By Tomáš Baranec and Tengiz Gasviani
July 12, 2022
The second round of Abkhazia’s de facto parliamentary elections took place on March 26. Although the Abkhaz parliament and the political parties enjoy little influence in the local power vertical, this year’s elections could significantly affect the further development of the political situation in the region. A likely “constitutional majority” of pro-president MPs in the parliament does not only complete the concentration of power in the hands of the de facto president Aslan Bzhania, but also allows for constitutional changes. At the same time, it can make Abkhazia more vulnerable to pressure from Russia.
By Natalia Konarzewska
July 8, 2022
Georgia made a big leap towards membership in the European Union on March 3 when it submitted a formal application for EU candidate country status alongside Moldova and shortly after the same move by Ukraine, which granted them the nickname of Associated Trio. Yet despite high hopes on June 17, the European Commission recommended that Ukraine and Moldova, but not Georgia, should be awarded candidate country status. A few days later, the EU leaders endorsed this decision based on Georgia’s recent democratic backsliding. Instead, Georgia was offered a “European perspective”, a roadmap to qualify for candidate status in the future.
By David Aprasidze and Giorgi Gvalia
April 22, 2022
Georgia experienced invasion by Russia in 2008 and is since partially occupied. It shares Euro-Atlantic aspirations with Ukraine. This context suggests that Georgia should be more straightforward and bolder in condemning the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine. However, Georgia has taken a cautious stance: it did not join any of the West’s sanctions against Moscow. Georgia’s appeasing posture seems conditioned not only by the security threats posed by Russia but also by Georgia’s domestic politics. The Georgian government is attempting a difficult balance between two types of threats – on the one hand to its national survival and on the other to the survival of its regime.
By Tomáš Baranec, Giorgi Bilanishvili, Davit Katsarava, Lana Ghvinjilia
March 1, 2022, the CACI Analyst
On November 19, 2021, the South Ossetian de-facto State Commission for the Border with Georgia published its work, concluding that de facto South Ossetia had lost about 200 square kilometers to Georgia. This statement fueled a political crisis in the separatist region as local opposition sought to impeach de-facto president Anatoly Bibilov. Most experts studying these developments focus on their domestic roots and impacts. However, analysis of the Commission’s territorial claims in the context of the continuous borderization of the Georgian-Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) and the creeping annexation of Georgian territory by Russian forces also indicates another possible dimension of this development: coordination between Tskhinvali and the Kremlin to annex stripes of land with military-strategic importance.
By Fuad Shahbazov
January 26, 2022, the CACI Analyst
On October 6, 2021, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov met his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Moscow to discuss regional security and economic cooperation, and to address important concerns regarding the crisis in the South Caucasus. During the joint press conference, Lavrov repeatedly highlighted the idea of a “3+3 cooperation format” including the three South Caucasus states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – plus their three large neighbors, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, to focus on unlocking economic and transport communications in the region. The first meeting within the format took place in Moscow on December 2021; however, Georgia refused to take part. Moreover, recent tensions in the region between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as Azerbaijan and Iran suggest that the proposed format will not generate visible positive outcomes.
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.