“Christian Stalin” – The Paradox of Contemporary Georgian Politics



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Tartu Press


The following study sets as the starting point of analysis the paradox which one can observe in contemporary Georgian public space. Religious discourse refers to Stalin as a believer and even talks of his contribution to the revival of Christianity in the Soviet Union, despite the vast historical evidence suggesting otherwise. A considerable part of the Georgian population expresses respect or sympathy towards this historical figure. In this research, it is argued that explanations stemming from memory politics, nationalism or from the attempts of turning the image of Stalin into a commodity, fail to substantially address the puzzle and shed light on the phenomenon. Hence, the following study proposes a chain of signification developed within the discourse theory as a theoretical and methodological tool for looking at these developments. The discourse on national identity with Orthodox Christianity as a nodal point explains the possibility of such an image, religious Stalin, coming into existence.



Stalin, Georgia, National Identity, Discourse Theory, Orthodox Christianity, Gruusia, rahvuslik identiteet, diskursuse teooria, õigeusk