THE IMAGE OF RUSSIA IN THE IDENTITY POLICY OF POST — SOVIET GEORGIA’S ELITES

A.M. Ponamareva

Anastasia M. Ponamareva, Moscow State University M.V. Lomonosov, Lenin Hills, 1, Moscow, 119991, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

ORCID 0000-0001-6585-4558

Abstract. The paper analyzes the dynamics of Georgia’s interaction with Russia to demon- strate the limitations of the explanatory potential of the classical concepts of international relations theory (IRT) in predicting foreign policy tactics of smaller states, and to substanti- ate the appropriateness of addressing to the identity concept and to the theory of construc- tivism. The aim of the research is to find out why potential advantages of mutually beneficial economic and diplomatic cooperation fail to stop regular anti-Russian attacks of Georgia’s political leadership. To answer the question, the author takes the following steps: 1) singles out the concepts of IRT that provide a useful toolset in demonstrating the role of national identity in foreign policy; 2) gives a concise description of identity policy in independent Georgia while concentrating on its key elements; 3) determines what institutional decisions support the idea of Georgia’s original “Europeanism”, and whether it will admit to maintain partnership with Moscow. The author traces, along historical lines, the transformation of the image of Russia from ‘significant’ to ‘hostile Other’ in the identity politics of Georgian elites. The machinery of creating the image of ‘we-community’ and establishing the distinc- tion between Us and Them, all of them based on historical memory, is disclosed. In addition, socio-cultural foundations to account for the lack of progress on the way of normalizing Georgian-Russian ties are revealed.

Key words: identity, balance of threat, economic interdependence, constructivism, social order, historical memory policy, political elites, places of memory, Georgia, Russia.

DOI: 10.31429/26190567-20-3-106-126