Georgian nonconformism during the Soviet period

The Soviet period in Georgia, spanning from 1921 to 1991, was marked by a complex and often tumultuous relationship between the Georgian people and the Soviet regime. The period was characterized by a unique form of nonconformism, a resistance to the Soviet ideology and policies, which manifested in various forms including cultural, political, and religious expressions. This nonconformism was not only a reflection of the Georgian people’s desire for independence, but also a testament to their resilience and determination to preserve their national identity.

The cultural nonconformism in Georgia was particularly evident in the realm of arts and literature. Despite the strict censorship and control exerted by the Soviet regime, Georgian artists and writers managed to subtly challenge the Soviet ideology through their works. They often used symbolism and allegory to express their dissent, and their works often contained subtle references to Georgian history and traditions, which were seen as a form of resistance against the Soviet attempts to erase national identities.

One of the most notable examples of this cultural nonconformism was the Tbilisi-based literary group “Blue Horns”, which emerged in the 1920s. The group, which included prominent writers and poets such as Paolo Iashvili and Titsian Tabidze, rejected the socialist realism imposed by the Soviet regime and instead embraced symbolism and modernism. Their works were often critical of the Soviet regime and expressed a longing for freedom and independence.

Political nonconformism in Georgia was also significant during the Soviet period. This was manifested in various forms of resistance against the Soviet regime, ranging from passive resistance to active opposition. One of the most notable instances of political nonconformism was the 1956 Tbilisi riots, which were sparked by Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Joseph Stalin, a native of Georgia. The riots, which were brutally suppressed by the Soviet authorities, were a clear demonstration of the Georgian people’s rejection of the Soviet regime and their desire for independence.

Religious nonconformism was another important aspect of Georgian resistance during the Soviet period. Despite the Soviet regime’s attempts to suppress religion, the Georgian Orthodox Church managed to survive and even thrive during this period. The church became a symbol of national identity and resistance against the Soviet regime, and its leaders often spoke out against the Soviet policies. The church’s resilience was a testament to the deep-rooted faith of the Georgian people and their determination to preserve their religious traditions.