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The Contested Triangle of Disinformation, Democratization and Populism in Georgia

Nino Gozalishvili

Freedom of expression is one of the essential pillars of democracy as we know it. Thus, normatively, democracies should not only pursue this value but also guarantee it to every citizen. However, free speech does not embrace just one definition:  different actors take the stage to interpret it in different ways.  In this milieu, “giving people a voice” has lately been seized by populist actors, an emergence of which has been observed in Georgia, as well. (more…)

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Who Supports National Populism in Georgia? Drawing Parallels with the West

Nino Samkharadze

Understanding the rise in support for right-wing populism across Europe and the nature of right-wing populist support across social, economic and political lines, is an important topic for analysis. During the 2020 parliamentary election campaign in Georgia various political actors conducted gatherings to demonstrate the numbers of their supporters. One such group, The Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG), which is the right-wing populist actor, often inflated numbers of their supporters and their level of youth support. (more…)

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Eurosceptic, therefore, Pro-Russian?

Givi Silagadze

One can hardly find an organization in Georgia, political or otherwise, which openly declares that it is pro-Russian. However, the public realm as well as the media and NGO sectors are full of labels like pro-Russian, pro-Kremlin and pro-Putin. Often, Eurosceptic populist parties with ethno-nationalist inclinations are characterized by these tags but the argumentation behind the labeling is not always apparent. (more…)

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USA Foreign Policy in Transition: How a Biden Administration Impacts Georgia

Nino Samkharadze

The dramatic 2020 USA presidential elections are finally over with Joe Biden having defeated Donald Trump. [i] A new administration means new conditions for USA foreign relations in general, and of importance to us, Georgia. This piece focuses on the revitalization of traditional alliances, the promotion of democratic values beyond the USA, and Biden’s expected stance with Russia, all of which impact strategic relations between Washington and Tbilisi. (more…)

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How the far-right in Georgia might impact the political agenda this October?

Adriana Stephan

Far-right groups have the potential to influence political agendas through narratives that hold both resonance and normative impact. Even absent formal political power or access to mainstream media, far-right groups can shape public discourse. Growing distrust towards political institutions, a highly-polarized political atmosphere, and an increasingly fraught information space provide fertile ground for far-right narratives to thrive in the runup to and during the October parliamentary elections. (more…)

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Georgian party political discourse on foreign policy non-alignment: How has the meaning changed since 1992?

Levan Kakhishvili

Issues related to foreign policy become salient on a regular basis in pre-election contexts in Georgia. Against the background of the upcoming parliamentary elections in October 2020, however, at least three parties have started to advocate for military neutrality or non-alignment as an optimal option for Georgian foreign policy. These parties include Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) (see, Patriots.ge 2020), United Georgia (UG) (see, Liberali 2016), and Free Georgia (FG) (see, Freegeorgia,ge 2020). (more…)

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Is Georgian Populism Eurosceptic?

Givi Silagadze

The proliferation of populist actors in the political systems of European countries in the last two decades has been accompanied by the rise of Euroscepticism. The tandem of populism and Euroscepticism, as some scholars refer to it,[1] has proven to be at odds with liberal-democratic norms and might potentially remold the dynamics of national party competition, especially with respect to the European Union. (more…)

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“Every Cloud has its Silver Lining” – How is the Far Right Deploying the Coronavirus Outbreak in Georgia?

Nino Gozalishvili

The outbreak of COVID-19 has dominated global social and political discourses; including the discourse of far right actors. In their responses to phenomena such as (political) crises and the degree of socioeconomic integration – far right actors demonstrate a leverage to frame the pandemic and utilize exclusionary right-wing policy proposals. Globally, populist far right groups use, “a crisis of public knowledge,” in order to gain recognition and public legitimacy.[1]   (more…)

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Who is (not) populist in Georgia? Making sense of the buzzword

Givi Silagadze

Despite its worldwide significance, the usage of the term “populism” globally as well as in the Georgian context seems to be far from unequivocal. The label “populism” might be employed to denote diverse phenomena including demagoguery, careless policies aimed at reaping electoral benefits, overpromising, popular behavior by politicians, frequent reference to “the ordinary people,” criticism towards “the elites”, etc.  (more…)

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Deconstructing Modern Georgian Populism: Narratives from Political Parties to Social Movements

Nino Samkharadze

There has been a significant surge of populist rhetoric since 2012 within political-civil space, which is expressed in electoral success of populist parties and stirred up activities of populist social movements. Within the current populist environment, it can be distinguished parties and non-party actors with the similarities and differences in their narratives. (more…)

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