24/02/2020 GIP

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


Givi Silagadze

Publish Date:

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. Applying the expert-interview method and relying on a minimal academic definition of populism, this policy memo aims to map relevant populist actors in contemporary Georgia. The memo identifies left-wing as well as right-wing populists in Georgia. Based on its findings and contrary to claims that every political actor is populist in Georgia, it can be argued that the populist actors identified in this memo are not the most popular political forces in the country.

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