By Eka Janashia
October 12th, the CACI Analyst
On September 18, one day after his release from jail, Tbilisi’s city court returned Gigi Ugulava – the leader of opposition United National Movement (UNM) party and former Tbilisi mayor – to prison. The court found Ugulava guilty of misspending public funds and sentenced him to four years and six months in prison. The original sentence implied a nine-year term, but the act of amnesty, adopted by the Georgian parliament in 2012, halved his time in jail.
By Carolin Funke
October 6th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In the absence of Euro-Atlantic guarantees for deeper economic and political integration, Georgia is further diversifying its cooperation with states outside the Western hemisphere. Over the last year, Georgia has particularly been strengthening ties with the People’s Republic of China, which seeks to increase its presence in the South Caucasus as part of its Silk Road Economic Belt. Due to declining Western involvement in the region, the U.S. and European Union have little reason to complain about Tbilisi’s new alignments. Nevertheless, anchoring China as a long-term player in the region will likely lead to a further decline of Western influence in Georgia.
By Tomáš Baranec
October 2nd, 2015, The CACI Analyst
According to a recent survey by the U.S. National Democratic Institute, support for membership in the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has doubled in Georgia since 2014, to 31 percent. Simultaneously, support for the trade agreement between Georgia and the EU fell from 80 percent before the Ukraine crisis to 68 percent in April 2015. Many commentators have linked this development with a temporal disappointment among Georgians with the country’s slow western integration following the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga. Others stress the Russian “soft offensive” on Georgia conducted through Russian-sponsored media and NGOs. However, the underlying reasons for why increasing numbers of Georgians become receptive to demands for reorienting the country towards Russia may be deeper, less temporal and much more serious.
By Eka Janashia (09/02/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On August 27, the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) was opened at the Krtsanisi military facility outside Tbilisi as a part of “substantial package” granted to Georgia by NATO at the Wales summit in September 2014.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who was the major guest at the inauguration ceremony, said that JTEC will cement NATO-Georgia cooperation and ensure the alliance’s enlarged presence in the country.
By Erik Davtyan (19/08/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
July was a productive month for bilateral cooperation between Armenia and Georgia. Firstly, the two states expanded their dialogue in the military sphere. On July 16, a delegation headed by Armenia’s first Deputy Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan visited Tbilisi. A subsequent meeting between representatives of the two defense ministries took place on June 24-25 within the framework of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels, during which Armenia’s and Georgia’s Defense Ministers Seyran Ohanyan and Tinatin Khidasheli discussed bilateral military ties. Khidasheli later explained that the parties agreed “to find new areas of cooperation.”
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.