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Giorgi Gatenashvili

Student of IIRPS VU Eastern European and Russian Studies master's programme

Giorgi, can you tell us a bit about your background? Where does your interest in politics come from?

I’m from Tbilisi, Georgia, but by origin, I come from a small town, which is now under Russian occupation. My family members were always engaged in local politics until occupation, but back then I wasn’t as interested in politics, I liked history and geography better.  After the war with Russia in 2008, talking about Russia, our home town, and the question “when we will be able to return home?” became a recurrent topic in our home.  From then on I became interested in politics and especially in International Relations, that’s why I chose to study International Relations after graduating from high school.

You coordinated communication of one of Georgia’s political parties. Can you tell us more about that experience?

It was an amazing experience for me as I became engaged in daily politics in Georgia. It was really interesting to see from inside how parties prepare for elections and make everyday decisions about what to say, when and where. It was also interesting to meet people, who had been in Georgian politics for a long time, people who were in government, from the “other side of the TV”.

What brought you to IIRPS VU?

My interest in Eastern Europe and Russia is not surprising as my country is part of this region. One of the main reasons is to see and understand, how some countries, which share, more or less, similar Soviet past and started from almost the same point during the 90’s, are now in different positions. To understand, what was done wrong in unsuccessful countries and what has to be done to fully get away from soviet heritage which still has impact on everyday issues.  And the second reason is to have better understanding how Russian politics work and how can we act against Russian aggression.

What would you consider the biggest pros of studying here?

Living in the region while researching it.

What would you like to do once you graduate? What are your goals in life?

I actually don’t know yet, but I think I will go on and get a second master’s.