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Vladimir Liparteliani

PhD Research

PhD Research in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures 


I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University. I completed my master’s degree in International Relations at Adam Mickiewicz University where I was honoured to work under Professor Radoslaw Fiedler’s supervision within Erasmus Mundus EMINENCE II funding program. My thesis examined role of Georgia’s territorial integrity for social and political stability in the South Caucasus and suggested mechanisms and strategies for its restoration. The studies throughout my master's degree have developed an effective basis for my current doctoral research where I explore the role of soft power in nation-building in Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I have published articles on politics in the South Caucasus region however my primary research interests centre around nationalism and its intersection with soft power in the geographical spaces of the former Soviet Union.

Project Title and Description

Soft Power in Georgia: How does Western and Russian soft power influence the Georgian conception of modern nationhood?
The post-Soviet space has been increasingly contested in recent years, none so hotly as the South Caucasus and in particular, Georgia. In its short life as a sovereign state Georgia has experienced war and attracted the advances of superpowers and trade blocs. Georgia has often seemed like an arena where other powers jostle for influence, a country where things are done to it rather than its people exerting agency. The South Caucasus region has long been a geopolitically important region, in terms of its strategic position as well as access to raw materials. Whereas much academic inquiry has focused on the security and military implications of twenty first century ‘Great Game’ in the region, less attention has been devoted to the exertion of soft power towards Georgia. The work that is available hints at a dynamic situation within the country, as the Georgian people’s sense of themselves evolves. In essence, the brief period of independence has seen a battle over the very nature of Georgian national identity. The goal of this project is to better understand the development of Georgian self-identity and the relationship between that and the soft power strategies of regional actors. The ultimate objective of this research is to provide a more nuanced understanding, than currently exists in the literature, of Georgia’s relationship with larger powers and the Georgians’ sense of themselves in the modern era. Although there is a burgeoning literature on both Georgia and the South Caucasus region, much less has been written on the attitude of the actual citizens towards external actors and potential or real hegemons, and how these opinions are changing. In particular, I am interested in how the West and Russian soft power has influenced Georgian nationhood. The central hypothesis I am working from is that nation-building process in Georgia has been strongly influenced by soft power of the West and Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Research interests

  • History of the Post-Soviet states
  • Nationalism and its intersection with soft power in the geographical spaces of the former Soviet Union
  • Politics in the South Caucasus and Central Asia