Void Pasts and Marginal Presents

New publication in Slavic Review. Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. (73, 2)

Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen: Void Pasts and Marginal Presents: On Nostalgia and Obsolete Futures in the Republic of Georgia


In contemporary Georgia and beyond, nostalgia for the Soviet past is often ridiculed and dismissed as a reactionary wish to turn back time. In this article, however, I explore generational nostalgia as temporal displacement of present political struggles. Drawing on life story interviews with middle-aged and elderly people in the provincial town of Gori, I argue that nostalgic longings may be understood as active attempts to presence personal pasts and futures that have publicly been rendered absent by an official rhetoric and practice that explicitly rejects the Soviet past. From this perspective, post-Soviet generational nostalgia temporally connects several dimensions of absence: the experience of one’s personal past being publicly cast as void; a perceived lack of social security, influence, and significance in the present; and a dynamic whereby these two dimensions render former dreams and visions for the future obsolete.


Exchange PhD candidate Tamuna Lomadze

TamunaTamuna Lomadze is exchange PhD candidate within the Erasmus Mundus Eminence program. Her area of studies is sociolinguistics and the topic of her thesis is “Cognitive Aspects of Communicative Influence on Public Opinion”.

Tamuna is visiting Malmö University for 18 months during the academic years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. Her home institution is the Department of Kartvelology and Sociolinguistics, School of Humanities of Saint Andrews Georgian University, Tbilisi, Georgia (link).

Exchange PhD candidate Maka Tetradze

Maka Tetradze is exchange PhD candidate within the Erasmus Mundus program. She is visiting Malmö University and Caucasus Studies for the two academic years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. She is working on a dissertation on the Lezgian language (Dagestan, Northest Caucasian languages).

Her home institution is Tbilisi State University and the Chikobava Institute of Linguistics.

Georgia after the Soviet collapse

Websem11Welcome to a web and campus seminar with Visiting professor Alexandre Kukhianidze, Professor of Political Science at Tbilisi State University, followed by discussion on Skype and in the studio:
Georgia after the Soviet collapse. What is Georgia today?

Participation: Online or campus.
When? September 10, 16.30–ca 18.00.
Where? Online (www.mah.se/imer/caucasusstudies) or Malmö University campus studio​ at Kranen
Open to staff and students

More information: 



De-facto Entities In the Post-Soviet Space: Dynamics and Prospects

defactoSenior lecturer Märta-Lisa Magnusson participates in the conference “De-facto Entities in the Post-Soviet Space: Dynamics and Prospects” (September 4-5, 2014) as an invited speaker. The title of her paper is De-facto States in the Context of the Current International Law and International Politics.

The conference is organized by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, University of Fribourg, Switzerland) and Caucasus Institute, Yerevan, Armenia).

  • Conference program: link
  • Summaries and comments (in Russian): link
  • More information: link

The Sochi Predicament

The Sochi Predicament:
Contexts, Characteristics and Challenges of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014

Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Sochi_CSP“For a variety of political, climatic, ecological, security-related and other reasons, the Russian summer resort of Sochi by the Black Sea would seem a most unlikely candidate for the Olympic Winter Games. Despite this, the Games will be held there in February 2014, and the Russian leaders regard the Games as a highly prestigious project underlining Russia’s return to a status of great power in the contemporary world. This book conducts a thorough inventory of the contexts, characteristics and challenges facing the Sochi Games. It deals with the problems from Russian, Georgian, Abkhazian and Circassian perspectives and makes in-depth analyses of profound challenges related to matters such as identity, security, and ethnic relations. The book brings together an international group of eminent scholars representing different disciplinary perspectives, including political science, sports science, ethics, ethnology, and Caucasian studies.”

Karina Vamling is the co-editor together with Bo Petersson. Lars Funch Hansen and Revaz Tchantouria, both lecturers at Caucasus Studies, are the authors of two of the chapters.

