|Learning from Georgia’s Crisis: Implications and Recommendations|
|March 03, 2008|
"Learning from Georgia’s Crisis: Implications and Recommendations" is a Policy Paper published by the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center. The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and the Silk Road Studies Program is a joint transatlantic independent and externally funded research and policy center. The Joint Center has offices in Washington and Stockholm and is affiliated with the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy. It is the first Institution of its kind in Europe and North America, and is today firmly established as a leading research and policy center, serving a large and diverse community of analysts, scholars, policy-watchers, business leaders and journalists. The Joint Center aims to be at the forefront of research on issues of conflict, security and development in the region. Through its applied research, publications, teaching, research cooperation, public lectures and seminars, it wishes to function as a focal point for academic, policy, and public discussion regarding the region.
Summary and Recommendations
This paper provides background, implications, and policy recommendations to the political crisis which unfolded in Georgia in early November. The paper concludes that the crisis resulted primarily from a breakdown in state society communication, the Saakashvili administration having failed to account for or manage growing discontent with the radical reform policies in the socio-economic area. Meanwhile, an opposition coalition was boosted by the financial and media clout of a well-known oligarch to function as a funnel for discontent.
The arguably disproportionate government reaction and crackdown was driven by a genuine belief that the situation risked developing into considerable domestic turmoil. These fears should be viewed against the background of Russia’s relentless challenge to Georgian statehood, generating a constant state of crisis in Georgian foreign relations, and providing a significant impediment to domestic democratic development. The opposition’s choice to utilize the momentum provided by the demonstrations to push for regime change served to further fuel these fears.
The episode has highlighted a lack of checks and balances and continued predominance of informal decision-making structures in Georgia’s political system. In light of these implications, a set of policy recommendations are provided for the Georgian government, as well as Western governments seeking to aid Georgia’s democratic development:
Recommendations to the Georgian Government:
Ensure free and fair elections and media freedom
The return of Imedi TV to the airwaves is a crucial step in rebuilding the media freedom that is crucial to any democratic society. The EU’s move to bring in – and Georgia’s decision to invite – Polish intellectual Adam Michnik to oversee the media process is a positive move in the right direction; moreover, the emergence of an NGO media council designed to apply ethical and coverage standards is a welcome development.
Beyond the presidential elections, the Georgian Government should ensure in good time that the Parliamentary election are held in a free and fair atmosphere and invite numerous observers; request foreign partners to help develop its media institutions and to develop the professionalism and ethics of journalism in the country.
Build a fundamentally new approach to communications
Strengthen the role of state institutions in the policy process and suppress the factor of informal politics
The Georgian president elected on January 5 should seek to reverse this trend and ensure that power is exercised by the cabinet of ministers and other constitutional organs, and avoid resort to informal networks and “kitchen cabinets”. The persons that the President trusts the most to implement his policies should therefore also have adequate positions that appropriately reflect their influence and position. This will ensure a clear chain of command and decisions taken in an accountable fashion.
Step up pace of reform in Ministry of Internal Affairs and more broadly in the building of the rule of law
The government should allocate greater funds for the training of police and Interior Ministry officials in human rights. The President should also take steps to oversee the media situation in the country. This should have two purposes: to protect the media from government intervention; and to work for increased professionalism in the Georgian media, building on the media council being created.
Recommendations to Western Governments and Organizations
Abandon the false premise that sustainable democratic development in Georgia or anywhere is possible in the absence of sovereignty and security.
The events of November 2007 only reinforce the conclusion that longterm sustainable democracy is unlikely to be built in the absence of basic security. This is one area where the comparison between Georgia and the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe breaks down. Compared to the successful democratization processes in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, Georgia faces a security threat much more acute and existential in nature than any of those countries, including the Baltic states, ever did. Moreover, Georgia enjoys less Western – in particular European – support in terms of membership prospects in the EU and NATO, than those countries did. As long as that is the case, Georgia is unlikely to single-handedly develop into a consolidated and secure democracy.
Western governments need to acknowledge that their refusal to engage with Georgia on a serious basis in security issues impedes the country’s development and thereby also important Western interests. In particular, the failure of the international community to support Georgia’s efforts to alter the status quo as concerns conflict resolution in Abkhazia and South Ossetia impedes Georgia’s stability and development and thereby also Western interests in a stable neighborhood and a stable conduit for Caspian energy resources.
