Khatuna Maisashvili


The aim of the article is to examine and analyze the specific Georgian peculiarities of the Glasnost policy in 1989-90, based on the relational content analysis of 158 media stories from four Georgian newspapers with different editorial policies. The term Georgian peculiarities refer to (1) media system specifics and (2) characteristic features of re-evaluation of Soviet History as a crucial part of Glasnost narrative. Studying the specific characteristics of Georgia’s mainstream media at that time is interesting in that it allows for (1) critical analysis of Hallin and Mancini’s theoretical approach and ways to enrich it through the study of media transformation from still authoritarian in form but, in essence, under a mixed type of political system (this process may be referred to as political uncertainty), and (2) accentuation of the media’s active role in shaping political and cultural memory. As for history’s reevaluation in Glasnost’s content, it still remains the main, dominant issue ultimately unrivaled (in terms of time and intensity) by any other issue proclaimed by Glasnost—be it food shortage exposed by the media or criticism of one-party rule. The issue of history’s reevaluation in the Soviet republics, in the so-called national periphery, acquired an even more critical meaning because the change brought about Perestroika there, along with the new political and social elites, placed history as the cornerstone of a future independent state, or metaphorically speaking, turned yesterday into today and further into tomorrow. This process proved to be so far-reaching that so-called inert Glasnost maintained its position even in the post-Soviet media for some time and with certain intensity. The main findings of the article are: 1) Identifying the unified and segmented paradigms of Glasnost in Georgia’s politics and media; 2) Defining the political attitudes of the Georgian political elites toward Glasnost, and 3) Distinguishing the concept of reinterpretation of history (in the Center, Moscow) from the concept of revisionism of history (National Peripheries of the USSR).


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glasnost, media, history, reinterpretation/revisionism, Georgia, elite

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