<<< Der Kaukasus und Europa / Caucasus and Europe
Post-Soviet Transformation trends in the South Caucasus
Hayk Demoyan (Director of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia)
The rapid development of the communications, border changes and migration waves changed drastically the dynamics of identity making processes and transformation of identities on the post Soviet space.
The demise of the Soviet Union triggered an enormous wave of transformation on the social, ethnic, national and state levels. The new debate of the identity and belonging shaped national and international discourses revealing conflicting potential for the different approaches and interpretations. Instead of general megaidentity (‘Soviet people’) an old identity models were revitalized and new identification schemes created.
The post Soviet transformations catalyzed the reinterpretation of the historical past and memory, much debated during and after Gorbachev’s limited liberalization reform initiatives.
Geographic belonging as an indicator of such interpretation caused symbolization of that geography, including historical geography long suppressed by the Soviet censors. The actuality of the regional and identity belonging turned to be in the future development strategies and membership.
The Diaspora and Diaspora making process was regarded as national strategy in terms of providing lobbyist groups in abroad and counterbalancing of competition between neighbor nations, especially in the conflicting zones.
Ethnopolitical conflicts in the South Caucasus region became definitive in the creation of new dividing lines and creation of the enemy images and xenophobic rhetoric. It triggered a huge potential for ‘hate speech’ on the socio-political level and media discourse.
Revitalization of the religious life went parallel with the establishment of new religious groups and sects, finding different approaches among the local population.
New gender roles in the traditional Caucasian societies and gender relationships were challenged in a very dramatic way, mostly for setting new roles for women in the family care and everyday life.
The constant identification markers (religion, language, alphabet, family name, etc.), which constituted a firm basis for the local nationalism among Armenians and Georgians were preserved during the Soviet time, although in Azerbaijan a debate for changing Russified family names and Cyrillic alphabet was on agenda.
Political mythology, reinterpretation of the events of the past or simply attempts to create the current histories and myths turned as suitable tools for formation of new identity models during the process of legitimization of the political power in the South Caucasus. This process revealed very interesting models of copying civilization models of neighboring nations mostly in the context of balancing competitive approaches.
The process of the identity formation is continuous and post Soviet transitions could have new interesting examples of identification transformations.
Slide show of the visual materials will be presented during the paper presentation.