Flowing from this, the consequence for the West of the November events is not that Georgia has failed the test of democracy and therefore deserves less support, but exactly the opposite: that only more substantial investments in Georgia’s security can contribute to the building of a stable and democratic Georgia, itself something in the interest of the West.
Contribute to post-election stability by urging restraint from the opposition
Work with the Georgian Government on police reform
Work with the Georgian Government on communication strategy
Georgia’s post-revolutionary government faced its most significant challenge to date in early November, as an increasingly radicalized opposition alliance served as a funnel for growing discontent with the Government’s socioeconomic policies. A November 7 government crackdown and the introduction of a State of Emergency ended the standoff, but tarnished the Government’s democratic credentials. President Saakashvili sought to mitigate damage by announcing snap presidential elections, lifting the state of emergency, and gradually allowing the oppositional Imedi TV channel back on air.
The episode is likely to have medium-term implications for Georgia’s future stability and development. To begin with, Russia is certain to exploit Georgia’s weakened situation, at a time when both domestic Russian politics and the Kosovo question make irresponsible behavior on the part of the Kremlin increasingly likely. Conversely, the crisis and the way it was handled has led to weakened support for Georgia in the West. Georgia watchers in the policy and expert communities appear divided both over the crisis itself and what transpired, as well as over how to move forward constructively. This policy paper seeks to provide an analysis of the implications of the crisis and conclusions to be drawn from it. Its purpose is to inform the policy debate on how to move forward Georgia’s process of state-building, democratization, and Euro-Atlantic integration. The paper begins with a short background to the crisis, followed by an analysis of its implications and recommendations for both the Georgian and Western governments.
Analysis of the Background to the November crisis
Domestic discontent with the Saakashvili administration’s policies had been growing for some time, and was patently obvious prior to the crisis itself. For the past year or more, substantial tracts of the Georgian population were growing patently uneasy with the consequences of the Saakashvili administration’s liberalizing reforms. In fact, the very reforms that made Georgia a poster-child in many international rankings seemed to backfire domestically.
The government’s problem was both one of substance and one of communication. In terms of substance, liberalizing reforms had affected many Georgians negatively, a particularly explosive factor given the high expectations that the rose revolution would bring prosperity and stability, expectations also fueled by the Government itself. In this sense, the growing dissatisfaction echoed the experience of Eastern European states that accomplished rapid reforms, and where many reformist leaders were voted out of office. But more importantly, the Saakashvili administration had a communication problem. While it succeeded in presenting itself as a leading reformer internationally, it failed to make its case convincingly enough to its own population. The government at times appeared deaf and arrogant to the socio-economic concerns of sections of the population, perhaps in the conviction that the fruits of reforms would eventually quiet these voices. This explains the growing discontent and the size of the demonstrations that began on November 2. However, it does not explain the intense polarization of the Georgian political scene, or the violent outcome of the standoff.
Following a series of controversies between the Georgian Government and the opposition in the fall of 2007, a first round of public protests were initiated on November 2. At least 50,000 demonstrators gathered on the streets of Tbilisi in protest against continuing poverty, the lack of employment opportunities, and a weak social welfare system. At the forefront of the demonstrations stood ten opposition parties, united in the coalition “National Council of Unified Public Movement.” [The Council Movement was formed shortly after the arrest of ex-defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili. Originally, the coalition comprised the Republican Party (Davit Usupashvili); Conservative Party (Kakha Kukava, Zviad Dzidziguri); Georgia’s Way (Salome Zourabichvili); Freedom – (Konstantine Gamsakhurdia); On Our Own (Paata Davitaia); Party of People (Koba Davitashvili); Movement for United Georgia (Irakli Okruashvili), Georgian Troupe (Jondi Bagaturia), Labor Party (Shalva Natelashvili) and National Forum (Kakha Shartava) The Labor Party later withdrew from the coalition]. For several months, these opposition forces had been campaigning on a set of radical demands, including most prominently the abolition of the institution of the presidency, and the possible reintroduction of the Constitutional Monarchy – a somewhat bizarre objective, given that the Bagrationi dynasty has been out of power for two centuries, was absorbed into the Russian nobility, lives in exile and has only limited connections with Georgia today. It was also notable that the Catholicos of the Georgian Orthodox Church supported these demands, indicating the increasingly politicized role of the Church in Georgia.
By early November, four concrete demands were put forward to the Government: (1) to hold Parliamentary elections in the spring of 2008 as originally envisaged by the constitution, and not in October as envisaged by constitutional amendments enforced by the administration; (2) to ensure pluralism in the Central Election Commission; (3) to reform the current electoral system, dominated by single-member constituencies; (4) and to release political prisoners (referring to Irakli Batiashvili, sentenced last may to seven years imprisonment for providing intellectual assistance to Kodori warlord Emzar Kvitsiani).
