A Region lost? In the South Caucasus: The West is out, Turkey is in, and Russia is stronger than ever

Op-Ed

Bidzina Lebanidze[1]

The South Caucasus region has recently witnessed significant upheavals: a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabagh, political chaos in Armenia, post-election turmoil in Georgia, and a shifting geopolitical dynamic between Russia and Turkey. As Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia walk a thin line between maintaining security, attempting modernization and navigating an increase in Russian and Turkish influence, the West risks losing its limited regional influence altogether.  (more…)

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The Veiled Influence of Illiberal Groups on Georgian Politics

Nino Gozalishvili[1]

[This publication was produced with the financial support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The views, opinions and statements expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foundation. Therefore, the Open Society Georgia Foundation is not responsible for the content of the information material].

Over the past several years Georgia has witnessed an increase in the public presence of far-right groups both in the media and across the political spectrum. Nativist attitudes, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigration rhetoric, and direct appeals to the Orthodox church are the main points of convergence for these illiberal actors who range from moderate to extreme. (more…)

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Can Georgia Deliver Democratic Elections?

* The Blog is originally published by PONARS Eurasia

(PONARS Eurasia Commentary) Recently, Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream (GD), proclaimed its intention to formally apply for EU membership in 2024, against all odds. The statement was made at an important time: just as the Black Sea country heads toward parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020. The democratic quality of the elections will have a significant impact on Georgia’s European aspirations and its future with the EU and NATO. (more…)

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On the Verge of Elections: Where is Georgia heading?

Givi Silagadze[1]

Georgia approaches the decisive 2020 Parliamentary elections amid a shrinking national economy, the adjacent war in Nagorno-Karabakh, and an unprecedented public health crisis.  The past year has been especially dramatic for the ruling Georgian Dream party. They failed to deliver the electoral reform which the party leader had unambiguously promised, triggering street demonstrations, a political crisis, and subsequent criticism from some of Georgia’s closest partners in the west. (more…)

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Political Apathy in Georgia: Why Don’t Young People Vote?

Nino Samkharadze[1]

As the 2020 Parliamentary Elections approach, low electoral and political participation among young people remains an issue. Topics of interest to young people are rarely addressed – either in party rhetoric, or at the level of governing. Additionally, young people, whose votes could influence the elections results, often do not participate in the electoral process – what is the reason for their low electoral participation? (more…)

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The New Eastern Partnership – what’s in it for Georgia?

Tinatin Akhvlediani[1]

On 18 March, the European Commission released a new Communication on the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Beyond 2020. This was followed by an Association Implementation Report on Georgia published by the European Parliament in April, and the Council Conclusions on the new EaP policy framework in May. The outbreak of Covid-19 has overshadowed these important events to such an extent that these developments attracted little commentary in Georgia. (more…)

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How NATO can solve the “Georgian Challenge“and strengthen its own credibility

Shalva Dzebisashvili[1]

Since the debate on Georgia’s accession to NATO has somehow lost its actuality and slid down from the top of the agenda of many key nations, practical way forward must be reviewed carefully to relieve pressure on the Alliance, restore its credibility to fulfill promises, and motivate Georgia for better reform performance. The membership process has a clear dual nature, being both political and military ones. There is no need to dwell additionally on the general requirements of NATO membership, which is a well functioning democratic system and combat ready interoperable forces. We all know this very well. (more…)

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The Pandemic Effect: New Challenges in the face of the Upcoming Elections

Nino Samkharadze[1]

Rapid Spread of coronavirus infection has given rise to controversies over upcoming elections worldwide. After introducing strict countermeasures and a recent milder phase of the virus spread the topic of upcoming elections gains momentum in Georgia as well. Because of the ongoing intense political debates over the electoral reforms the voters will already have to cast votes in a changed environment in October 2020, however the special conditions caused by the virus add to the unique character of the upcoming elections. (more…)

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How EU & its members states respond to COVID-19 crisis: Challenges & Prospects for crisis management

Clara Weller[1]

As the Covid-19 crisis was reaching Europe, the EU struggled to take a common decision on its territory. Today, the Union learns from local-level solutions. Member states’ cooperation and regional organization display the high potential of deepening regionalization. When the sanitary crisis adds to the background of rising euroscepticism towards Brussels, the regionalized response endorses a relevant political meaning. Rethinking crisis management by a bottom-up approach should bring an efficient resilience for the EU. (more…)

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The Impact of Covid-19 Crisis on Georgian Politics: Risks and Opportunities

Givi Silagadze[1]

The new coronavirus pandemic, worldwide panic and counter-measures in response to the pandemic day by day transform  not only deep-rooted social relations but also political life. Similarly to Europe and many other countries of the world, Georgia also declared a nationwide state of emergency and introduced restrictions on numerous social or economic activities. In addition to social life and the Georgian economy, the coronavirus crisis has a significant impact on politics. (more…)

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