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Tag: Georgia

Russian interference in Georgia’s elections. How will the government respond?

A recently released investigation provides grim evidence of Russian interference into the Georgian election process. The Kremlin’s goals for this are clear: to create instability and derail Georgia from its Euro-Atlantic path. The government, however, has been quick to dismiss these claims.

September 28, 2020 - Anastasia Mgaloblishvili

Georgia’s wayward son

When it comes to Mikheil Saakashvili and his legacy as president, Georgians praise and curse him simultaneously. His announced return should the largest opposition party win in upcoming elections should be seen through the lens of the local society, most of which would not warmly welcome such a homecoming.

September 22, 2020 - Archil Sikharulidze

Along with Swab Germans in Georgia

The year 2017 marked the 200th anniversary since the first German settlers (mainly Wurttemberg Swabs) showed up in Georgia. A number of factors contributed to this migration. However, Wurttemberg’s internal affairs, such as constant warring conditions, increased taxes and economic hardship, played major roles. Moreover, the increased discontent towards the Lutheran church strengthened religious protests that sent the population searching for new homes. Even though, the Swab presence ended by the hands of those who had originally invited them, and much of its historical remains have been conquered by nature, their legacy continues to capture people’s hearts and minds in Georgia.

September 16, 2020 - Bacho Chubinidze

Western pressure intensifies towards the Georgian Dream. Is Georgian democracy backsliding?

Responding to outside criticism, Georgian Dream has blamed the opposition adding to the tension ahead of October's parliamentary election.

September 10, 2020 - Soso Dzamukashvili

Hardly a Georgian dream. Confronting COVID-19 in the midst of an election year

Like much of the world, Georgia has experienced the first half of 2020 in a way that could not have been predicted. The ruling Georgian Dream party faced the difficult choice of sparing economic losses or imposing strict regulations to maintain public health. The COVID-19 virus, while largely curtailed in Georgia by decisive action, has left many economic woes in a country that will only be intensified by an imminent election.

This year is shaping up to be unlike anything that could have been anticipated. This was a year that many expected to see dominated by Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and a highly-contested US presidential election in the autumn. Instead, the first six months saw a global shutdown and subsequent economic and health crisis caused by COVID-19. The country of Georgia, which anticipated ten months of mud-slinging and campaign promises in the run up to its October parliamentary elections, quickly found itself as pre-occupied as the rest of the world with mitigating the effects of the virus.

September 7, 2020 - Mackenzie Baldinger

Georgia and the EU need to stay focused on integration

The Eastern Partnership can boast a list of accomplishments for Georgia and Georgian society. Yet, it seems clear that the Eastern Partnership was never really considered as a path of membership to the European Union. Georgia’s government and civil society now need to focus on what the next steps in European integration should be.

“Georgia has one of the highest EU support in the world,” said EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell in interview for Georgian TV Formula’s “Droeba” programme. The ambassador added that: “About 250 million euros have been allocated for Georgia in the form of grants. These are new grants and new funding. If we talk about rough numbers, the European Union will allocate about 1.5 billion Georgian lari [nearly 415,000 euros] for Georgia”. It has been eleven years since the Eastern Partnership Programme, suggested by Poland and Sweden, was launched. Georgia, as one of the beneficiaries and one of the leaders of the Eastern Partnership programme, showcases more ambition and put great effort towards its European integration. Today, the Eastern Partnership faces new challenges: What will its future be and what will be the new steps in the process of EU integration for these countries? Any decision regarding future challenges remain very important for Georgia.

September 4, 2020 - Nugzar Kokhreidze

On the West we rely

The Georgian parliament has adopted constitutional changes that have been applauded by their international partners. As a result, the Georgian Dream government might struggle with an even more alienated opposition.

July 31, 2020 - Archil Sikharulidze

The many dimensions of hybrid warfare

Georgia is in the midst of a hybrid war with Russia. Among the various tools used by the Kremlin, economic pressure has been arguably the most effective strategy that has been directed at Georgia since the 1990s.

Georgia-Russia relations give great insight into the currently fashionable subject of hybrid warfare. Similar to the idea of “fourth generation warfare”, which focuses on blurring the fronts between opposing sides and waging war by means other than head-on military confrontation, hybrid warfare is a more sophisticated way of using all of a country’s available resources to achieve a specific set of geopolitical aims.

July 7, 2020 - Emil Avdaliani

How Russian propaganda works in Georgia

Russian disinformation activities in Georgia, a front-runner in the Eastern Partnership, illustrates how Russian propaganda works on a variety of levels. Understanding the Georgian case may provide an insight into how to counter such hybrid activities in the country and elsewhere in the West.

Today, no one argues with the fact that Russian propaganda is a global challenge. Over the past few years we have witnessed how well-structured disinformation campaigns can be used as a tool for achieving certain strategic goals: to shape public opinion, increase political polarisation, influence elections, demonise opponents, undermine state security, boost nihilism and cripple democracy. As the Soviet-born British journalist, author and TV producer Peter Pomerantsev wrote: “The Kremlin weaponises information!”

July 7, 2020 - Grigol Julukhidze

Borderisation. The Kremlin’s unending war

Twelve years since the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War – when Russia’s aggressive policies divided neighbouring Georgia into different parts – the Kremlin still permanently reminds Georgians of this reality with barbed wire, border-signs, kidnappings and creeping annexation.

In order to describe the occupation lines which separate Georgia from the territories occupied by the Kremlin (Tskhinvali /Abkhazia), we first have to define the very concept of “borderisation”. This is because, just like the “little green men” in Crimea, the process of “borderisation” in Georgia has been managed by the secretive FSB (formerly the KGB), in recent years. Borderisation is the process of installing equipment (fences and barbed wires) on the line of occupation between territory controlled by Tbilisi and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia (known to Georgia as the Tskhinvali Region), which are de facto controlled by Russian security forces.

July 7, 2020 - Egor Kuroptev

Religion as a powerful foreign policy tool

Russia’s principal aim towards Georgia is to reverse its Euro-Atlantic integration strategy and return Tbilisi to the Kremlin’s political orbit. One of the main tools to achieve this aim is the use of the Orthodox Church, with the main narrative being that Russia is the last bastion of Christianity and conservative values in the world.

The conflict between Russia and Georgia dates back to 1801 when the Russian Empire annexed the eastern part of Georgia. The country was under the direct rule of the Tsarist regime until May 26th 1918 when Georgia regained its long-awaited independence as a consequence of Russia’s ongoing civil war. Yet Georgia’s democratic republic was short-lived. When the civil war ended in Russia, the Bolsheviks once again subdued the South Caucasus region, including Georgia.

July 7, 2020 - Giorgi Jokhadze

The Kremlin’s fake news machine swirl COVID-19 conspiracies

To quell the impact of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns ahead of the milestone October parliamentary elections, the government, Facebook and civil society organisations will need to take more proactive measures.

Georgia has been particularly affected by Russian information operations, especially in light of its troubled political relations with Moscow and the country’s generally unabated pro-western course. Over the last few years, large numbers of Kremlin-funded and domestic news websites and social media pages have carried out a massive information offensive against the country, undermining societal trust towards the West, public institutions and civil society organisations. They have been particularly active in the electoral periods, campaigning extensively against liberal values and liberal-minded politicians.

July 7, 2020 - Tornike Zurabashvili

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