Table of Contents

The Sochi Winter Olympics: Walking  Tightrope?
– Bo Petersson and Karina Vamling

Part I: Olympic Perspectives
1 Snow, Ice, and Vertical Drops: What is Different about the Sochi Olympics?
– Raymond Taras
2 The Sochi Winter Games: Marketing and Sustainable Development—Or Neither Nor?
– Karin Book
3 Environmental Ethics and the Olympics: On the Reconstruction of Nature for Sport
– Kutte Jönsson

Part II: Identity Matters
4 Olympism and Empire: The Olympic Myth in the Contestation of the Caucasus
– Emil Persson
5 Sochi as a Site of Circassian Long-Distance Memorialisation
– Lars Funch Hansen
6 The Sympols of Sochi 2014: Searching for the Visual Signs of New Russian Political Identity
– Sergei Akopov and Vitalii Volkov

Part III: Internal Order and Security
7  Russia’s Olympic Discourses: Effects of Unification and Diversification
– Andrei Makarychev
8  Securitization in the North Caucasus on the Eve of the Sochi Games
– Uliana Hellberg
9 The Terrorist Threat Against Sochi 2014
– Jakob Hedenskog

Part IV: Caucasian Knots
10 Security of the Winter Olympics in Sochi from a Georgian Perspective
– Alexandre Kukhianidze
11 Abkhazia and the Preparations for the Sochi Games
– Revaz Tchantouria
12 Disputed Frontiers: Abkhazia in Russia’s Sochi 2014 Project
– Helena Rytövuouri-Apunen

Caucasus Studies’ Web Seminars

Caucasus Studies at Malmö University invites you to take part in two web seminars on May 30 and 31. You are welcome to participate in the seminar room on campus in Malmö or to sign up as an online participant and follow the seminar on live video and chat (details below).

1. What makes the Caucasus an area?
May 30, 13.30-15.30, room 107, Citadellsvägen 7, Malmö University

2. Why does the Caucasus host so many separatist conflicts?
May 31, 10.15-12.00, room 408, Citadellsvägen 7, Malmö University

In the first seminar we will discuss our understanding of the Caucasus as an area — as an object of area studies. The Caucasus has a long tradition of being described as a geographic region, but what other perspectives determine this area: culture? geopolitics? history?

Invited speakers in the panel — representing diverse disciplines such as Linguistics/Anthropology, Political Science and History – approach the question: Prof. Kevin Tuite (Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena/Montreal University), Frederik Coene (EEAS, Brussels) and Dr. Oliver Reisner (Delegation of the EU to Georgia). Introduction: Prof. Karina Vamling, Malmö University.

The second seminar focuses on the striking development in Post-Soviet Caucasus of the outbreak of a number of violent separatist conflicts.

The issue is discussed by Prof. Pål Kolstø, Institute of East European and Oriental Studies, University of Oslo, and Dr. Märta-Lisa Magnusson, Dept. of IMER, Malmö University. Introduction: Prof. Bo Petersson, Malmö University.

New publication: Caucasus Studies series

Language, History and Cultural Identities in the Caucasus, Caucasus Studies 2,  Vamling, Karina (ed.) is a new publication from Caucasus Studies at Malmö University.


Kevin Tuite: The Autocrat of the Banquet Table: the political and social significance of the
Georgian supra

Andrea Kuzmich: Continuity of a Tradition: A Survey of the Performance Practices of Traditional Polyphonic Songs in Tbilisi

Marine Beridze and Manana Kobaidze: An Attempt to Create an Ethnic Group: Identity Change Dynamics of Muslimized Meskhetians

Tinatin Bolkvadze: The Georgian Language and Cultural Identity in Old Georgia: An Examination of Some Conceptual Foundations

Manana Tabidze: The Modern Language Situation in Georgia: Issues Regarding the Linguistic Affiliation of the Population

Karina Vamling and Revaz Tchantouria: Language Use and Attitudes among Megrelians in Georgia

Rune Westerlund: The Present-day Situation of the Minority Ethno-Linguistic Peoples within the Avaric Region in the Republic of Dagestan

Ib Faurby: Human Rights, Terrorism, and the Destruction of Chechnya

Märta-Lisa Magnusson: Why No Settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict?
– Which are the obstacles to a negotiated solution?

Nino Amiridze: Discrepancies between Form and Meaning: Reanalyzing Wish Formulae
in Georgian

Kojima Yasuhiro: Two Types of Relative Clauses in Modern Georgian