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Georgia: Post-Stalin Politics
Country Study > Chapter 1 > Historical Background > Within the Soviet Union > Post-Stalin Politics


Upon Stalin's death in 1953, Georgian nationalism revived and resumed its struggle against dictates from the central government in Moscow. In the 1950s, reforms under Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev included the shifting of economic authority from Moscow to republic-level officials, but the Russian Khrushchev's repudiation of Stalin set off a backlash in Georgia. In 1956 hundreds of Georgians were killed when they demonstrated against Khrushchev's policy of de-Stalinization. Long afterward many Stalin monuments and place-names -- as well as the museum constructed at Stalin's birthplace in the town of Gori, northwest of Tbilisi -- were maintained. Only with Mikhail S. Gorbachev's policy of glasnost in the late 1980s did criticism of Stalin become acceptable and a full account of Stalin's crimes against his fellow Georgians become known in Georgia.

Between 1955 and 1972, Georgian communists used decentralization to become entrenched in political posts and to reduce further the influence of other ethnic groups in Georgia. In addition, enterprising Georgians created factories whose entire output was "off the books" to become a party first secretary at the district level in 1961. From 1964 until 1972, Shevardnadze oversaw the Georgian police from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he made a reputation as a competent and incorruptible official.

Data as of March 1994

Last Updated: March 1994

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Georgia was first published in 1994. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Georgia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 19 of 102


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