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Political Opportunities for the Extreme Right in Georgia

Tamta Gelashvili[1]

Over the past several years, right-wing extremists have begun to proliferate in Georgia and their visibility has noticeably increased. More recently, far right groups even announced plans to form a joint party, the National Front, which will “take part in absolutely all political processes.”[2] This policy brief discusses whether there are favorable political opportunities for right-wing extremist actors in Georgia to mobilize.

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Government and opposition share blame for increasing trends of polarization and populism, experts say

Expert Polls # 9, Georgian Institute of Politics, April 2019.

The ninth expert poll conducted by the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) explored the increasing trends of populism and polarization in Georgia. The GIP asked 34 renowned Georgian and foreign experts and scholars about the degree of populism and polarization in Georgian political parties and media outlets.

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Russian-Georgian WTO agreement and its implications for Georgian-Russian relations

Expert Comment

In 2011, Russia and Georgia signed an agreement on the Basic Principles for a Mechanism of Customs Administration and Monitoring of Trade in Goods. The agreement facilitated Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization. Based on the agreement, Georgia and Russia, in 2017 and 2018 respectively, signed separate contracts with a neutral private company (SGS). The contracts established the groundwork for the practical implementation of the agreement.

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Compendium of Policy Briefs 2019

Salome Minesashvili, Levan Kakhishvili,
Bidzina Lebanidze, Nino Robakidze

The four policy briefs in the publication introduce policy recommendations to tackle the trust crisis, polarization, and populism in Georgia. In particular, the publication focuses on the effect the decreasing level of trust in political parties has on democratization in Georgia and the effect rising nationalist populism has on Georgia’s European integration.

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Polarization: What do we know about it and what can we do to combat it?

Dr. Fernando Casal Bértoa[1]

A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of polarization. In the last decade vote for anti-political-establishment parties, being them populist, radical and/or extreme has exponentially increased. And with it the distance between political parties and the irreconcilable differences (either ideological, personalistic or both) among voters.

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Political Polarization and Media: Threats to the Democratic Process in Georgia

Nino Robakidze[1]

Traditional liberal democratic states across the world are concerned about the issue of political polarization. At the same time, the media, one of the major democratic institute, is also facing new challenges. Trust of towards traditional media, particularly for some specific social groups, is defined more by the media outlet’s political sympathies or ideological perspective than by professionalism and objective reporting.

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Security Perceptions in Georgia

Levan Kakhishvili
Originally posted by Minsk Dialogue

Survival is often argued to be the major concern of small states’ international relations. Georgia is no exception – since it gained independence in the early 1990s, Georgia has had a turbulent history. It has experienced four military conflicts: two wars in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and a civil war in Tbilisi during the early 1990s, and later a brief war with Russia in August 2008.

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Rise of Nationalist Populism in Georgia: Implications for European Integration

Bidzina Lebanidze[1]

This policy brief explores to what extent the rising wave of populist nationalism in Georgia affects the process of Georgia’s approximation to the EU. Normatively speaking, the populist nationalist discourse in Georgia is Eurosceptic as it legitimizes itself through opposition to progressive and liberal-democratic values which are part of EU’s normative script. So far its impact on the actual process of Georgia’s European integration has been rather negligible, however. Georgia remains the most pro-European state among the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, with more than 80% of population supporting the country’s EU membership. (more…)

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Decreasing level of trust in Georgian political parties: What does it mean for democracy and how to avoid negative consequences?

Levan Kakhishvili[1]

Trust in political parties in Georgia has dropped from 21 percent in 2012 to 8 percent in 2017. Although the level of trust has never been particularly high, this trend should raise concern and inspire political parties to act. Political trust is mostly determined by societal beliefs and political institutions. This paper analyzes both of these dimensions to demonstrate the roots of the distrust. In terms of beliefs, the paper explores four aspects of trust as perceived by the Georgian public: competence, benevolence, integrity, and predictability. The paper also considers the role of political institutions. (more…)

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Georgia and the EU’s Eastern Partnership: a Swedish Perspective

Martin Kragh[1]

The ‘hybrid war’ waged by Russia against Ukraine since 2014, which was preceded by the short-lived Russia-Georgia War in 2008, has exposed the wider conflict between the respective goals and ambitions of the EU and Russia in their shared neighbourhood. The Kremlin’s belligerence towards Ukraine brought to the fore limitations of the EU’s traditional foreign policy approach – characterized by an emphasis on shared values, international law and norms, and a technocratic approach to reform, and forced EU governments to address the unintended geostrategic implications of the Eastern Partnership program covering Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Social Underpinnings of Right-Wing Populism in Georgia

Salome Minesashvili

A wave of right-wing, nationalist populism is sweeping the Western world, illustrated by Brexit, the election of US President Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing parties across Europe. Although neither populism nor right-wing movements are new to Georgia, the combination of the two and their legitimization by legislative rights is a more recent development over the past two decades. As a result of the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, which is commonly assumed to be a right-wing populist party, managed to overcome the 5% threshold and secure seats in the legislative body, (more…)

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A Positive Influence in the South Caucasus? Georgia’s Potential as a Regional Stabilizer

Victor Le Grix

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that erupted in 1988 may reach a new level of intensity in the coming years. Although recent developments have shown the parties’ willingness to seriously restart the peace negotiations, the situation remains fragile. The implementation of an unbalanced status quo and the political attractiveness of short-term military victories in times of economic difficulties are factors which contribute to durable instability and  may still lead to a new clash. In a region where economic interests are so interconnected and influence is so disputed, (more…)

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