Re-Thinking of History in Glasnost-Period Georgian Official Press


This article represents the independent part of the broad academic project conducted by the author at Tbilisi State University. The article, on the basis of triangulation content analysis of four official publications of the Glasnost-period Soviet Georgia during 1986-1990, studies the trends of the process of re-writing of the past declared by the last Soviet Authorities. The main focus of the article is an inter-replacement of official and unofficial versions of histories in Georgia, or expressing more imaginably—yesterday as today or restoration of historical truth and justice as ideological change. The author concerns discursive and non-discursive realities in Glasnost-Period official press in Soviet Georgia. The term “official publications” implies newspapers that were official bodies of the Soviet and communist-party authorities of Georgia. The range of these publications in the article includes Georgian-language and Russian-language dailies, as well as the official youth press in both languages. The hypotheses of the study are posed to: 1) the time dimension of the re-assessment of history; and 2) the ideological platform of the re-interpretation of history. The article studies a really unique historical period when the official Soviet power and the informal power of the National Liberation Movement, official communist publications and the party press of newly established parties with different political ideologies coexisted in the conditions of one sociopolitical formation. The main findings of the article can be formulated as follows: 1) the official press of Georgia, despite the freedom of speech allowed from above and the vaguely restricted boundaries of this freedom, did not use the strategies of time-shifting discourse in reproducing history in constructing the Glasnost narrative, and 2) the official press of Georgia still covered historical events from the Marxist-Leninist platform.

Share and Cite:

Maisashvili, K. , Svanidze, N. , Bregvadze, N. , Sajaia, K. and Asanidze, M. (2022) Re-Thinking of History in Glasnost-Period Georgian Official Press. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 10, 25-39. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2022.101003.

1. Introduction: Prospects for Analysis

The policy of Perestroika and Glasnost has been studying and analyzing by the community of scholars worldwide for more than three decades. Perestroika and Glasnost were studied when they were actual policies, and no one could predict how the ideological modernization of the Soviet system would end. At that time, the researches of either Western Sovietologists or former Soviet dissidents who gained free access to the public discourse came to the fore (e.g., Medvedev (1988), cited in Gaidar (1997); Cohen (1988), cited in Tarasulo (1989); Dallin (1988); Tarasulo (1989); Nove (1989); Davies (1989, 1990, 1992); Mawdsley (1990); McNair (1991)). In the following years, the study of Glasnost became more abstracted, while its results, which could be termed as inertial Glasnost, continued to impact not only the media content, but also the historical and value-related foundations of the society in transition that gave rise to the specific kind of content. Glasnost has been studied and analyzed from all possible perspectives—from political, state-governing, historical, social, cultural, phenomenological, comparative (for example, Glasnost in the Centre and Glasnost at the National Peripheries, expectations from Glasnost in the Soviet Union and abroad), etc. Kouki (2004) focused attention to the shifting of the key political figure of criticism in the process of Perestroika, having pointed out that “although the driving force of this historical Glasnost in 1987 appeared to be de-Stalinization, the terms of discourse on the Soviet past soon became so uncontrolled and extended that it even embraced anti-Leninist positions” (Kouki, 2004: p. 131). At the beginning of 2000s, McQuail (2005) gave to Glasnost the name of Model of Change and Development.

2. Theoretical Arguments for Hypothesis

2.1. What Is Specific about Glasnost in Georgia?

2.1.1. Re-Thinking of History

Re-interpretation and revision of the pre-perestroika policy has become a trend since 1988, when it became clear to Mikhail Gorbachev that other reforms were doomed to failure (Gaidar, 1997). As it was mentioned above, the re-evaluation of the history of the Soviet revolution, as well as other thematic components of Glasnost, were allowed by the supreme power from above, and it, too, like other components of Glasnost, did not have sharply defined boundaries. It was impossible to control or predict in which direction the re-evaluation of Soviet historiography might develop. And one of the reasons for this was the fact that the carrier of history had changed. Academic books and textbooks gave way to newspapers (mainly) and TVs, and the academic narrative (as a kind of text) recognized the priority of the media message.

