To Access GIP Commentaries in Georgian, Please Change the Language of the Website

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…)


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…)


How negative are elections, and does it matter? Mapping the use of negative campaigning in elections across the world.

Dr. Alessandro Nai[1]

The report by an international monitoring commission for the 2018 Presidential election in Georgia concluded that the November runoff “was marred by harsh rhetoric”, and that “the negative character of the campaign on both sides undermined the process.”[2]


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.


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.


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…)


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…)


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…)


Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Georgia’s Regional Balancing Act

Dr. Tracey German

As a small state in an unstable neighbourhood, Georgia faces significant external challenges to its ongoing democratisation and Europeanisation projects. The environment in its immediate neighbourhood has become increasingly unfavourable with a rise in illiberalism across the wider Caucasus, reflecting broader global trends. In recent months both the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have won their fourth terms of office, whilst in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to consolidate his already strong grip on power. Armenia has provided a small ray of democratic hope after Serzh Sargsyan was forced to resign as the newly installed prime minister in Armenia (after two consecutive terms as president), following the #RejectSerzh movement and widespread popular protests.



Life Without EU Membership: The Case for a Multi-Speed EaP

Bidzina Lebanidze

The recent Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Brussels highlighted once again the gap between the expectations of the Eastern partners and the European Union. The advanced Eastern partner countries aspire for nothing less than full EU membership – something which the European Council is not ready to offer. Yet, the exclusive focus on the rather distant membership perspective has overshadowed more acute problems: for many, the EaP format itself is considered inherently ineffective undermining of the EU’s soft power in Eastern partner countries. (more…)