Issue No2

2022 marks the 30 year anniversary of the 1991 – 1992 Tbilisi War. There is something historical about this issue, because this year, additionally to the above mentioned, marks  the end of the Covid pandemic and start of the Russian – Ukrainian war, which in present Georgia all crystalise under one word: trauma.

This magazine was conceived under the spell of Covid, when it became possible to dedicate more time to self reflection and evaluation, allowing our team to touch upon the most undefined and shadowy period  – the 90s and more specifically the Tbilisi War, because it is precisely this period which seems to me to have given birth to signs of an unhealthy and permanentaly traumastised society. The fact that there exists no consensus regarding the definition of the period proves that Georgia, as a society, hasn’t developed a language to even talk about the painful events that took place between 1991-1992.  James Baldwin stated “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” – and it is precisely this that our team and chosen writers attempt: to face the reality we live in.

My own research of the topic, either by interviews with as many and as diverse people as possible, or more academic, desk based research proved  to be a dance of “check-and-balance” to my own objectivity –  the capacity of maintaining it – because I could see a cloud of subjective judgement creeping into my understanding of the events. This revealed an intrinsic problem of attaining information, an epistemological issue – how do we approach a certain period of time and call it history? My own research on this is not yet finished, that is how complex the issue still remains to me. However, from the conducted interviews, I have decided to present the first part of my research in the form of a timeline, because remembering the  chronology of events proved difficult. This only revealed the pressing need finally to define the phenomenon of the 90s, which  I chose to name: Civil War.  A name that still carries shame for peoples across nations. Civil War is an ultimate sign of a failing state. And yet, one has to face the reality, to accept a certain level of inaccuracy and to share the responsibility rather than assigning blame. Blame and shame are the two dominant factors that impede the process of moving on.

Therefore, in attempting to face the reality, I have decided not to prioritize political discussion – a narrative in which society is prominently engaged – but instead to remove the subjectivity and create space for new, academic language to be born as we discuss the 90s, the Civil War, the Russian Military Coup, Putsch, Government military overthrow or whatever one might choose to call the history that took place through the lens of several subjects: history, sociology, economy, psychology, archives, personal stories. And yet to believe in the total removal of subjectivity is, nor should writers be asked of this – especially when the 90s trauma is still alive in all Georgian citizens. And therefore, this issue is an historic issue because I am asking the contributors and readers to think, analyze and reflect on the trauma while still being in trauma. Therefore, I am extending a broad thank you to all the contributors of the issue, all of whom accepted my invitation to donate articles for this issue without payment,– due to a shortage of funds.  This also means we were unable to provide translations  every article. However, we are carrying on regardless and will endeavor to have all articles translated and provided in an unbound annex format that will be available to pick up at Theatre Haraki or to receive online.

Perhaps in this force majeure situation – pandemic and war – it is the best time to reflect on unreflected.

Mariam Megvinyte


Ekaterine Chavchanidze
Ilo Ckheidze
Beka Kobakhidze
Mariam Megvinyte
Aleksandra Aroshvili
Stephen Jones 
Irakli Khvadagiani 
Ruska Zaalishvili

Photo Credits: 
Guram Tsibakhashvili
Georgian National Archive
Map of Tbilisi – Givi Shavdia’s Personal Archive

Graphic Design: 
Mariam Epitashvili 
Mariam Megvinyte 

The issue has been fully funded by the people!