In the Center (Moscow), the re-assessment of history did not touch the Leninist period. The creators of Glasnost took the Leninist period as a starting point, as a kind of an ideal, in relation to which Mikhail Gorbachev, with the advantage of a name-giver, gave names to two historical periods: “Great Repression” (the period of Stalin’s governance) and “stagnation” (the period of Brezhnev’s governance). As Tarasulo (1989) points out, paradoxically, the development of Sovietology, as an interdisciplinary field of research, coincides with Stagnation in time. In the early years of Perestroika, immediately after its declaration, Sovietologists agreed that Glasnost essentially meant a period of re-writing the history of the revolution or its creation from the beginning. But, as it turned out later, the school of Sovietologists did not fully understand what changes of Glasnost could make to historiography.

Unlike the Soviet political discourse, for Sovietologists, the history of the revolution was one and unique, unified, without exceptions. To their opinions and expectations, the re-interpretation of history should have equally affected all stages of the development of the Soviet state. Even more, it can be assumed that Western researchers were more interested in the “discovery of real Lenin”, the real history of the revolution and the Civil War, instead of the figure of Stalin, which they were familiar with in a certain extent. They were particularly interested in the pre-revolutionary events outside St. Petersburg, the relations between different political parties and the real scale of the revolutionary movement, whether the October Revolution was a coup of a small elite or a genuine people’s movement (Nove, 1989; Davies, 1989; Mawdsley, 1990).

But, as Arbatov (1991) and Gaidar (1997) said, Gorbachev’s Glasnost was not going to destroy the “cult of the mystical figure of Lenin”, Gobachev was looking for bipolar paradigms in Soviet politics so that the ideology of Glasnost could be read in contrast between them: Lenin-Stalin, Stalin-Bukharin, Stalin-Khrushchev.

Meanwhile, in the national republics, including Georgia, another national history was awakening, hidden for decades, rejected, cut out by Soviet historiography from the full picture of the life of these peoples. It also made claims for reinterpretation, for revival, and it also wanted to become an integral part of the “past as present” paradigm. The so-called unofficial history sought to replace the official history in the media discourse of the national press. Among these topics were the following: the real history of the Sovietization of Georgia, the struggle against Bolshevism in Georgia, the degree of “Great Repression” in Georgia and its consequences, the formation of autonomous republics and regions in Georgia, the forgotten names of national heroes, the names of the repressed, etc. This list of topics implied an almost countless number of debatable issues and points of view. The discovery of the forbidden story was a social order of the Georgian audience, most of which was extremely loyal to the National Liberation Movement, whose representatives were designated as “informal” or “informal authorities”.

