Reflection of the 1930s repressions in Contemporary Georgian School Textbooks

News | Research | Memory and Disinformation Studies | Article 1 December 2022

The "Great Terror" period of the 1930s, especially in its latter half, is a particularly traumatic and significant period in the history of Georgia, as well as other post-Soviet countries. The era, masterminded by Joseph Stalin, who was born in Georgia, was marked by the brutal tactics of the regime. The main goal of the architect of this regime was to completely subjugate society by eliminating political opposition, suppressing dissent, and instilling fear and terror in society.


In addition to other obstacles such as limited access to archives, events of the 1990s, and low levels of scientific research in Georgia, the mentioned era has not yet been fully studied and understood. Furthermore, according to official information from the archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, a fire that occurred in the archive of the former security agency (KGB of Soviet Georgia) destroyed an estimated 80% of the documents.


This study will review the teaching of the "Great Terror" of the 1930s, through the textbooks published and intended for schools during the period of Georgian independence. The trends in the study of the era, the time devoted to it, the participation and role of individuals (both victims and executioners) in textbooks will be discussed. The analysis will also touch on the trends in the reflection of Georgian and international scientific news in textbooks.


Since the 1990s, the reevaluation of this era in the post-Soviet space has varied: after achieving and establishing archival openness in some countries, adopting Lustration Laws and undergoing rapid decommunization, many scientific materials about the era have been accumulated and events analyzed. Transitional justice occurred in Western and Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries, and the events and the role of the individuals participating in it were properly evaluated. Therefore, it is crucial to critically analyze the interpretation of the period presented in the historical narrative, as it is through the critical reevaluation of history that nuanced knowledge from past experiences can be incorporated into modernity.



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This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.

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