Whereas this was the initial stated goal of the demonstrations, it was also apparent that more was at stake than these relatively technical questions. Indeed, the opposition forces appear to have been divided on the eventual aim of the rallies.
Whereas the more responsible leaders of the opposition were certainly advancing concrete demands in good faith, more radical forces appeared more opportunistic, intent on replicating the rose revolution. Indeed, similarities were obvious, as the November demonstrations replicated some of the tactics used four years ago, when protesters were bused in from outlying regions. Moreover, the very day of the beginning of demonstrations, November 2, was the date of the 2003 Parliamentary elections that launched the rose revolution.
With 50,000 protestors gathered on Tbilisi’s Rustaveli Avenue on November 2, the Government faced an entirely novel challenge for which it was not mentally prepared: it appeared for the first time to be opposed by powerful forces in the population. Demonstrators did not, to be sure, reflected a compact societal consensus in the country. While the Government did alienate a significant part of both the elite and the population, it did retain substantial popularity. In a country where, as Ghia Nodia has noted, control of the streets – particularly the area of Rustaveli Avenue in front of the Parliament – is seen as a symbol of legitimacy, this was a very troubling development for the Government.
The opposition’s demands were addressed in a first round of negotiations between government and opposition leaders on November 2, but no agreement was reached. Although disputed by the opposition, the Government at this stage reportedly agreed to consider three of the four claims, refusing only to negotiate on the date of the Parliamentary elections. Moving the elections forward would in the Government’s view make the Georgian and the Russian elections coincide, something that would make Georgia vulnerable to Russian interference – and in the light of the possible recognition of Kosovo’s independence – even intervention in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. However, the opposition refused to negotiate on what it considered being the most important of its demands.
While informal meetings continued to take place between representatives from the ruling party and the opposition in the following days, failure to reach consensus on the opposition’s demands continued to bring protesters to the streets, albeit in decreasing numbers. Having kept silent for the first days of demonstrations, tasking Parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze with negotiating with the opposition, President Saakashvili made his first address to the nations on November 4. In a televised speech, while referring to the rallies as normal in a democratic society, he heavily criticized the opposition’s attempt to replicate the Rose revolution, pointed at Moscow’s interest in staging turmoil in Georgia ahead of the Duma elections, and reiterated the Government’s position to hold Parliamentary elections in fall 2008.
Up to this point, demonstrations proceeded peacefully for several days and nights, but a series of tragic mistakes made by both sides sent events spiraling out of control on November 7. First, riding on a sudden momentum (that all knew would not last), the opposition leaders decided to raise the stakes. Instead of declaring victory and moving ahead when the Government compromised on three of four issues, the opposition instead radicalized its stance. It already by December 3 took the fateful decision to demand the president’s resignation, then on Dec 6 decided to set up tent camps outside Parliament, and some leaders even went on hunger strike. In other words, the opposition decided to use the streets, rather than the democratic process, to get its way. The government, for its part, denounced the opposition's call for the president’s resignation as blackmail and representing the interests of Moscow rather than the Georgian public.
At this point, the Government appears to have concluded that its willingness to compromise was interpreted as a sign of weakness. It became increasingly clear that at least part of the opposition wanted nothing but the ouster of the Government by popular force, in a sense a repeat of the rose revolution. This interpretation – and the alleged role of a hidden Russian hand behind events – was borne out by taped conversations between some opposition leaders and Russian Foreign Intelligence Service agents.
On November 7, the number of demonstrators on Rustaveli Avenue had dropped from several tens of thousands to only several hundred. In the morning of November 7th, Georgian police moved in to disperse the remaining protesters, including the hunger-strikers in front of the Parliament. Officials motivated the decision with the need to resume traffic on the capital’s main street, as well as countering disruptions of public order. However, the attempt to open up Rustaveli Avenue only provided new energy for the demonstrations. Around noon, opposition leaders managed to gather several thousand protesters and pushed through the police cordons, regaining control of Rustaveli Avenue in front of the Parliament. Riot police then intervened to disperse the protesters, this time using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.
