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Assessment of 2017 by Georgian and international experts

The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) conducted a survey to sum up 2017 as part of the “expert polls” project. The poll collected opinions and assessments about the ongoing political and economic processes in the country and its future prospects from 20 well-informed Georgian and international observers. Both Georgian and international experts expressed similar opinions, which served as a good reflection of the ambivalent results achieved by the Georgian government in terms of democratization, social, economic and foreign policies in 2017.

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Mitigating Russia’s Borderization of Georgia: A Strategy to Contain and Engage

Kornely Kakachia, Levan Kakhishvili,
Joseph Larsen, Mariam Grigalashvili

Russia’s use of military, political, and informational tactics to manipulate unresolved conflicts is a dynamic process. One novel warfare tactic Russia has employed since 2009 is the “borderization” of Georgia’s territory. The tactic of borderization serves Russia’s strategy of undermining Georgia’s sovereignty, including its democratic development and independent domestic and foreign policies. Borderization is a new phenomenon, (more…)

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Life Without EU Membership: The Case for a Multi-Speed EaP

Bidzina Lebanidze

The recent Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Brussels highlighted once again the gap between the expectations of the Eastern partners and the European Union. The advanced Eastern partner countries aspire for nothing less than full EU membership – something which the European Council is not ready to offer. Yet, the exclusive focus on the rather distant membership perspective has overshadowed more acute problems: for many, the EaP format itself is considered inherently ineffective undermining of the EU’s soft power in Eastern partner countries. (more…)

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Is Georgia’s “Unique” Approach to Church-State Relations Compatible with EU Integration?

Irakli Jgharkava

This research paper tackles one of the most controversial issues in Georgian society – the relationship between Church and State. Following a recent statement by the prime minister of Georgia that questioned the “classical understanding” and utility of secularism in the Georgian context, a unique Georgian model of secularism has been put forth, resulting in a stir both within and beyond Georgia’s borders. The aim of this paper is to explore whether realization of this “unique” Georgian model of secularism poses any threat to the country’s European integration aspirations.

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Interview with Ambassador – H.E. Kai Kaarelson

Mariam Grigalashvili’s interview with the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Georgia and Armenia – H.E. Kai Kaarelson

“The EU money and help is there, it just has to be used better for the real transformation.
The better the results, the more help will become available.”

  1. How does Estonian society perceive the future of the EU-associated Eastern Partnership countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia)? Does the public view differ from the official view?

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Italy and Eastern Europe: A Dossier Subordinated to the Rome-Moscow Axis?

Nona Mikhelidze

Over the years, Italy’s foreign policy towards post-Soviet countries has developed in the framework of bilateral relations and in the context of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Italy welcomed the launch of the EaP in 2009, and since then has supported almost all EU initiatives under the project, including visa liberalization for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Moreover, official Rome favored launching the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia following the Georgian-Russian war of 2008.

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Italy’s Eastern Neighborhood Policy: Georgia in Context

Marco Siddi

Italy’s economic and diplomatic presence in the European Union’s Eastern neighborhood has increased since the 2000s. The expansion of trade and diplomatic contacts with Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries has complemented Italy’s long-standing relationship with Moscow, which continues to be important despite the current political crisis and economic sanctions imposed between Russia and the EU. (more…)

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Experts Predict Easy Victory for Ruling Party in Local Elections

GIP Expert Polls / Issue #5

The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) continues to survey engaged Georgian and international experts on issues of great importance. This October, GIP asked 30 experts and political observers about the imminent local self-government elections. The majority of surveyed pundits predict Georgian Dream winning by a big margin.

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Georgia-China Relations: the Geopolitics of the Belt And Road

Joseph Larsen

China has shown a growing interest in Georgia. Cooperation is largely confined to the economic sphere. However, a stronger Chinese presence in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative could have major geopolitical significance.

This paper analyzes the current state of bilateral relations while asking a key question: Does involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative have the potential to improve Georgia’s national security situation?

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German Elections 2017: Continuity at the Top, a Looming Disaster from Below

Silvia Stöber

“Boring” is a word often used to describe the ongoing election campaign in Germany. The campaign will conclude on September 24 when the citizens elect new members to the Bundestag. A new government will be formed according to the results.          

At first glance, not much exciting has happened in recent weeks. The two main contestants – the Christian Democrat Angela Merkel and the Social Democrat Martin Schulz – fought a duel on live television (more…)

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Deterring Russia’s Borderization of Georgia

Joseph Larsen

 In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace.
Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template
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– General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation

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What Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine Want From the Brussels Summit

Mariam Grigalashvili
Originally published in DELF The Lithuania Tribune

The European Union will hold the fifth Summit of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in Brussels on November 24. There, the leaders of EU member states will meet with counterparts from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Belarus.

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