Shota Rustaveli, presumed author of the medieval Georgian epic poem vepkhistqaosani (The Knight in the Panther's Skin), was one of the most celebrated cultural and historical figures in Soviet Georgia. However, not much is known about Rustaveli apart from his work. In this essay, I argue that a series of policies under the Soviet government transformed Rustaveli into a national symbol of Georgia, but the celebration of Rustaveli and his poem scarcely deviated from the ideological guidelines of the Soviet state. In discussing the impact and legacy of the Soviet promotion of Rustaveli, I purport to highlight the "national in form, Socialist in content" guiding principle of the Soviet cultural policy in the Soviet non-Russian borderlands.
Benning Wang, Diego
"Classical Literature and the Retroaction of Socialist Ideology—The Sovietization of a Medieval Georgian Epic Poem and Its Mysterious Author,"
Madison Historical Review: Vol. 15
, Article 5.
Available at: http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/mhr/vol15/iss1/5