By Natalia Konarzewska
April 13, 2021, the CACI Analyst
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stepped down on February 18 following the detention of the opposition United National Movement’s (UNM) Chairman Nikanor (Nika) Melia. The previous day, Tbilisi City Court ruled to place Melia in pretrial detention on charges of leading the storming of the parliament during the June 2019 protests. Gakharia resigned amid a protracted political conflict between the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the opposition following the October 2020 parliamentary elections. The opposition, including UNM, refused to acknowledge the official results and enter the new convocation of the parliament. De-escalation seems unlikely after Irakli Gharibashvili, until then Minister of Defence and known for his uncompromising stance towards the opposition, was appointed to replace Gakharia as Prime Minister.
By Stephen Blank
February 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The advent of the Biden Administration provides an opportunity to give the South Caucasus the importance it deserves in U.S. foreign policy. The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh has underlined the region’s geostrategic importance, whereas the institutionalization of a Russo-Turkish rivalry/condominium raises the real possibility that another clash could trigger a confrontation between these two powers, one of whom is a NATO ally, as well as their proxies. Simultaneously, Georgia suffers from a drawn-out political conflict among the leading political parties. In this context, the new Administration and its allies in Europe should act to improve the West’s position in the South Caucasus.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 16, 2020, the CACI Analyst
For the first time in the country’s history, Georgia’s ruling party has secured a third consecutive term in the parliamentary elections on October 31. Many observers termed the vote pivotal as it was held under the freshly introduced predominantly proportional voting system, expected to break Georgian Dream’s (GD) tight grip on power, and amidst the unprecedented health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The opposition has refused to accept the results due to a large number of irregularities and pledged to boycott the new convocation of parliament.
By Jesse Young
September 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Central to Georgia’s post-independence “success story” was the rapid modernization of its electrical system. Once saddled with sclerotic and inefficient infrastructure and plagued by widespread power theft, Georgia now has a modern, reliable grid and scores of new power plants. However, perilous waters lie ahead. As a developing middle-income country committed to both EU and NATO membership, Georgia can offer powerful lessons for what to do (and what not to do) when employing hydropower to fuel economic development.
By Emil Avdaliani
June 18, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia is undergoing a deep political crisis coupled with troubles in its relationship with Russia. This potentially opens for a rapprochement with the government in Tbilisi and Abkhaz politicians have already come out with some bold statements. Although Abkhazia’s continual dependence on Russian financial and military support will keep the region under the Kremlin’s control, the emerging trends also suggest that tensions between Russia and Abkhazia will continue and grow.
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.