2.1.2. Phases of Glasnost

No less important is the so-called “periodization of Perestroika”, or the division of the policy of Perestroika and Glasnost into chronological phases. Relying on Soviet, Russian, and Western sources (e.g., Oates ((2014); Murray (1991); Gibbs (1999)), Georgian researcher Mumladze (2021) studied in details the concepts of periodization of Perestroika/Glasnost and the criteria that formed the basis of these concepts. She writes that two-phase, three-phase and four-phase periodization of Perestroika is common in political and historical sciences. Vyazemsky & Strelova (2003) adhere to a two-phase concept and by their opinion the watershed between the first phase (1986-1987) and the second (1988-1991) was the purposefulness of political discourse, when debates about history gave way to an open refutation of the socialist system. McNair, also an adherent of two-phase Glasnost, offers other chronological framework: the first phase (1986-1990) and the second phase (1990-1991). The scholar explains his approach by a conceptual, ideological shifting in the nature of pluralism: the dominant concept of socialist pluralism in the first phase was replaced by the concept of liberal pluralism, causing an increase in the degree of spontaneity of criticism in the media. The most common concept is the three-phase division of Perestroika, which has many supporters among Russian researchers. According to this concept and classification, there are clear boundaries between the period 1985-1987, when Perestroika proceeded under the slogan of “acceleration”, the period 1988-1989, when the concept of Perestroika was replaced by the policy of Glasnost, and the period 1990-1991, when deepening of reforms led to the collapse of the USSR. In his three-phase concept, Murray (1991) takes the prerequisites for the practical implementation of Glasnost as classification criteria. For him, the first stage of Glasnost lasted three years, from 1985 to 1988—when Perestroika and Glasnost were formally recognized as the state policy of the USSR; the second stage came in 1988 and lasted until 1990—it was a period when the media believed in their power and influence, the fear of conservative elements in the highest party establishment disappeared, which did not hide its discontent due to the destructive nature of Glasnost. The third phase began in August 1990, when the Press Law was passed, which protected the media from party interference and when censorship was abolished. The above classifications have one thing in common—they are devoid of connection with specific historical events that played an important role in the policy of Glasnost. It is event-centered approach that distinguishes Joseph Gibbs’ classification from the rest. Gibbs suggests a four-stage Glasnost with clearly defined boundaries. For Gibbs, 1985 was a year of frequent public criticism of poor government; 1986-mid 1987 was a period of increased Glasnost, when hitherto banned historical materials and works of art were published; the Chernobyl disaster and the riots in Alma-Ata become the nodal events of Glasnost; 1987-1988—the beginning of the de-Stalinization campaign; 1988-1990—the XIX Conference of the Communist Party, the restriction of the absolute monopoly of the CPSU, the end of censorship of Glavlit and Agitprop.

If we talk about specific circumstances in Georgia, Mumladze (2021, pp. 36-37) follows Gibbs’ classification and suggests the following scheme:

1) 1985—Standby mode. There are no specific reflections on Perestroika in the Georgian media. Perestroika is an element of linguistic, discursive reality, mainly expressed in the statements of political leaders or in official materials printed from the central press;

2) 1986-mid-1987—Georgian media awaken, new publications appear (publications of the non-governmental elite, the so-called creative intelligentsia/well-educated elite);

3) 1987-1988—untabooing of hitherto prohibited topics (emigrant literature, banned authors, etc.);

4) 1988-1990—the national question, the true history of Georgia, the desire for independence, the tragedy of April 9, when Soviet troops cruelly defeated a peaceful rally in front of the Georgian Government House using deadly weapons and asphyxiating gas, which resulted in human casualties, are actualized. It was April 9 that was the turning point for Glasnost in Georgia.

2.1.3. Glasnost-Period Media Landscape in Georgia

As it becomes obvious from the previous chapter, the media landscape in Georgia was similar in many ways to the common Soviet media landscape, especially at the initial stage of Perestroika. But the socio-political context on the national peripheries created specific circumstances that differed significantly from the Central trends. In particular, if in the Center the currents of reformers (proglasnostniks) and retrograds (anti-glasnostniks) were formed from representatives of power structures, then in Georgia and in other national peripheries, where National Liberation Movements were gaining strength, representatives of these latter movements were considered as reformers, which automatically meant that persons from power were retrogrades. Also, if in the Center, even at the initial stage of Glasnost, all the existed media found their place under the wings of reforming and reactionary currents, then in Georgia all the official press was under the influence of the declared central Glasnost.

Maisashvili (2018), in characterizing the later period of Perestroika, points out that, under the influence of two types of political elite (party nomenclature and National Liberation Movement) in the late 1980s, twofold Glasnost content emerged within Georgia’s media system: so-called pro-Glasnost (official media) and anti-Glasnost (new independent media). The leaders of the National Liberation Movement interfered, among others, with the content of the state-controlled media. According to the researcher, the nomenclature responsible for the content of Glasnost in Georgia was alienated, detached from the public and unconvincing in power—and, in contrast to what happened in Russia, failed as such to transform into an independent player in the process of Perestroika. The new media springing up in the process of Perestroika, for example, would not share the anti-Stalinist discourse of Perestroika. Unlike the official media, the informal media re-evaluated history through criticism of Marxism, and through nationalist discourse, not at all a directive of Perestroika. Thus, revision of history took place in the informal media instead of the mainstream media.

