Through an evocation of the large-scale nationalist demonstrations of March 4-10, 1956 in Georgia ― following Khrushchev’s criticism of Stalin at the 20th Party Congress ―, as they are reflected in Georgian KGB and party archives, T. Blauvelt tentatively reconstructs the struggle of the Georgian Communist political leadership against the change in the republic’s status. He sheds light on the positive result of this mobilisation on the final promotion of Georgia to an ‘integralist’ status, comparable to that of the three Baltic republics ― viz., a republic “where élites had limited opportunities in the centre of the Soviet Union, but enjoyed free reign over nominations and cultural and local affairs” within their own republic, “as long as they [. . .] kept overt expressions of nationalism to a minimum (667).” T. Blauvelt also suggests that, whatever their role in the events of 1956, the Georgian leadership later tended to mobilise more and more openly to gain dividends from the centre (like in the April 1978 demonstrations against the change in the status of Georgian language in the new constitution). In all, this well-based and extremely innovative study paves the way for the historical reconstruction still to be done of the much more eventful than supposed Soviet period.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-3.3.D-223