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CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

Amid ongoing concerns about continued borderisation along South Ossetian administrative boundary line (ABL) with rest of Georgia, group of Georgians demonstrated near ABL 9 and 14 July after Russian forces reportedly moved “border signs” further into Georgian territory in June near Bershueti village, Gori municipality. Group of Georgians patrolling near village during daytime since 25 July “to prevent new arrests” of Georgian citizens by Russian forces. Criminal incidents against Russian tourists in Abkhazia, including fatal stabbing, raised questions in Abkhazia and Russia about ability of local law-enforcement agencies to sustain order and seek accountability. Ukrainian President Poroshenko visited Georgia 17-19 July; presidents signed agreement pledging to work together on goals including EU and NATO accession. Poroshenko 26 July revoked former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship; Saakashvili lost his Georgian passport in 2015 when he took Ukrainian citizenship to take up governor post there. U.S. VP Pence 31 July visited Georgia to demonstrate continued support, as Georgia began hosting joint military exercise involving troops from U.S., UK, Germany and several neighbouring states.

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Reports & Briefings

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Ukraine Flare-Up Lays Bare Fears in Europe’s East

Renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine is quickly turning into a litmus test of Russia’s intentions in backing Ukrainian separatist rebels, and the real willingness of the West, in particular the United States, to support Kyiv. Fears over Washington’s wavering may also cause positions to harden in the protracted conflicts in Europe’s East, most immediately in Georgia. 

Georgia: Making Cohabitation Work

Whether the smooth transfer of power Georgia achieved after October’s bitter election sets a standard for democracy in its region depends on whether the new government can strengthen the independence and accountability of state institutions in what remains a fragile, even potentially explosive political climate.

Georgia's Constitutional Changes

Georgia is in the midst of transitioning from a presidential to a mixed parliamantary system, in which much power will lie with the office of the Prime Minister. Elections later this year will determine whether current President Mikheil Saakashvili's party, United National Movement, will retain control of government. Medea Turashvili, Caucasus analyst for the International Crisis Group, discusses what implications this might have on Georgia's domestic and foreign policy.