The ‘Mingrelian Question’: Institutional Resources and the Limits of Soviet Nationality Policy, by Timothy K. Blauvelt

Mingrelians in Zugdidi

Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 66, No. 6, August 2014, 993–1013

Abstract

Based on primary source materials from the Georgian Party archive and periodical press, this article examines the conflict between central and local elites in the Soviet Republic of Georgia over whether or not to grant linguistic and territorial rights to residents of one of its regions. The case demonstrates how the promises and aspirations of Soviet nationality policy were actually negotiated and interpreted on the local level in the early years of Soviet power, and how actors attempted to make use of nationality policy in order to mobilise the institutional resources available to them.

THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES THE CONFLICT BETWEEN CENTRAL AND LOCAL elites in the Soviet Republic of Georgia over whether or not to grant linguistic and territorial rights to residents of one of its regions. The case demonstrates how the promises and aspirations of Soviet nationality policy were actually negotiated and interpreted on the local level in the early years of Soviet power, and how actors attempted to mobilise the institutional resources available to them. This confrontation over the implementation of Soviet nationality policy in turn became one over the definition of Georgian national identity. This article makes use of reports, letters and petitions from the Georgian Party archive as well as the public discussion of the issue in the local periodical press.

The full text in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (178 KB)

See also:

+ Who are the Mingrelians? Language, Identity and Politics in Western Georgia, by Laurence Broers

+ Yet a third consideration of Völker, Sprachen und Kulturen des südlichen Kaukasus, by George Hewitt

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