Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on all aspects of Central and Eastern Europe: history, society, politics, economy, religion, culture, literature, languages and gender, with a focus on the region between the Baltic and the Adriatic in local and global context.
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A number of Estonian settlements were formed in Abkhazia in the 1880s. This article uses archival sources, written memoirs, diaries and secondary literature to focus on the experiences of Estonians in Abkhazia during the Russian Civil War until the establishment of Soviet power in 1921. The article discusses what role the proclamation of the Republic of Estonia played for the settlers, and what the change of status from an internal migrant to an emigrant meant for the Estonian community in Abkhazia, but also the political opportunities that the establishment of Estonia as an independent republic brought to compatriots living in the diaspora.
The paper is a case study of “Port-Petrovsk”, a large fishing and fish processing company in Makhachkala (Dagestan, Russia) that was purposefully driven to bankruptcy in 2007, leading some 5,300 people to lose their workplaces as well as access to many social services. The factory was bankrupted as there existed a small group willing to get rich on its assets. A considerable portion of the company’s former premises has already been sold and new apartment buildings have been erected there. Former workers and shareholders have been trying to reclaim their property and save the remaining company premises from being sold to developers. The case is presented against the background of what has been called elemental urbanization: a dynamic, chaotic and informal way of development of urban space in Makhachkala, one of the fastest growing cities in Russia. The whole process of conflict and negotiations around the company assets shows how property rights in Dagestan challenge the Western-set dichotomy of the individual versus the collective. Moreover, it presents property rights as a bundle that consist of legal, economic, and moral dimensions.
This article explores the perceptions of personal (in)security in the public space of Tbilisi, Georgia following the Rose Revolution in 2003. Based on the concept of vernacular security, I suggest a bottom-up approach to the subject, focusing on its culturally and socially specific character and observing the production of the discourses of (in)security at the intersecting notions of modernisation/backwardness, formality/informality, criminality/lawfulness, and the West/Russia, reflecting post-revolutionary political, social, and cultural transformations. While the government of the Rose Revolution introduced full-scale reforms formalising security in Georgia, the article reveals that citizens’ perceptions of personal (in)security in the public space are often ambiguous and even self-contradicting, as they waver between the notions of formality and informality, often interpreting the same phenomenon as a source of both their security and insecurity.