On October 10, 2022, The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) acquainted Erasmus+ financed study visit participants with the work and achievements of the Memory and Disinformation Studies Direction. The organizer of this event was a non-governmental organization “Gergarti”.
Erasmus+ financed study visit participants represented different countries: Baltic countries, Germany, Armenia, and Georgia — 22 people in total.
During the study visit, participants met with those organizations and individuals who work on reevaluating the Soviet past. They got acquainted with their research and expressed a wish to apply new knowledge and experience to their future work.
At the meeting, Memory and Disinformation Studies Direction Head, Anton Vatcharadze talked about IDFI and their research of the Soviet past and presented to the audience implemented projects, results, and future plans.
During the presentation, particular attention was paid to one of the most important projects of the IDFI — “Enhancing the Openness of State Archives in the Former Soviet Republics”; He also discussed developments in terms of the openness of archives, distinctive features of the research and challenges of various countries’ archives. Anton Vatcharadze noted that in order to ensure more openness, archives of all countries, including Georgia, need legislative reforms. He pointed out that accessibility to archives is a major challenge in many post-totalitarian countries, including those which have experience with the communist regime.
Anton Vatcharadze also acquainted Erasmus+ financed study visit participants with the specificity of measures taken while studying tombs in Khelvachauri, Batumi and underlined the importance of the Polish Memory Institute's (IPN) involvement in this research. Attention was paid to the features of the Soviet regime and the need to study remains found in these tombs.
During the study visit, participants also talked about the Occupation museum and the distinctions of the Stalin museum in Gori. They discussed those negative aspects that are caused by nostalgia for the Soviet past. In that regard Anton Vatcharadze presented to the participants the new project of the IDFI — “New identity of Gori”, its aims and activities. This project is directly connected with overcoming nostalgia for Stalin.
In the end, in the Q/A participants discussed questions and expressed interest to know more about the work of the Memory and Disinformation Studies Direction. That will enable them to apply experiences of other countries to their research interests.
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