“Two types of political elites influenced Georgia’s media system in the 1989-1990s. Under the influence of these elites, twofold Glasnost content was created: pro- and anti-Glasnost, that of nomenclature in the official media, and of the National Liberation Movement’s leaders in the media of newly emerging political unions. The boundaries of this influence over the media, however, were not delineated as clearly as in the case of superficial, formalized review. The leaders of the National Liberation Movement would not settle for influencing the media content created by the publications under their control. They would penetrate nomenclature-controlled outlets as well. This, among others, may have been due to the fetal state of the liberal-democratic Intelligentsia in Georgia” (Maisashvili, 2018: p. 120).

It is noteworthy that the analysis of the content of the Georgian media of the pre-Glasnost period, based on in-depth interviews for the project “Glasnost Stories of Georgia” (Maisashvili et al., 2017), shows that society did not evaluate the press, and even more so—the only state television broadcasting, even a carrier of latent national discourse. 85 percent of respondents did not recall a single example of a nationally-oriented narrative in the Georgian press, while 15 percent admitted that there were probably such attempts, but because of the excessively metraphoric language or poor quality of the text, the public did not notice them. Nevertheless, it is considered an indisputable fact in Georgia that the “golden age of the classical national narrative” of Soviet Georgia was precisely the 60 - 80 years, which is proved by the masterpiece theatrical, cinematic and literary works, but not by the media. According to experts (ibid), the Georgian media was just a peripheral part of the great Soviet ideological machine, devoid of its distinctive features. The survey participants also noted that the changes that took place in the Central Media found a slow, belated reflection in the Georgian media, and sometimes an aberration of the signal from the Center.

3. Hypothesis and Method

First of all, we will try to formulate our task.

As already mentioned in the abstract and introduction part, we dedicate the article to the scope and directions of re-interpretation of history in official publications of Georgia. The existence of official publications, as a special category of media in the Glasnost period, is allowed as a given, as a specific historical circumstance. The narrower focus of the article is to establish the time and ideological framework for the reassessment of history, based on a descriptive analysis of four newspapers that were published daily or with other regular frequency during the entire period of Glasnost, and a triangulation content analysis of 188 units of analysis taken from these four publications.

Research population (sources for analysis): “Komunisti” (“Communist”, in Georgian), the official printing body of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia, “Zarja Vostoka” (“Dawn of the East”, in Russian), the official printing body of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia, “Akhalgazrda Komunisti” (“Young Communist”, in Georgian), the official printing body of the Central Committee of the Young Soviet Leninist Committee of Georgia, “Molodjozh’ Gruzii” (“Youth of Georgia”, in Russian), the official printing body of the Central Committee of the YSLC of Georgia. According to the periodicity, “Komunisti” and “Zarja Vostoka” are daily publications, and the youth official press is published three times a week.

The period of analysis of the content of these four sources covers the period from January 1, 1987 (the period of the onset of developed Glasnost) to October 28, 1990 (until the day of the first multiparty elections in Georgia, in a result of which the National Liberation Movement, namely “Round Table—Free Georgia” came to power). The number of units of analysis was 188 (“Komunisti”—65, “Akhalgazrda Komunisti”—31, “Zarja Vostoka”—41, “Molodjozh’ Gruzii”—51).

The method is a two-stage triangulation content analysis, with an accent on quantitative technique. A media product of any genre is taken as a unit of analysis, which presents an interpretation of a historical fact, event or person that differs from the Soviet discourse. At the first stage of the content analysis, each relevant publication in the standard coding card was coded into six categories: 1) the originality of the material (original or translated); 2) a representative historical period; 3) a reference to a fact or a person; 4) valence of substitution; 5) purposefulness of substitution; 6) the nodal figure of the altered historiographical narrative. Each category had its own options, which were taken directly from the media text.

At the second stage, the coding procedure took place separately for each edition. The coding process was carried out by two coders. The coding procedure was carried out according to the following attributes:

The first attribution is the construction of time in the media historiographical narrative: the past as the past, or the past as the present, the past as the future.

