Boarded up Windows

Gorelovka – Dukhobors of Javakheti:

There are 130 Dukhobors living in Gorelovka village. All of them are ancestors of those ‘heretics’ who were exiled from Russia to the Caucasus and made it to today’s Samtskhe-Javakheti back in the 18th century. In 1980-es, there were 3 thousand Dukhobors living in Gorelovka alone. In late 1980-es many of them left for Russia and Ukraine;

Locals claim that the slogan ‘Georgia for Georgians’ was the main reason behind  this decision. Another difficulty for Dukhobors living in Georgia was the collapse of kolkhhoz system – they were used to living and working in the community, and private ownership was the challenge for the most. Many of Gorelovka’s natives left in 1997, and later in 2008.

There are about 30 comparatively young people in the village. But as one of our respondents claimed, most of them are males and thus there are not many opportunities for creating new families.

Not too long ago Samtskhe-Javakheti region was considered to be the center of Dukhobor culture. Today in Gorelovka, there are many abandoned houses. Their owners died while their children moved away. These houses with boarded windows are almost a portrait of Gorelovka today…

Go Group Media decided to grant Tbilis-based journalists an opportunity to find out more about this unique culture which is moving away from Georgia.

  • Participants of traditional Journalistic Mission of the Go Group Media had an opportunity to meet Doukhobors, a small community of ethnic Russians professing to be followers of a breakaway branch of Christianity who live compactly in Gorelovka, a village in the country’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region bordering Armenia and Turkey. Photo by Diana Petriashvili, Go Group Media

Mission Participants:

Levan Zhorzholiani,
Malkhaz Chkadua, Liberali magazine
Nana Tabatadze, Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA)
Tamar Mshvenieradze, Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA)

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