Tbilisi, 18th December 2018
The presentation focused on the importance of borders and frontiers’ subject in our pasts, underlining the development of our different nation-building processes between XIX/XX centuries and through the World War I. The first meeting was held at “Italiuri Kulturis Centri” (Centro culturale italiano) of Ilia University, while the second at Sokhumi State University, in exile here in Tbilisi as Abkhazian University.
The first event was organized thanks to the availability and attention of especially prof. Manana Siprashvili and prof. Nana Lomia, besides all other staff members.
After a short presentation, Mattia Baldoni assigned to the audience a short-written interview, meant as an anonymous and free brainstorming.
In this short text, different definitions of the words “border/frontier” in various languages were followed by the only question: “Write down the first 3 words you think, when you hear the word 'border/frontier' ”.
Obviously, the purpose of the test is to confront and to test different concepts on the topic for Italians and for Georgians, and the organizers are collecting the different answers received by the citizens of these two countries.
In fact, the most written words by Georgian audience are “occupation”, “war”, “country”, and we can easily understand their reasons.
The lecture started from the age of the Italian Unification (about 1860), analysing the birth and problems of the young Italian Kingdom, above all them linked to frontiers’ subject. From the “Irredentism” to the break out of the World War I, Mattia explained Italian interests and reasons in joining the war one year later, fighting within the group of the “Triple Entente”.
Mattia showed not only political or historical aspects, but also literary. Indeed, he mentioned Giuseppe Ungaretti, Gabriele D’Annunzio and their war poems.
Then started a second part of the conference focused on Georgian history, and specifically on the period from the annexation to Russian Empire till the battles on the Caucasian Front in 1914.
The presentation showed the central role played by Georgia in this region during the conflict, the consequences of the Russian Revolution and of the collapse of Tsarist Empire.
Then, Mattia exposed the two different Post-war transitions (both for Italy and Georgia) and their tragic epilogues. Both of them were very problematic, characterised by weak governments and institutions, instability and social clashes.
Italy felt under Fascist control for almost 20 years, while the new-Independent Republic of Georgia was invaded and annexed by Soviet Union. One more time it became a minority in a vast “Empire”.
In both cases, similar political structures and characteristic during the post-war period, led to troubled results. Italy didn’t finish its nation-building process, striving to conquer more lands in the name of Ancient Rome glory, while weak Georgia wasn’t able to guarantee its own survival and independence, not achieving a basic and modern nation-building process.
The above considerations marked the end of the conference, and the organizers congratulated Mattia for his presentation, considered very educational and clear.