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CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

European Parliament 2 Feb voted to grant visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to EU, expected to enter into force later March after it was approved by EU Council 27 Feb. Residents of conflict regions can make use of visa free travel provided they apply for Georgian passports. Georgia and Russia 7 Feb discussed prospects for trade through Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with intention to implement 2011 agreement signed before Georgia gave Russia green light to join WTO. Former Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab returned to Abkhazia 13 Feb after two years of absence to run as candidate in de facto parliamentary elections 12 March. Perceived Russian interference ahead of April de facto presidential election in breakaway republic South Ossetia, including reported pressure from Russian envoy on local elections commission to issue public statement against former leader Eduard Kokoity, prompted anger among residents. De facto President Tibilov 6 Feb signed decree scheduling referendum to change name of entity to “Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania”. Georgian FM Mikheil Janelidze met U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington DC 10 Feb, reported Tillerson expressed “full support” for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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Reports & Briefings

Latest Updates

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.