WiP: The Religious Renaissance and its Political Implications in Post-Soviet Georgia, October 30 – Mariam Naskidashvili

American Councils and CRRC present the 9th talk in the Fall 2013 Works-in-Progress Series!

Mariam Naskidashvili 

Orthodox Politics: The Religious Renaissance and its Political Implications in Post-Soviet Georgia 
Wednesday, 30 October, 2013 at 6:15pm

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

This research examines the rise of the Orthodox religion in post-Soviet Georgia and its political implications. It looks at two major explanations for this religious revival: 1) socio-political condition;s and 2) the ideological vacuum created by the fall of Communism. The research focuses on the emergence of the Georgian Orthodox Church as a key political player and examines the different leverages that the church uses to influence political processes in Georgia. It investigates two major questions: whether the Georgian Orthodox Church is a political actor, and what leverage it uses to influence politics. It looks at the period between 2002—when the Constitutional Agreement between the Georgian Orthodox Church and the state of Georgia was signed—to 2013, examining the Church’s latest involvements in the parliamentary elections. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured interviews, as well as secondary sources, the thesis argues that the Orthodox Church developed into a key political organization. It demonstrates how the Church drew upon its alliances with various political parties, utilized public support and employed informal methods to influence politics and guarantee a steady income from the state.

Mariam Naskidashvili recently graduated from the University of Oxford with an MSc in Russian and East European Studies with a full scholarship from the Open Society. She also holds an MA degree in Political Science from Leiden University (the Netherlands) with a scholarship from the Development and Reform Foundation. Ms. Naskidashvili has been working with international media organizations such as BBC and France 24 in South Caucasus prior to entering Oxford. She currently works for CARE international in the South Caucasus–an international non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian relief and development work in the region.


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.