Ajaran Armenians: Discovering a Seaside Diaspora

By Lilit Grigoryan and Pietro Shakarian Ajara is a unique region in the Caucasus. A state within a state, it is an autonomous republic of Georgia, located in the southwestern corner of the country on the Black Sea coast, with Turkey to the south. It is home to a significant Armenian community and has served…

Remembering Stalin in Russia and the South Caucasus

In the spring of 2013, major news outlets in Russia, the Caucasus, and the U.S. were abuzz with the news about “Stalin’s long shadow” (NYT), alarmed that “Stalin lives on” (Tert), and that he is “more popular in Russia now than at the end of the Soviet Union” (HuffPost). These articles referred to a survey,…

Commentary: Squandered Opportunity?: Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia, and the Sochi Olympics

The 2014 Sochi Oympics in Russia are due to start just a week from this Friday. Yet, when I was in Yerevan recently, I was somewhat surprised to see a total absence of discussion on the upcoming games. After all, Yerevan is located only 500 miles away from Sochi. Would not the Armenians stand to…

Political Posters Continued

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University, founded in 1959 on Herbert Hoover’s ideas on American government and enterprise, is a remarkable resource for giddy scholars everywhere. Besides enabling research in the social sciences, the Institution also has a rich archive, the gem of which (to me!) is a collection of more than one hundred thousand…

The Mother of All Statues

“Heavy Metal Motherland.” Historian Nina Tumarkin coined this term in The Living and the Dead to describe the woman-as-nation statues that rose across Soviet republics during and after World War II. Best known and often recalled are Kiev’s “Mother Motherland” (1981) and Volgograd’s “Motherland Calls” (1967), two gargantuan figures crowning memorial centers to the Great…