David Darchiashvili - Founder and director of the Center for Russian studies
The solidarity of like-minded people has always transcended and transcends national boundaries. Therefore, we should look for them everywhere, including on the territory of a hostile state towards our country. We must also spend more mental energy in order for there to be a constant discussion about what a state is today and what it will be tomorrow. If we are attracted to the national level of analysis, there are two more important things to take into consideration: to observe the regional context of the nation and to use the comparative method - otherwise, we will not know what the specificity is in us and what is shared regionally. Accordingly, we decided to establish the Center of Russian Studies in Georgia.
The Center of Russian Studies serves to understand this country and its political system, for which modern social theories are the most appropriate framework. Our goal is not to just satisfy our curiosity: Russia, as a centuries-old empire, has left a large mark on many neighboring states. Therefore, understanding the socio-political situation of the entire former imperial space and our homeland itself requires Russian Studies. The center aims to spread relevant knowledge and at the same to increase the number of colleagues and like-minded people.
Allegedly, everyone interested in the history, politics, culture, or the economy of Georgia understands the said. Nevertheless, regarding Russia or its regional role, two types of discourse are dominant in Georgia, neither of which are academic. According to one, all our problems are the fault of the Kremlin's intentions and actions. The second, in principle, does not contradict this view but sees the solution in restoring the historical connections with the "Big Brother". However, we believe something else to be logical, and it is not an intermediate "truth" or position between these two mental poles: the current Russian leadership is, of course, obsessed with imperial nostalgia. But we must scrutinize how unchallenged this age-old melancholy of the Russian elite is. We must also examine the "Russian Empire within us," meaning those socio-economic structures that are similarly problematic there and here and throughout the post-Soviet space; Which hinders our progress and the establishment of the rule of law. In many cases, the current rulers of the Kremlin may parasitize on them, but that is not at all of their creation.
The primary purpose of social studies is probably to diagnose us as individuals, nations, regions, or all of humanity. Here, in Georgia, this general purpose requires Russian studies. This way, we will better understand what is similar, different, and shared between Georgia and Russia. This is one way of carrying out the old democratic slogan - "For yours and our freedom".