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Making Georgia’s democracy work: Western political conditionality and domestic agendas of Georgian political parties

Bidzina Lebanidze

External democracy promotion has not brought any tangible results to most countries in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), contrary to Western expectations. Georgia has been one of the few exceptions to that trend, however. The Black Sea country has advanced in terms of good and democratic governance over the last ten years and, even though the democratization process in Georgia remains unfinished, the country has experienced a number of democratic breakthroughs and, overall, democratic quality has increased. (more…)


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…)


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?



The End of Direct Presidential Elections – The Constitutional Reform Process in Georgia

Tornike Zurabashvili

As part of the ongoing constitutional reform process, the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party (Georgian Dream) intends to abolish direct election of the president of Georgia, transferring voting power from the public to a college of electors (more…)


The Georgian Orthodox Church as a Civil Actor: Challenges and Capabilities

Salome Minesashvili

Religious organizations as civil actors with social capital can play significant roles in social reform processes, examples of which being the African Church in South Africa and representatives of the Catholic Church in Latin America. The Importance of churches as civil actors (more…)


Is Democracy Possible without Stable Political Parties?

Levan Kakhishvili

Strong political parties represent the cornerstone of consolidated democracies. Parties contend for office in elections. Therefore, a strong link between parties and voters is of primary importance to the success of elections. Strong and stable party-voter linkages ensure that democracy is stable, as voters are aware of what to expect from elected parties. (more…)


Georgia’s European Integration:What Comes After The Eastern Partnership?

Bidzina Lebanidze

This policy brief explores future avenues for EU-Georgia relations going beyond the Eastern Partnership (EaP) but short of full EU membership. Enlargement fatigue coupled with economic and migration crises and the resultant rise of far-right groups puts additional pressure on the EU’s relations with its Eastern Partners. (more…)


Visa Liberalization for Georgia: What’s Next?

Giorgi Vardishvili, Elene Panchulidze

On March 28, 2017 the visa-free regime for Georgian citizens to the Schengen Area officially entered into force. This was another historic decision on the road to Georgia’s homecoming, its final integration in the European family. The visa regime liberalization is the fruit of a (more…)


Visa-free Travel to the EU: Prospects for a European Choice and Democratization by the Occupied Territories of Georgia

Ann Tsurtsumia-Zurabashvili
Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellow, Dublin City University.

In December 2015, the European Commission acknowledged the fulfilment of Georgia’s Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) benchmarks1, a step that brought Georgian passport holders a step closer to the realistic prospect of travelling visa free inside the Schengen area in the foreseeable future. (more…)


Georgia’s Parliament: A Rubber Stamp No Longer?

Alexander Scrivener
GIP Research Fellow

Has Parliament become more effective since 2012?

YES – Parliament now includes the main political protagonists. In the previous parliament, the main opposition groups boycotted the legislature. While UNM boycott committee meetings, their presence in plenary sessions ensures that the real debate between the two main parties in Georgia happens within the legislature. (more…)