WiP: Georgian Bolsheviks and the Making of the Multiethnic Soviet Empire – Erik Scott

American Councils, CRRC and ARISC are proud to present the 23rd talk in the Spring/Summer 2013 Works-in-Progress Series:

Erik Scott, University of Kansas

“Revolutionaries Between the Caucasus and the Kremlin: Georgian Bolsheviks and the Making of the Multiethnic Soviet Empire”
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 6:15pm

ISET/CRRC Georgia, Zandukeli St. 16, Tbilisi, GEORGIA 

The “Russian Revolution” was made mainly by non-Russians and revolutionary ferment was often greatest among groups for whom class revolution and national revolution coincided. Accordingly, many Georgian Bolsheviks eagerly joined in the construction of a multiethnic Soviet state on the territory of the old Russian Empire. Their presence in prominent political positions was striking: Sergo Ordzhonikidze supervised the massive industrialization drive as Commissar of Heavy Industry, Avel Enukidze headed the powerful Presidium of the Central Executive Committee and, of course, Joseph Stalin (Dzhughashvili) was General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. While these figures are well known, their relationship to each other, and to their native Georgia, has been less studied. By examining letters, diaries, and memoirs, this talk will bring to light the so-called “Caucasian group” that came to power in the 1920s and 1930s. It will explore what held this group together, how they saw themselves, and how they were seen by others. In so doing, it will consider what made Georgian political networks different and in some ways more effective than those of other groups competing for power in the early Soviet Union. Finally, it will look at the relationship between Georgian political dominance and the dissemination of Georgian culture throughout the Soviet Union.

Erik Scott is Assistant Professor of Russian and Soviet history at the University of Kansas. He is currently completing a book manuscript exploring the evolution of the multiethnic Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991 as viewed from the perspective of its internal Georgian diaspora. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and was the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Caucasian and Central Asian Affairs at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies from 2011 to 2012 and a Title VIII Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute in 2012.

W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the International School of Economics (ISET) building (16 Zandukeli Street). It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to natia@crrccenters.org.