Code A was given to those units of analysis in which a historical fact or person was portrayed in chronological order of time.

Code B was given to those units of analysis in which a fact or person from the past or the past itself was portrayed as a “present” or “future” event.

The second attribution is the ideological basis of historical substitution/replacement.

Code A was given to those units of analysis in which the reproduction or critical reassessment of events occurred without replacing the ideological basis (this means that the Leninist platform was preserved).

Code B was given to those units of analysis in which the reproduction or critical reassessment of events occurs with the replacement of the ideological basis (for example, rejection of Leninism and posing forward nationalism).

It was based on these attributions that two hypotheses were put forward:

Hypothesis 1: In official media, re-interpreted history is represented as the present or future, not the past time.

Hypothesis 2: The official media represents the interpreted history more likely from an unchanged ideological platform than with a change in the ideological basis.

4. Reference to the Notable Setting

Immediately before analyzing the data obtained and discussing them, we consider it mandatory to refer to very important circumstances and prerequisites.

This premise is the representation of the periodization of Glasnost in Georgia in specific quantitative parameters. As we have already indicated, in Georgia, the dividing line of periodization runs through the events of April 9. In the figure below (see Table 1), we have indicated April 5 as a dividing line, the day when the protests of the National Liberation Movement began, which ended with the brutal punishment of the protest participants on 9th of April. The table shows that this important qualitative change affected in different proportions the official publications under analysis.

5. Results and Discussion

In researcher’s opinion, it would be advisable to start the analysis and discussion of the substitution of official and unofficial history in the Georgian media with the factual basis of Glasnost stories. All the sciences studying the phenomenon of “fact” have long agreed that a fact is a dynamic moment or a cascade of dynamic moments of social reality, which is perceived either by a person or by a technological device, comprehended and made noticed. A fact that is not noticed is a non-existent fact. In the case of our research, the question becomes relevant: when a fact is the property of the past, when and by whom it becomes noticed and told. Therefore, the first question with which we begin the classification of empirical data is the question of the originality of the material. Descriptive statistics show us that the materials collected and written by Georgian authors are 6.5 times superior to translated materials from other, mostly Russian, sources (see Table 2).

As Table 3 shows (see below) among the represented historical facts or processes, the top three are: the repressions of the 1930s (64 units of analysis), the

Table 1. Periodization of glasnost histories in Georgian official press.

Table 2. Originality of units of analysis.

Table 3. Historical periods or facts represented (some units refers to several categories (more than one)).

history of Georgia before its Sovietization (54 units of analysis) and the history of the Sovietization of Georgia (49 units). The first category is a mandatory attribute of cumulative Glasnost content, but the second and third categories are not unambiguous in their valence. The stories of pre-Sovietization and Sovietization are constantly being filled with new components from year to year that go beyond the boundaries of universal conventional Glasnost. In 1990, the so-called historical truth is represented with tragic sense and openness. Also, various content trends characterize the history of establishing of autonomous units on the territory of Georgia: in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At the first stage of Perestroika, their histories completely correspond to the Soviet historiographical narrative. At the first stage of Glasnost, the media representation of separatist movements in the South Caucasus (for example, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh) is deprived of a nationalist background, the beginning of the conflict in Karabakh is exposed as a one-time criminal act inspired by a socially degraded adventurer, a certain Hayrikyan. At the second stage of Glasnost, the same conflict is re-discovered, re-noticed and re-presented to readers as a new history with dramatically changed accents.