In the afternoon of November 7, the Ministry of Interior issued taped phone conversations and video recordings of opposition leaders Levan Berdzenishvili (Republican Party) and Giorgi Khaindrava (independent), and Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, (brother of Freedom party leader Konstantin Gamsakhurdia), which, according to the Interior Ministry, proved their interaction with Russian intelligence officials. The next day, similar charges were brought against Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili. Commenting on the recordings, several MPs from the ruling party made statements accusing the opposition of engaging in coup plotting and crimes against the state. Others stated that the evidence presented was inadequate and denounced the allegations of opposition leaders collaborating with Russian intelligence as absurd. The government later softened its stance on the issue, terming the mentioned opposition leaders “witnesses” rather than suspects. Protesters then gathered again at Rike, an open space on the other side of the Mtkvari River, for renewed rallies. The demonstrations were again dispersed by riot police. The same evening, the Imedi television channel, considered to be the opposition’s main media outlet and controlled by opposition leader and oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili, was closed down by detachments from the Interior Ministry. The police operation against Imedi was carried out after the station broadcast a statement by Patarkatsishvili, calling the Government fascist and stating he would use all his financial resources to bring it down. Imedi had during the demonstrations called for rallies, thus exposing itself to criticism for openly taking sides against the Government. Local TV station Kavkasia was simultaneously shut down. According to a statement by News Corporation two days later, Imedi was vandalized to the extent that the station would not be able to resume broadcasting in three months time. Shortly after the closure of Imedi, Prime Minster Zurab Noghiadeli announced that a State of Emergency was imposed in Tbilisi by a presidential decree, restricting freedom of assembly and the media. This was later followed by a statement by Economy Minister Giorgi Arveladze, extending the state of emergency throughout the country.
The Imedi TV Issue
The Imedi TV station was founded by Bari Patarkatsishvili in 2003. Patarkatsishvili remained the sole owner until August 2006. In August 2006, Patarkatsishvili sold 49% of the shares of Imedi to News Corp., run by Rupert Murdoch. Still, only one person from News Corp. was physically present in Tbilisi. Patarkatsishvili moved into moderate opposition during 2006, but only declared direct political ambitions in the late summer of 2007. From September 2007 onward, Imedi came to take on a much more pronounced antigovernment editorial policy, and by October, Patarkatsishvili announced he would lead and finance the opposition to the Saakashvili administration and the movement to move the Government out of power. As Imedi TV is widely known to operate at a loss of several million dollars, it was widely assumed that Patarkatsishvili was financing the station’s operation. On October 31, Patarkatsishvili announced he handed his shares in Imedi for one year to News Corp. However, in spite of Georgian legislation to that effect, no document registering the change of ownership and control over the station was handed in to Georgian authorities within the 10 days stipulated by law. It is apparent that the agreement for News Corp. to exercise full control and management was not in effect in the period until the station was shut down.
The events on November 7th caused 508 people to seek medical care, according to the Georgian Health Care Ministry. 23 police officers were wounded, and 21 demonstrators were arrested. Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, foreign as well as Georgian, reported several instances of excessive and indiscriminate use of force, including shootings with rubber bullets and beatings of fleeing protesters. Police reportedly also prevented media on the site from reporting on events, confiscating camera equipment and beating journalists. Ombudsman Sozar Subari was also beaten by the police. A smaller student demonstration was dispersed outside the university in Batumi on November 8th, marking the hitherto last instance of violence during the events covered.
Post-Crackdown Developments: Damage Control
On November 8th, President Saakashvili announced that new presidential elections were to be held on January 5th. The president also declared that a referendum would be held, to decide whether Parliamentary elections should be carried out in the spring, as the opposition demands, or in the fall, as envisioned by the December 2006 constitutional amendment. Opposition leaders welcomed the decision and termed it a successful outcome of the protests. In addition, the Government decided to simultaneously hold a parallel referendum on NATO accession. The Government, meanwhile, continued to accuse Russia of being involved in staging the demonstrations in order to undermine Georgian statehood. Three Russian diplomats were charged with engagement in subversive activities and expelled. Russia responded by expelling three Georgian diplomats.
The immediate crisis seemed to recede after November 8th. On November 10th, Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, Vice Speaker Machavariani and two majority MPs resumed talks with selected opposition representatives. These included David Usupashvili (Republican Party), Salome Zourabishvili (Georgia’s Way) and Kakha Kukava (Conservatives) from the nine party opposition coalition, as well as representatives from the New Rights and Industrialist parties, which did not take part in the demonstrations. During a second round of talks on November 12th, the four original demands of the nine-party coalition were again subject of negotiation. Progress was reportedly made especially on reform of the election code. Opposition representatives also raised new demands, including lifting the state of emergency, lifting restrictions on the media (especially Imedi) and stopping the “political repression” of opposition supporters.
