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Defining the far right in Georgia: From neo-fascists to populist parties

Adriana Stephan

As countries throughout Europe fall prey to far-right dissent, Georgia is also witnessing gains in its own domestic, far-right movement. Though still a marginal phenomenon, the burgeoning success of these movements threatens Georgia’s European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization ambitions, as well as the strength of its democratic institutions. Far-right groups cultivate anti-Western sentiment and employ xenophobic, racist, and nationalist rhetoric to present foreigners as fundamentally incompatible with Georgian Orthodoxy and Georgian identity. (more…)

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Not EU’s world? Putting Georgia’s European Integration in Context

Bidzina Lebanidze, Mariam Grigalashvili

One of the main shortcomings of academic and policy-relevant studies that explore Euro-Atlantic integration processes in Georgia and in the other Eastern Partnership (EaP) states is the tendency towards EU-centrism – they focus exclusively on Western actors and analyze the European integration processes in the post-Soviet region from the bilateral perspective of European Union (EU) – EaP relations (see, for instance, EaP Index or the majority of academic research). Meanwhile, recently it has become obvious that unlike Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) (more…)

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Georgia’s DCFTA Communication Toolkit

This publication is an integral part of the European Union-funded project “Georgia on the European Way: Creation of Effective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation” launched in April 2017 and scheduled to be implemented by spring 2019. The project addresses the lack of awareness about the opportunities provided by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement between Georgia and the EU. It seeks to increase the role of Georgian civil society organizations (CSOs) in a nation-wide DCFTA/SME communication campaign, while strengthening their capacities to assist local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their preparations to access the EU single market (more…)

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Treaty on Open Skies: Could International Observation Flights be Canceled?

Mariam Grigalashvili

The Treaty on Open Skies (OS) has been a source of tension between Russia and Georgia since 2010. While the issue is serious, the Treaty on Open Skies and the problems related to it are rarely publicly discussed since the agreement is confidential and very technical. It is worth noting that, in recent years, the Russian media has been actively discussing violations of the terms of the agreement, however, particularly allegations that Georgia has violated and politicised it.

The main problem started in 2010 when Russia requested a 10-km restriction at the Abkhaz section of Georgian –Russian state border. (more…)

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Do experts and public think differently? — Comparing expert and public opinions on important political issues

The seventh expert poll conducted by the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) explores the extent that the opinions of the expert community, both domestic and international, differ from the perceptions of the Georgian public. The survey collected responses from 28 renowned Georgian and foreign experts and scholars who are actively researching and studying Georgian domestic and foreign policy. In order to compare the expert respondents’ answers to the views of the general public, the questions in the survey were partly taken from the public surveys commissioned by the NDI and the IRI. (more…)

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Open Government Partnership (OGP) through the citizens’ lens – Why do we need OGP more than we think?

Ketevan Goletiani

According to the 2018 Freedom House report, Georgia remains classified as a hybrid regime with an aggregated score of 64 out of 100. Despite improvements in recent years, the country has faced setbacks in democratic development in terms of informal governance; the impact of oligarchic actors in the policy-making process; government interference with judicial independence, etc. Political corruption also remains a problem: the lack of measures to address high-level corruption resulted in a slight decline of public confidence in anticorruption institutions in 2017. (more…)

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Church and Politics or Church in Politics: How does the Georgian Orthodox Church Impact Georgia’s European Integration Policy?

Vladimer Narsia

This policy brief analyzes the role of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) in Georgian society, particularly in the context of promoting the European integration process. The paper consists of three sections: sermons and preaching that influence European integration policy; the Church-State nexus as a non-secular alliance; and the weak international links of the GOC. All three sections look at the GOC from the perspective of its level of support for Georgia’s European integration policy. While Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II can be considered an ecumenical and equivalently a European minded leader based on some of his statements, his position has not been shared by all Georgian (more…)

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Geopolitics and Security: A New Strategy for the South Caucasus

The South Caucasus is a region at the nexus of various economic, political, and energy interests. It is currently witnessing some of the most complex and dangerous events in the world today. It features weak states, direct and proxy wars, and a confluence of great power interests. It is also a prism for fundamental challenges to the international system, including separatism, security, energy transit, and infrastructure. Strategically, the South Caucasus sits at the crossroads of vibrant global markets: Central Asia and China to the east; Turkey and Europe to the west; Russia to the north; and Iran and the Middle East to the south. However, the lack of regional unity and unresolved frozen and protracted conflicts remain the biggest hurdles to developing a functioning regional security architecture. (more…)

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GIP Interview with Dr. Barbaza Kunz on Georgia’s European perspectives within the context of current debates on the EU’s future

Europeanization is often viewed in Georgia as the process with an end goal of the membership in the European Union. How is it seen from Paris and Berlin? Dr. Barbara Kunz, a research fellow at the French Institute of International Relations’ Study Committee on French-German Relations, was kind enough to answer a few questions about Georgia’s European Perspectives. Interview by Levan Kakhishvili, GIP Analyst.

GIP also published a policy memo by Dr. Kunz – “Georgia’s European perspectives within the context of current debates on the EU’s future: A Franco-German view” (more…)

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Georgia in European Discourses: An Austrian Perspective

Johann Wolfschwenger

For the past several years, Georgia has been a ‘model student’ of EU integration. The country’s firm pro-European stance contributed to the signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU in 2014. However, Georgia’s European aspirations are not always adequately reflected within the EU. This has created a gap between EU member states’ perceptions about Georgia’s EU integration and the domestic discourse in Georgia. In an effort to bridge this gap, this policy memo identifies the preferences and perceptions in Austria that determine its position towards Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. It raises the question whether Austria should be seen as an advocate or a sceptic of Georgia’s EU membership aspirations. (more…)

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Compendium of Policy Briefs 2018

Bidzina Lebanidze, Joseph Larsen,
Levan Kakhishvili, Ivanna Machitidze

Consisting of four policy briefs, the publication introduces policy recommendations on major aspects of Georgia’s Europeanization and democratization agenda,  particularly on the influence of Western political conditionality on domestic agendas; the importance of democratic consolidation at the political level; and influences from non-western regional actors (Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia) on Georgia’s democratization. Intended to encourage public participation in the democratic processes, this compendium creates the groundwork for government officials, field experts, civil society actors and interested stakeholders engaged in Georgia’s gradual democratic advancement.

This publication has been developed under the project – “Incentivizing Democratic Development”, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy and implemented (more…)

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Georgia’s European perspectives within the context of current debates on the EU’s future: A Franco-German view

Dr. Barbara Kunz

As of 2018, the EU’s internal debate has largely emerged from the gloomy state that had overshadowed it recent years: Brussels is again looking forward rather than focusing on crisis management. After the depression caused by the Eurozone crisis, the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States, much of the current debate focuses on taking European integration further in a number of fields: migration and border protection, as well as Eurozone reform and defense. The same applies to Franco-German relations. Paris and Berlin, the traditional (though not always functioning) “motor” of European integration, have formulated ambitious cooperation objectives, both in terms of bilateral relations and within the broader European context. (more…)

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