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Georgia

CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

De facto Abkhazia 18 May signed controversial agreement on police cooperation with Russia, establishing new body with around dozen Russian law-enforcement officials in de facto republic on permanent basis to cooperate with and in some cases supervise work of Abkhaz colleagues: head and deputy to be jointly appointed by Russia and de facto Abkhazia. Responding to widespread criticism of agreement in Abkhazia, police officials argued they would not have to delegate any responsibilities to Russia, deal would help fight organised crime and improve quality of investigations. Political party representatives attended sometimes heated meetings across country during month to debate constitutional amendments proposed by ruling Georgian Dream party, including abolishment of direct vote in election of president and changes to electoral system; changes strongly opposed by all opposition parties, president and most civil society. Turkish PM and seven ministers 24 May visited Tbilisi to discuss closer bilateral cooperation. Georgian, Azerbaijani and Turkish defence ministers met in Tbilisi 23 May to discuss joint military exercises and closer security cooperation. Amnesty International 28 May called on govt not to extradite former manager of Turkish school in Georgia aligned with Gülen movement.

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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.