It is very noteworthy that the newspaper “Molodjozh’ Gruzii”, literally a few days after the tragedy of April 9, represents the fact of the bloody dispersal of the rally as a historical event in the present tense, the essence of which, in the eyes of eyewitnesses, is falsified by the Soviet ideological discourse and the interests of the military establishment. The meaning highlights of these articles can be formulated as follows: how can we sincerely talk and write about the “white spots” in history, about the need for Glasnost, when an event that happened yesterday, an event of which we ourselves were participants and eyewitnesses, is falsified before our eyes? “Molodjozh’ Gruzii” is the publication that seeks to show the readers the power and importance of Glasnost not in relation to the events of the Stalinist period, but in relation to current, new events, reminding the reader that if the truth about April 9 is not written today, future generations will have to discover this truth in the conditions of “new hypothetical Glasnost”. Strategy of time-shifting and inter-change of ideological background (see Table 4 below), also the appearance/entry in the media discourse of national heroes and those figures whose personalities were hidden by Soviet history, coincides with one of the directions of the newspaper’s editorial policy, which implies the representation and popularization of new political associations of Georgian citizens, new political parties, movements. These new political organizations become qualified political actors in context of the first multiparty elections on October 28, 1990, which took place under the conditions of the Soviet Union. It is this direction of editorial policy that makes obvious the need and necessity of changing the ideological platform of mediatization, even in the context of the official Soviet press.

Table 5 needs some further implications. Namely, substitution has its own patterns and purpose—what does the recovery of new circumstances and new images of historical figures serve? Observation and frontal monitoring of meaningful attributions of the empirical base makes it possible to group them into three categories: 1) restoration of historical justice (when the author’s judgment,

Table 4. References to fact and/or persons.

Table 5. Valence of inter-replacement.

argumentation, the plot paradigm of media material aims at the legal or moral rehabilitation of a historical person); 2) the establishment of historical truth (when the factual material given by the author aims at a possible objective reconstruction of the realities of the past); 3) the creation of a new, national history (when the facts, events, names, plot paradigms given by the author go far beyond the Soviet historiographical concepts).

If we take the perspective of the authorities as a starting point, in this case the central binary paradigm of the changed historiographical narrative should have been created by Stalin and the figures repressed by him. But in the Georgian reality, we find a certain paradoxical circumstance—at a time when the official publications of the Communist Party (especially Komunisti and Zarja Vostoka) were printing legal decrees on the rehabilitation of repressed party figures, a separate media narrative was forming a text about the repressed intelligentsia, there was little criticism of Stalin’s person. More obvious was the criticism of Stalinism as a phenomenon, as a style of governing, and the sign of equality between the person of Stalin and Stalinism as a phenomenon was not put. This paradoxical circumstance is reflected in statistics (see Table 6). The number of media texts that introduce the reader to names from the past, repressed intellectuals, party nomenclature or dissidents of the first and second waves is almost 2.5 times higher than the texts in which Stalin was newly recovered. “Molodjozh’ Gruzii” turned out to be an exception in the spectrum of the official press of Georgia, in which the persons of Lenin and Stalin were equally negatively evaluated, and Leninism as a political doctrine was declared obsolete. Another paradoxical circumstance can be considered the fact that in the official press, even at the second stage of Glasnost, the image of the heroes of modern times does not appear before readers as the representatives of the third wave of the dissident movement of Georgia (for example, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava). This circumstance can be explained by the following hypothetical reasons: the first reason is that Gamsakhurdia and other dissidents were contemporaries of Glasnost, leaders of the National Liberation Movement, leaders of informal power, and Glasnost did not allow for a reassessment of the living and acting persons. And another reason lies in the fact that even in the conditions of a more or less free press, these persons were represented in official publications as carriers of dubious values, dubious reputation, etc. The statistics of mentions of notable historical persons is given in Table 7.

Table 6. Purposefulness of inter-replacement [some issues refer to more than one category.

Table 7. Key-figure of changed historical narrative.

6. For Hypotheses

As mentioned above, the research aims to either prove or refuse hypotheses related to the key temporal-spatial and ideological foundations of Glasnost.

The first hypothesis concerns the strategy of constructing time in the media historiographical narrative. In the part devoted to the methods used, we noted that the code “A” was given to units of analysis in which a fact or person was presented in a chronological context; and the code “B” was referred to those units in which a fact or person from the past was represented as actual events or persons for the present or future.

The second hypothesis concerned the ideological foundations of inter-replacement of official and unofficial histories.

