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CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

Talks between Georgia, Russia and de facto South Ossetian officials resumed following incident at line of separation in South Ossetian conflict zone, while de facto authorities in Abkhazia initiated steps to address COVID-19 fallout. In Abkhazia, after de facto govt 14 July declared region free of COVID-19, de facto officials early July travelled to Russia to discuss reopening of border to Russian tourists in attempt to address increasing financial pressure and budget shortfall; however, 25 new coronavirus cases confirmed during month. For second time since border closure in Feb due to coronavirus outbreak, de facto Abkhaz govt 13-17 July allowed over 2,000 residents to return to Abkhazia from Georgia-controlled territory, including ethnic Abkhaz and Georgians. Govt 11 July reported Russian border guards inflicted bullet-injury on Georgian citizen at line of separation in South Ossetian conflict zone; U.S. 17 July condemned incident during Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Permanent Council session. Representatives from Georgia and Russia and de facto officials from South Ossetia 30 July held first meeting of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (forum to discuss situation on line of separation) since Aug 2019 to discuss “issues pertaining to stabilisation and normalisation on the ground” and impact of closed boundary crossings; parties agreed to plan subsequent meeting scheduled for Sept. U.S. House Appropriations Committee 9 July approved bill to provide $132mn aid to Georgia, but for first time made aid conditional on govt implementation of new electoral reform, support for independence of judiciary, free media access to information and govt measures to limit “informal rule of oligarchs”.

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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.