THE BEGINNINGS OF NATIONAL POPULISM IN POST-SOVIET GEORGIA
Georgia is among the countries to which the identity crisis and exclusionary nationalism posed serious problems at the dawn of independence and determined political and social disintegration. The situation changed in the subsequent period and, in parallel to strengthening pro-European political aspirations, the Georgian national project gradually acquired civil characteristics. This study focuses on exploring the role of the West (and attitudes toward the West in general), with its political and cultural meanings, in the formation of alternative identity discourses. The ultimate goal is to analyze the post-Soviet experience of the country in terms of Europe’s role in Georgian public discourses; what is the extent of the West’s role in the process of the formation of different national identities? The research question is closely related to the fundamental problems of the Georgian nation on the way to building a European nation-state. The problem analyzed in the book is a part of the recent history of Georgia. Processes that developed in the research period have largely determined domestic and international political developments and also conditioned many achievements and failures of post-Soviet Georgia. At the present stage of the country’s development, it is vital to provide a critical analysis of the way the Georgian state has progressed since independence. Analyzing these processes from the perspective of identity studies will contribute to rethinking Georgia’s past, as well as determining the regional and international context of current events. The main novelty is the comprehensive study of Georgian populism, in which the Western world is represented as the major supply-side of populist mobilizations in Georgia.
Keywords: Georgia, West, populism, nationalism, identity, discourse.