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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Podcast

Episode 08 - Georgian Football

Erik Scott

Amidst a monolithic Soviet football system, Georgia stood out as a country with a uniquely artistic and agile style

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Amidst a monolithic Soviet football system, Georgia stood out as a country with a uniquely artistic and agile style that distinguished Georgian teams from the other Soviet Republics.

Erik Scott, author of Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire, talks about the top Georgian team, FC Dinamo Tbilisi. In its early days, Dinamo Tbilisi was patronized by Stalin’s infamous spy master Lavrentiy Beria. Yet after destalinization, Dinamo Tbilisi and football in general came to represent a symbol of national pride that distinguished Georgia from Soviet political and cultural dominance.

Image: Cartoon of Dinamo Tbilisi striker Avtandil Gogoberidze from a 1960 fan guide. N. Dumbadze, M. Karchava, Z. Bolkvadze, and G. Pirtskhalava, “Dinamo” Tbilisi (Tbilisi, Soiuz zhurnalistov Gruzii, 1960).

A British football fan recalls watching Dinamo Tbilisi play against Liverpool in 1979 and West Ham in 1981.

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