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Tag: Georgia

Batumi uprising: A response to a parking penalty or to an obstructed political process?

According to a report by the Interior Ministry of Georgia, on the evening of March 11th, police officers detained two local residents for disobedience and violating traffic lights. Later, the police arrested three more people for ignoring the policemen’s orders. According to witnesses, however, the conflict began when the police gave a local resident a disproportionally high parking ticket.

April 24, 2017 - Beka Kiria

Georgia: Unpicking the Soviet past

Georgia is among those few former Soviet countries that fought for independence. The euphoric sense of freedom in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, started to slip away soon as the disturbing reality of the Soviet legacy took over before Georgians’ eyes. Living for nearly 70 years under the Russian yoke had completely incapacitated their ability to self-govern. Inexperienced in how to build up state institutions from scratch in a way which would safeguard the inclusivity and diversity of their traditionally heterogeneous society, Georgians became embroiled in a string of ethnic and civil wars throughout the 1990s. The initial attempt to embrace freedom of expression, market economy and other western values, so alien to the Soviet system, backfired as Georgia slowly descended into poverty and chaos.

March 16, 2017 - Shalva Dzidziguri

Fighting Georgia’s draconian anti-drug law

In 2013, the 27-year old Beka Tsikarishvili was arrested for possession of 65 grams of marijuana. He could have faced between seven and 14 years of prison. It was during his trial that the Georgian Constitutional Tribunal announced in 2015 for the first time that sentencing people to imprisonment for possessing no more than 70 grams of marijuana is against the constitution. In the ruling, it was additionally highlighted that the decision does not mean depenalisation of cannabis and does not refer to situations where the purpose of possession no matter the amount, was to sell the drug.

February 23, 2017 - Milena Chodoła

Georgian Parliamentary Election 2016. Parties under pressure

On October 8th 2016, Georgia will hold its eighth parliamentary election since declaring independence in 1991. This parliamentary election is critical to maintaining a "routinisation" of democratic practices in a country that just a few decades ago was under authoritarian rule. Unlike many of the other countries in the region, Georgia has managed to achieve democratic stability in recent years, despite the continued occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia. The October 2016 election is of  specific importance for Georgian politics not because there is a potential for revolution and regime collapse or regime change, as was the case in 2003 with the Rose Revolution, but precisely because of the opposite. The upcoming election will be the most competitive in Georgia to date, will likely see three or more political parties pass the five percent threshold and will possibly require a coalition government be formed. These facts are important because while elections have become routine in Georgia, many questions still surround the key democratic actors – political parties – and their ability either to lend legitimacy or to delegitimise the electoral process. The behaviour of political parties in the parliamentary election next month will be closely scrutinised. Whether parties will revert to old tactics of intimidation, violence, personal attacks, and an overall disregard for the rule of law in their fight for power is of a particular concern. Furthermore, the participation of female candidates will again be important for assessing levels of representation in Georgian politics.

September 26, 2016 - Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak

To bring Godot, wait for Godot. Georgia and the Warsaw Summit

Considering the harsh realities of international politics, the Warsaw Summit has constituted a success of Georgia’s foreign policy. Georgia, as it has been widely expected, has not been invited to join the Membership Action Plan. Although, each post-Bucharest NATO Summit, like the messenger boy in Godot, reminds us that NATO membership ‘will not come this evening but surely tomorrow’. Despite this, Georgia should realise that steadily waiting for Godot is the only way to ensure that Godot arrives.

July 21, 2016 - Irakli Sirbiladze

Is NATO ditching Georgia’s dream?

If you arrive in Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia – by plane, before you get to the city centre from the airport, you will have to drive along the George W. Bush highway. The former US President remains highly popular, especially with western minded Georgians, not least because of his staunch support for the democratic transition of the former Soviet country – and especially for his efforts to make Georgia a member of NATO. It was Bush who tried to convince his European counterparts in 2008 to grant Georgia a membership action plan (MAP) together with Ukraine, which would have put both countries officially on track to joining the military alliance. But due to resistance from France and Germany all he got was the binding promise that “these countries would become members of NATO” in the future, noted in the final declaration of the summit.

July 14, 2016 - Shalva Dzidziguri

EU Association Agreements can become engines of change, even if they do not lead to membership

An interview with Barbara Lippert, Director of Research in the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska.

July 6, 2016 - Barbara Lippert

Georgia’s European integration cannot be postponed because of Brexit

Interview with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Interview by Paul Toetzke.

PAUL TOETZKE: Mr. President, you are basically closing out “Georgian weeks” in Germany after the visits of the Georgian speaker of parliament as well the prime minister a few weeks ago. Among others, you met with the German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. One important issue on the agenda was visa liberalisation for Georgians. Were there any promises made concerning the next steps?

July 2, 2016 - Giorgi Margvelashvili

NATO Warsaw Summit: Georgia and other unanswered questions

As the Warsaw NATO Summit approaches, the contested notion of Georgia’s membership in NATO does not seem to be receiving much support. However, within the context of current debates on the future of the alliance, it is crucial to discuss how the case of Georgia impacts the alliance, the European integration, as well as the question of who we are and what we represent.

June 13, 2016 - Anna Visvizi

Iranian gas in Georgia. A feasible option?

Over the past few months the Chief of Russia's Gazprom, Aleksei Miller, and Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze have been negotiating an energy deal between the two countries. The main issues on Georgia’s agenda have been its diversification plans and increasing energy consumption. Meanwhile, Georgia has not yet ruled out importing gas from Iran. According to Alireza Kameli, the Head of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, Georgian public and private sectors were interested in buying Iranian gas and Georgia and Iran have reached a preliminary agreement on the transportation of 500 mcm of gas to Georgia via Armenia. Georgia denied the statement, claiming that the two countries have not come up with any tangible agreement.

May 27, 2016 - Ilgar Gurbanov

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