: http://www.parajanov.camo.ru/interv.htm[24/10/2011].
- Cf. Sokolovskaja, Paradžanov 2001.
- Jagielski, Dobre miejsce 1994
- A number of wars took place between 1988 and 2010: the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over the province of Nagorno-Karabakh (1988–1994), the Georgian-Ossetian and the Georgian-Abkhazian war of the early 1990s and two wars in Chechnya against the Russians. 2009 saw the opening of hostilities between Georgia and Russia over Ossetia. All of the conflicts remain unsolved.
- Baberowski, Feind 2003, p. 28.
- Cf. Hassel, Krieg im Schatten 2003.
- The Georgian word terqdaleulebi refers to those who crossed the River Terek in order to study in Russia. A detailed account is available in Reisner, Tergdaleulebi 1994, pp. 125–137.
- For further information about the Soviet policy on writing see Baldauf, Schriftreform 1993; Frings, Sowjetische Schriftpolitik 2007.
- A good example is the poetry of Michail Lermontovs, the late Lev Tolstoj and many others. See Kissel, Mythos 2008, p. 165–176.
- The film directors Georgij Danelija, Eldar Šengelaja and Rustam Ibragimbekov, the actors Vachtang Kikabidze and Armen Džigarchanjan, the singers Muslim Magomaev and Nani Bregvadze and the Chechnyan dancer Machmud Esambaev all made a contribution to the pan-Soviet popular culture.
- A detailed account is available in Zelinskij, Nacionaľnaja forma 1957.
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