Forgotten History - Memory between Defiance and Collaboration (2016)

In 2016 The Soviet Past Research Laboratory (SOVLAB) implemented the project Forgotten History - Memory between Defiance and Collaboration in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation South Caucasus Regional Office. The goal of the project was to provide Georgian society with information on Soviet totalitarian state and to support development of educational resources about forgotten history of resistance against Soviet totalitarianism, reasons of collaboration and examples of civil activism.

The project studied development of initially official and after Sovietization the semi-legal organization the Red Cross Society that had been aimed at assistance of political prisoners in Russian empire and than in Soviet Union.

After Bolshevik coup d’état in October 1917 since huge mass of political prisoners appeared in Russia, and afterwards in the Soviet Union which Georgia was part of, need to establish semi-legal networks to organize support for the political prisoners became urgent. Red Cross Society served as such a network under soviet rule in Georgia. Unfortunately little is known of this experience of this network that was quite successful in supporting victims of Soviet repressions. Its history was lost due to “conspiracy” way of its operation and due to total destruction of illegal organizations and members of resistance movement by Soviet regime in 1937-38 years.

Therefore research of history of this organization, identification of members and creation of documental base, will affect society by providing with information about such experience of civil activism. This will support development of culture of memory, political responsibility and will become part of dealing with totalitarian past. As a result of the research a book will be published that will give floor to discussions at variety of institutions in Tbilisi like Writer's House of Georgia and Ilia State University. Same activities will take place in Georgia’s regions too – Batumi, Ozurgeti and Zugdidi.

In the farmeworks of the project a book "Forgotten History: Georgian Political Red Cross" was published (in Georgian).