The code “A” was given to units of analysis in which, with a new reproduction of a historical fact, there is no change in the ideological platform, and the code “B” was given to those units of analysis in which, while reproducing a historical fact or a person’s image, the ideological basis of construction changed.

The coding procedure was performed each time by two coders.

The required statistics for the first hypothesis are as follows: for code 1A, the final horizontal (rows) number is 105 units, and for code 1B - 83 units. The vertical (columns) disposition is expressed in the following natural numbers: 65, 31, 41 and 51. Coders agreed on 188 units. For the statistical procedure that will prove or disprove the hypothesis, we chose contingency Table 8 analysis.

At the first stage we have to establish expected frequency for each cell. According to modified version of Goodness-of-fit, expected frequencies for Code 1A for each source are following: Komunisti—36.3; Akhalgazrda Komunisti—17.3; Zarja Vostoka—22.8; Molodjozh’ Gruzii—28.4.

Expected frequencies for Code 1B for each source are following: Komunisti—28.6; Akhalgazrda Komunisti—13.6; Zarja Vostoka—18.1; Molodjozh’ Gruzii—22.5.

Once expected frequencies are known we are able to calculate chi-square as follows:

X 2 = ( 26 36 . 3 ) 2 : 36 . 3 + ( 22 17 . 3 ) 2 : 17 . 3 + ( 32 22 . 8 ) 2 : 22 . 8 + ( 25 28 . 4 ) 2 : 28 . 4 + ( 39 28 . 6 ) 2 : 28 . 6 + ( 9 13 . 6 ) 2 : 13 . 6 + ( 9 18 . 1 ) 2 : 18 . 1 + ( 26 22 . 5 ) 2 : 22 . 5 = 17 . 88

Degree of freedom is computed by formula:

d f = ( R 1 ) × ( C 1 ) = ( 4 1 ) × ( 2 1 ) = 3

In terms of presented degree of freedom and probability meaning (p = 0.001), distribution of chi-square is equal to 16.3, which is a little bit less than the result given by us. This circumstance gives researchers space for a dual interpretation in relation to the confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis. In social research, such a small gap in the statistical procedure gives researchers the right to consider the hypothesis confirmed, but we, following statistical accuracy, believe that the basic statistical procedure of crosstab refuted the first hypothesis.

For hypothesis 2, related to the ideological shifting strategy, the statistical picture is represented by the following quantitative indicators: for code 2A horizontally, the total number of units is 134, and for code 2B—46; vertically—65, 31, 41 and 51. Coders agreed on 184 units, which meant that 4 units of analysis were outside the statistical procedure. The units of analysis that caused disagreement among coders and did not get into the statistical procedure relate to a very remarkable direction of the content of Glasnost—the representation of the Great Repressions of the 30s from a fuzzy ideological platform (e.g., Stalinism without Stalin, random historical injustice, etc.) (Table 9).

At the first stage we have to establish expected frequency for each cell. According to modified version of Goodness-of-fit, expected frequencies for Code 2A were calculated as follows for each source: Komunisti—48.75; Akhalgazrda Komunisti—23.25; Zarja Vostoka—30.75; Molodjozh’ Gruzii—35.25. Expected

Table 8. Results of coding for Hypothesis 1.

Table 9. Results of coding for Hypothesis 2.

frequencies for Code 2B for each source were computed as follows: Komunisti—16.25; Akhalgazrda Komunistis—0.05; Zarja Vostoka—10.25; Molodjozh’ Gruzii—11.75.

Once expected frequencies are known we are able to calculate chi-square as follows:

X 2 = ( 38 48.75 ) 2 : 48.75 + ( 27 23.25 ) 2 : 23.25 + ( 41 30.75 ) 2 : 30.75 + ( 32 35.25 ) 2 : 35.25 + ( 27 16.25 ) 2 : 16.25 + ( 4 0.05 ) 2 : 0.05 + ( 0 10.25 ) 2 : 10.25 + ( 15 11.75 ) 2 : 11.75 = 2.37 + 0.6 + 3.4 + 0.29 + 7.11 + 31.2 + 10.25 + 0.89 = 56.21

d f = ( R 1 ) × ( C 1 ) = ( 4 1 ) × ( 2 1 ) = 3

In terms of presented degree of freedom and probability meaning (p = 0.001), distribution of chi-square is equal to 16.3, which is much more than result calculated in context of our data. It means that Hypothesis 2 was refuted.

