"Boundaries of History": Timothy Blauvelt, Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at School of Arts and Sciences at Ilia State University (Georgia), presents his book "Clientelism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba"
On December 09 the series of research seminar "Boundaries of History" is continuing with the presentation of the book “Clientelism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba” by Timothy Blauvelt, Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at School of Arts and Sciences at Ilia State University (Georgia)
When: December 09, 18:30 (UTC+3)
Format: hybrid. Please fill in the form to participate.
Working language: English
This book tells the astonishing story of early Soviet Abkhazia and of its leader, the charismatic Bolshevik revolutionary Nestor Lakoba. A tiny republic on the Black Sea coast of the USSR, Abkhazia became a vacation retreat for Party leaders and a major producer of tobacco. Nestor Lakoba became the unquestioned boss of Abkhazia, constructing a powerful local ethnic "machine" that became an influential component of Soviet patronage politics, provoking along the way accusations of nepotism, corruption, blood feuds, embezzlement, racketeering, and extrajudicial murder on a scale that shocked even hardened Communist Party investigators. Lakoba and his group faced a series of trials, investigatory commissions, and tribunals over allegations of malfeasance, yet they were repeatedly able to convince their powerful patrons of their irreplaceability, until at last they were destroyed through a public show trial during the peak of the Stalinist Terror. Through the prism of tiny Abkhazia, this book provides invaluable insights into the nature of the early Soviet system and the governance of Soviet national republics.
This talk will draw out some of the key aspects of the intersection of patronage politics and nationality policy in Soviet Abkhazia in the 1920s and 1930s.
Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at School of Arts and Sciences, Ilia State University (Georgia)
TIMOTHY KEVIN BLAUVELT, Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at School of Arts and Sciences, Ilia State University (Georgia)
Timothy Blauvelt has been on the faculty of Ilia State University since 2011. Prior to that he taught Soviet political history at Tbilisi State University for five years. He initially came to Georgia to conduct research for his PhD dissertation in 1999-2000 (which he defended at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2001), and returned as a Fulbright visiting professor in 2002-2023.
Areas of research: Russian and Soviet History, the Caucasus, Nationalism and Nationality Policy, Language and Language Policy
He is currently also Regional Director for the South Caucasus for American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS.
He has published numerous articles about Russian and Soviet, and Caucasus political history, clientalism, nationality policy and nationalism in Ab Imperio, Europe-Asia Studies, Communist & Post-Communist Studies, Kritika, Nationalities Papers, War & Society, Revolutionary Russia, The Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Caucasus Survey, and Central Asian Survey.
He has been part of the research group of the Era.Net Rus Plus project “Post-imperial diversities. Majority-minority relations in the transition from empires to nation-states” implemented in 2018-2022 by researchers from the Center for Historical Research in collaboration with the Karelian Institute of the University of Eastern Finland and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity of the University of Göttingen, Germany. His contribution: chapter in the final volume on the subject “AUTONOMY OR UNITARY SOVEREIGNTY: THE GEORGIAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC AND ABKHAZIA, 1918-1921” (together with Anton Vacharadze).
His book “Georgia after Stalin: Nationalism and Soviet Power,” co-edited with Jeremy Smith, was published by Routledge in 2015.
Timothy Blauvelt’s recent book: “Clientelism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba” (Routledge, book series “Imperial Transformations – Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet History”, 2021).