This paper explores competing narratives of the Stalinist and Soviet past in the Republic of Georgia through examination of two public history sites: the Stalin Museum in Gori and the exhibit of the Soviet Occupation at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi. While the former remains a site of Stalin’s cult of personality, largely unaltered even during the “de-Stalinization” campaigns that unfolded in the decades following the dictator’s death in 1953, the latter fails to interrogate Stalin’s unambiguous role in the Bolsheviks’ 1921 invasion and political terror amidst its strong emphasis on the martyrs to the Soviet regime. Both museum sites, we argue, are invested in larger scale political and ideological contestations of Georgia’s past in relation to present concerns that anchor, on the one hand, on economic instability and, on the other, on political assertions of Georgian “Europeanness.” The sites raise important questions about the role museums play in the preservation of a contested past and in shaping divergent visions of national memory and identity.

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