Since the 2022 Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Georgian authorities, who have maintained ties with Moscow, have faced the country’s biggest street protests in a decade and deteriorating relations with Western partners. Georgia officially still seeks to join the EU but has a poor record on the domestic reforms required. Meanwhile, although the situation is overall comparatively stable, occasional incidents continue in and along the lines of separation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Many of these incidents involve Russian troops, which maintain a presence in these two breakaway regions that Moscow recognised as independent in the wake of its war against Georgia in 2008. Crisis Group closely monitors developments in the Georgian conflict zones and provides recommendations for sustaining diplomacy, keeping the existing negotiation format functioning, shaping long-term policies to support reconciliation and increasing stability. 

CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

PM Garibashvili resigned from office, official in breakaway Abkhazia announced construction of Russian naval base in region could begin in 2024, and ruling party sought closer ties with China. 

PM Garibashvili tendered his resignation. PM Garibashvili 29 Jan resigned from his post, citing ruling Georgian Dream party’s “internal democratic principle of rotation” amid reports he will switch positions with party chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze; news came month after return to politics of party’s founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili. 

De facto Abkhaz official said work on Russian naval base could commence in 2024. During interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, breakaway Abkhazia region’s de facto Security Council secretary 12 Jan confirmed Moscow is preparing to build naval base in region, and that construction would likely begin in 2024; de facto president Aslan Bzhania in Oct 2023 had announced agreement with Moscow to construct base in Ochamchira town along Black Sea coast amid stepped-up Ukrainian attacks on its Black Sea Fleet in Russian-annexed Crimea. 

Tbilisi strengthened ties with China and Armenia. Kobakhidze 14-20 Jan led delegation to China, held meetings with senior officials to ensure “proper implementation” of 2023 Strategic Partnership Agreement; Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Nikoloz Samkharadze 15 Jan said delegation “received a promise of unwavering support from China” to support Georgia’s territorial integrity. Meanwhile, then-PM Garibashvili and his Armenian counterpart 26 Jan signed memorandum on “strategic partnership” in capital Tbilisi.

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