The state of emergency was lifted at 7 am on November 16th. Since then, the closure of Imedi became the most contentious issue, and reopening the station remained the opposition’s primary demand. The Government refused to let Imedi back on air in the absence of clarity regarding its ownership and control, citing the need to avert a situation where Imedi continues to function as a propaganda machine for Patarkatsishvili’s ambition to overthrow the Government. Instead, the Government sought to ensure that Imedi was controlled professionally. To this end, it proposed that News Corp. took over full control of the channel. Meanwhile, demonstrations reemerged for the opening of the station, while the Government was subjected to increased pressure from Europe and the United States on the issue. Polish publicist and former anti-communist leader Adam Michnik was invited by the Government to mediate in the process of getting Imedi back on the air, and more generally to oversee the Georgian media’s coverage of the elections. On November 16th, Prime Minister Noghaideli resigned, leading to the resignation of the entire Government. Lado Gurgenidze, director of the national bank, was appointed to succeed him. The government was later reappointed with minor alterations. On November 25th, President Saakashvili resigned to become a candidate in the presidential election. The nine-party opposition coalition nominated independent Member of Parliament Levan Gachechiladze as their joint candidate. Aside from Gachechiladze, Gamkrelidze, Patarkatsishvili and Natelashvili as well as lesser-known figures have been nominated to take part in the election. The opposition coalition’s strategy appears to be to unite to win the presidential elections; then to split and run separately for Parliamentary elections.
The events on November 7th, especially imposing the state of emergency and the shutdown of Imedi, triggered concerned statements internationally, with EU, OSCE, CoE and OSCE officials calling for all sides to show restraint, remain calm and resolve the situation through dialogue. Statements critical of the imposition of emergency rule and the closure of Imedi TV were made by NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, while the US State Department gave a statement positive toward the decision to hold early presidential elections, while calling on the Government to lift the state of emergency. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza also called for lifting the state of emergency before departing to Georgia on November 10th. President Saakashvili responded by stating that the state of emergency would not be lifted due to recommendations by “foreign friends”. In a press conference in Tbilisi on November 13th, Bryza expressed continued US support for Georgia’s NATO-membership and confidence that Georgia’s democratization process would continue, provided elections on January 5th are free and fair.
During the second half of November, the Georgian Government took substantial steps to meet the opposition’s demands, particularly regarding the electoral code. Beyond the lowering of the threshold for Parliamentary representation from 7% to 5%, the Government also accepted the transformation of the Parliamentary elections from a majoritarian to a proportional system of representation, divided into a national and several regional party lists. The Central Electoral Commission, previously designed to be staffed by non-political professionals, will now be amended to include representatives of political parties represented in Parliament or having received over 4 percent of the vote in the last Parliamentary elections.
Several implications can be drawn from the evolution and handling of the crisis.
The crisis resulted from a breakdown in state-society communication
The shutdown of an oppositional TV station was a serious mistake
The Ministry of Internal Affairs used disproportionate force
The rather primitive methods used by some police officers are particularly worrisome against the background of the substantial progress recorded in the police since the rose revolution, which brought an improvement of public trust for the police incomparable to any post-Soviet state. This makes it particularly crucial for the Government to act to restore this trust. Given the endemic role of ministries of interior across the post-Soviet space as bastions of authoritarianism, the more modern crowd control methods that were used during this crisis (water cannons etc.) are nevertheless significant and merit attention. Yet it is obvious that the police behavior did not correspond to the standards Georgia has set for itself.
The opposition bears significant responsibility for creating and fanning the crisis, particularly as it moved to push for regime change unconstitutionally
The demonstrations began as peaceful expressions of discontent, and were allowed to continue without government interference for close to five days. However, it is clear that some of the opposition leaders hijacked these popular demonstrations for the purpose of seeking to bring down the Government by force. The government’s will to negotiate was interpreted as a sign of weakness and led not to compromise, but to the radicalization of opposition demands. In this sense, the opposition coalition’s handling of the crisis leads to the questioning of its democratic ideals. It is particularly worrisome that in the electoral campaign, several among the opposition leaders appear less interested in the actual elections on January 5 than in staging protests on January 6, should Saakashvili be re-elected. This testifies to a lingering preference for street politics over participation in democratic institutions.
