Virtual Platform for Understanding the Soviet Past

31 Jan, 2011

On January 25, the Soviet Past Research Laboratory unveiled its virtual Platform: Understanding the Soviet Past’ project at The Goethe-Institut.  The event was accompanied by the discussions on the topic “The Georgian Writings in the Soviet System: Dimension of Reality”.

The absence of one documental archive of the Soviet era in the present-day Georgia inspired the authors to embark on the project.  The purpose of the project is to develop an educational resource using modern technologies and encourage by this tool discussions over totalitarianism, Stalin-era repressions and generally about the Soviet period.  It also aims to increase citizens’ awareness about the issues.

“We think that reconsidering the Soviet past is necessary:  Evaluating the 70-year period not only from the perspective of a victim, but talking openly about the responsibility of the public, coming to terms to the past without coloring it or  surrounding it by the veil of mystification; we think the process should lay the foundation to the formation of the society that will be able to acknowledge its own responsibility, see real problems and try to deal with them independently”, says Ana Margvelashvili, the founder of the Soviet Past Research Laboratory.

As part of the project a unified archive of histories of repression victims collected through interviewing witnesses and their families will be created.  The archive will also contain photos and documental materials collected from the same sources.  For ten months the Goethe-Institut will hold lectures and discussions on a monthly basis.   Representatives of all social and age groups will take part in it.  This will give an opportunity to specialists, researchers, interested people and young generation to learn about and research their most recent history.  It is planned to hold 10 thematic discussions and collect the same number of oral histories for the research of the historical memory.  The meetings will be streamed through the webpage (, in order to make it available to the wider audience.

“The research of the Soviet past is an important initiative.  Not only will it help us to analyze our past but also to better understand and deal with our current problems”, said Khatuna Ioseliani, head of the Open Society Georgia Foundation Civil Society Support Program.

The support for the project was provided by the Open Society Georgia Foundation.  The Goethe Institute and Netgazeti ( are the partners of the project.

For further information, please visit the webpage –