Project title: Commemoration of the First Mass Graves of the Victims of the Soviet Regime Discovered in Georgia
Supported by: International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
Duration: November 1 – February 28
In 2019, it became known that the mass graves of the victims of the 1937-1938 Soviet repressions were discovered in Adjara, Georgia. The discovery of the mass graves is very important event for Georgia because the studies of the stories of the repressed persons, their proper commemoration and immortalization have a key role in the formation of collective memory of the countries and the rethinking of the totalitarian past, which is proved by the experience of the other post-Communist countries. At the initial stage, particular steps were taken by the government for studying the mass graves. However, soon, the state interest and attention toward this issue decreased and there is no significant progress in this direction after a year of the discovery. Moreover, there is a particular controversy among the local Muslim and Christian population regarding the religious ceremonies for burying the discovered bodies, because, presumably, there are Muslims among them, which is also proved by IDFI’s research. For this, 150 bodies are still preserved on the lower ground floor of Holy Mother Virgins Nativity Cathedral in Batumi. Considering this situation, IDFI’s project aims to enhance dialogue between local Muslim and Christian communities, raise public awareness about the discovered mass graves and attract government’s attention to this issue. For this, the organization plans to create special section on the website, which will include the interviews with the descendants of the repressed individuals, their family archives and other materials. Also, with the frame of the project, IDFI will hold a roundtable discussion among local Muslims and Christians and launch an advocacy campaign for the government to take appropriate steps for studying the graves and commemorating the victims of repressions.
The objectives of IDFI’s project are as follows:
- Raising public awareness about the discovered mass graves in Adjara;
- Enhancing dialogue among the local Muslim and Christian population;
- Attracting government’s attention to the issue of the discovered mass graves in Adjara in order to take appropriate steps for studying the graves and commemorating the victims of repressions.
- Identification of the descendants of the victims;
- Conducting interviews with the descendants of the victims of repressions, collecting their oral histories and family archives;
- Creation of the special section on IDFI’s website about the victims of Stalin’s Terror, on which the materials collected within the frame of the project will be uploaded;
- Organizing roundtable discussion on mutual agreement involving local Muslims and Christians;
- Launching advocacy campaign, including writing and promotion of articles, videos and visualizations about the discovered graves and Soviet repressions;
- Elaboration of recommendations for the government in collaboration with international organizations;
- Preparation of final report.
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