The government acted on the basis of genuine fear of ensuing chaos unless it acted, within a context of relentless external pressure that provided a warranted concern for Georgian statehood
The growing unrest in Tbilisi led many Georgians to reminisce the state collapse of 1991 that led to the destruction of much of Rustaveli Avenue. This was certainly a factor in the Government overreaction aimed at preventing a renewed state collapse.
An even more important context is Russia’s relentless pressure on Georgia and its numerous and consistent policies aimed at undermining the Georgian state. This does not refer mainly to Russia’s direct role in the recent crisis. Although links between Russian secret services and the events of the past weeks do exist, these played only a small role in the events and to its own peril, the Saakashvili administration has exaggerated these connections. It is the indirect Russian role that is of greater importance. Russia’s cumulative policies since the rose revolution led to a legitimate concern on the part of the Georgian government that Georgian statehood would be endangered in case of protracted unrest. Moscow has spared no effort to undermine Georgia. It has supported secessionist territories; imposed a trade embargo; cut energy supplies; funded anti-government activities; bombed Georgian territory on at least two occasions; as well as conducted a policy of constant diplomatic agitation against Georgia. These measures have contributed to generating a form of constant siege mentality in the Georgian government, which has been forced to operate in crisis mode for most of the past four years. This siege mentality, coupled with uncertainty regarding Russia’s actual direct as well as indirect role in the crisis, was undoubtedly a factor in the Government’s decision to use what were arguably disproportionate means to stabilize the situation.
The Government’s efforts to restore legitimacy should be acknowledged
Russia continues to exploit Georgia’s weakness
Georgia’s next Parliament will be much less unbalanced than the present one
A more diversified composition in Parliament, which may in turn boost the role of the Parliament in channeling a more diverse spectrum of political views, would increase the capability of Georgian society to address societal conflicts and divisions through the Parliamentary process, rather than from the street. Representation for a larger proportion of the opposition in Parliament could help these parties develop into mature, responsible and constructive political actors, able to form credible alternatives in Georgian politics. But such a prospect nevertheless poses challenges, as it will require all sides – and especially the Government, with the added burden of incumbency – to step up to their democratic commitments.
This Policy Paper is based on successive visits to Georgia by the authors in October and November of 2007. It was informed by discussions and interviews with representatives of the Georgian Government as well as members of the opposition and independent observers on the ground.
Svante E. Cornell is Research Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, and a co-founder of the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. His main areas of expertise are security issues, state-building, and transnational crime in Southwest and Central Asia, with a specific focus on the Caucasus. He is the Editor of the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, the Joint Center's bi-weekly publication, and of the Joint Center's Silk Road Papers series of occasional papers.
Johanna Popjanevski is a Stockholm-based Deputy Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center. Her specialization is in minority protection and security issues in the South Caucasus region, primarily in Georgia. She holds an LL.M. degree from Lund University in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
Niklas Nilsson is a Project Coordinator at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center, focusing on conflict management, ethnic relations, and energy security in the South Caucasus. He holds an M.A. Degree from Lund University.
Click for PDF version here
|< Prev||Next >|
Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations
New York, NY
May 30, 2011
Georgia and the Republic of Niger signed a joint protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations today.
Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations
New York, NY
May 9, 2011
Georgia and the Republic of Mali signed a joint protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations today.
By Molly Corso
Technological innovation is normally associated with progress. But for potentially hundreds of property owners in Georgia, the digitization of land registration records has turned into a nightmare.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree stating that Moscow will seek closer ties with Washington, but will not tolerate interference in its affairs.
By Nikolas K. Gvosdev
In his last major address as Russia's prime minister before retaking the presidency, Vladimir Putin outlined "five priorities" for his third presidential term. His fifth task is to boost cooperation across the Eurasian space, enhancing Russia's global position by having it lead a new effort towards integrating the states of the former Soviet Union. Speaking before the Duma last Wednesday, Putin said, "Creation of a common economic space is the most important event in post-Soviet space since the collapse of the Soviet Union."
By Rikard Jozwiak
BRUSSELS -- The European Union is set to launch free trade negotiations with Georgia and Moldova this week.
The EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht is traveling to Moldova on February 27 to confirm the parameters of the negotiations with Prime Minister Vladimir Filat and will then travel to Georgia a day later with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri.
By Elena Ulansky*
A special representative of the president of the Russian Federation, Alexander Tkachev, paid his first official visit to Abkhazia. During his meeting with the president of Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab, he stated that Russia isallocating an amount of 11 billion rubles towards the economic growth of the country. "Russia is determined to continue support in development of the republic," stated Tkachev.