With the refutation of these two hypotheses, we get a generalized picture of the substitution of official and unofficial versions of history in the official press of Georgia: The official media mainly focus on the chronological logic of revaluation of history without changing the ideological platform of its reproduction.

7. Conclusion

In our opinion, in conclusion, it would be advisable to speculate about two hypotheses that have not been confirmed. How reasonable and academically correct were the authors of the study in putting forward these hypotheses? The answer lies in several circumstances. The basis for the promotion of these hypotheses can be found in the central trend of Glasnost and individual materials of the newspapers analyzed by us. In the Section of Discussion in this article, we pointed out these individual materials, especially in the Russian-language youth press. But the cumulative concept of “official publications” implies this set of publications, the content of which created one complete picture. Against of new nationalist-oriented newspapers, the old official press of Georgia did not find its niche, did not find either its socio-political, or cultural place in the life of Georgia. The official press became marginalized because it did not have such big ideas as the media in Russia had, and no ideological tasks that it had to solve.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


[1] Arbatov, G. A. (1991). Zatjanuvsheesja vyzdorovlenie. Mezhdunarodnye Otnoshenija. (In Russian)
[2] Dallin, A. (1988). Soviet History. In A. Dallin, & B. Patenaude (Eds.), Soviet Scholarship under Gorbachev (pp. 5-8). Stanford University Northeast Asia Forum.
[3] Davies, R. W. (1989). Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution. Macmillan.
[4] Davies, R. W. (1990). The Politics of Soviet History, 1985-8. In M. McCauley (Ed.), Gorbachev and Perestroika (pp. 30-48). Macmillan.
[5] Davies, R. W. (1992). History and Perestroika. In E. Rees (Ed.), The Soviet Communist Party in Disarray (pp. 119-147). Macmillan.
[6] Gaidar, E. T. (1997). Gosudarstvo I Evolucija. Evrazija. (In Russian)
[7] Gibbs, J. (1999). Gorbachev’s Glasnost/The Soviet Media in the First Phase of Perestroika. Texas A&M University Press.
[8] Kouki, H. (2004). The Politics of History and the History of Politics: The Rewriting of the Past during Perestroika (1985-1990). Historien, 4, 131-160.
[9] Maisashvili et al. (2017). Glasnost Stories of Georgia (in Georgian), Based on the Research Project “Georgian Media—A Central Site on Inter-Replacement of Official and Unofficial Histories”. Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
[10] Maisashvili, K. (2018). Media System and Re-Evaluation of History in Glasnost-Period Georgia Media 1989-90. European Journal of Political Science Studies, 2, 109-123.
[11] Mawdsley, E. (1990). Rewriting Russia’s Revolution. History Today, 40, 96-103.
[12] McNair, B. (1991). Glasnost, Perestroika and the Soviet Media. Routledge.
[13] McQuail, D. (2005). McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory (5th ed.). Sage Publications.
[14] Mumladze, K. (2021). Concepts of Perestroika and Glasnost in Georgian Press. Dissertation for Obtaining Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Georgian Institute of Public Relations.
[15] Murray, J. (1991). Glasnost 1990. Irish Communication Review, 1, Article 3.
[16] Nove, A. (1989). Glasnost’ in Action: Cultural Renaissance in Russia (Unwin Hyman).
[17] Oates, S. (2014). Glasnost 2.0. Demokratizatsiya, 22, 277-293.
[18] Tarasulo, I. J. (1989). Gorbachev and Glasnost: Viewpoints from the Soviet Press. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
[19] Vyazemsky, E., & Strelova, O. (2003). SSSR—Rossija. Ot M.S Gorbacheva do V. V. Putina. 1985-2002, Stupeni, Moskva. (In Russian)

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.