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CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

EU-facilitated talks between govt and opposition concluded without deal, while opposition lawmakers in de facto South Ossetia ended six-month boycott of parliament. After court last month sentenced leader of main opposition party United National Movement Nika Melia to pre-trial detention, prompting PM Giorgi Gakharia to resign in protest, European Council President Charles Michel 1 March arrived in capital Tbilisi and, without prior notice, invited both ruling party and opposition to joint meeting; following talks, both sides declared their commitment to continue discussions on contentious issues, including recent parliamentary elections, arrest of opposition members and need to reinforce role of opposition in parliament. Michel 8 March appointed Christian Danielsson as special envoy to continue talks; Danielsson 12-19 March held meetings with both parties and announced that discussions concluded without deal; opposition said ruling party refused to demonstrate flexibility regarding their demands for snap elections and release of those detained, while ruling party said opposition had put forward “anti-state ultimatums”. Michel 23 March announced that Danielsson will return to Tbilisi by 27 March to continue talks; following further talks between govt and opposition on EU proposal for agreement that included provisions of electoral and judicial reform as well as addressing “politicised justice”, Danielsson 31 March said he was “sad to report that none of the political parties could agree to this solution in whole.” In breakaway South Ossetia, opposition parliamentarians 16 March returned to parliament for vote on candidacy for new PM after six-month boycott; de facto President Anatoliy Bibilov’s candidate Gennady Bekoyev was confirmed as PM. De facto leader early 4 March announced constitutional reforms subject to possible referendum.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Jun 2018
The Georgian government has been in crisis for quite a long time. Mr. Ivanishvili’s comeback and popular protests are just symptoms of this process. The New York Times

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
12 Mar 2018
Over the last three years, we have been seeing a serious decline in the situation in the districts [of South Ossetia] mainly populated by ethnic Georgians. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
5 Feb 2018
There was a social media campaign two years ago [in Abkhazia] encouraging people to boycott the funerals of anyone who died after seeking medical care in Tbilisi. EurasiaNet

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

Abkhazia and South Ossetia: Time to Talk Trade

Informal trade is increasing between Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and between Abkhazia and countries outside the region. Trade alone cannot transform the parties’ core political differences. But talks among them on mutually beneficial commerce could open lines of communication long cemented shut.

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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. 

Isolation of Post-Soviet Conflict Regions Narrows the Road to Peace

Unresolved conflicts and breakaway territories divide five out of six of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries, most of them directly backed by the Russian Federation. But a policy of isolating the people living in these conflict regions narrows the road to peace.

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.