"This project stays dynamic when people take the Complaints Choir as a tool and make use of it in their own context and modify it. That’s the spirit of open source." Hilde C. Stephansen interviews the founders of the choir for Participation Now.
Since the break-up of the USSR, the South Caucasus has trodden a chequered path, both political and economic. Is democracy really what the people want? Or just what Western donors and investors think they should have? Stephen F Jones reflects
Saakashvili, ex-president of Georgia, was once hailed as the very archetype of
a model post-Soviet leader – smooth-tongued and sharp-suited. But was the fluency with which he promoted himself as a modern messiah merely a case of pouring old Georgian wine
into new bottles?
In 2009 six post-Soviet nations signed up to the EU Eastern Partnership, aimed at deepening political cooperation and economic integration. Progress has been uneven because old habits die hard and closer integration with the EU has many opponents. Viorel Ursu and Iryna Solonenko consider the varying levels of success
Five years after the Russian-Georgian
war, Georgian Premier Bidzina Ivanishvili has announced that Tbilisi is ready
for direct talks with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is an acknowledgment of
the fact that improving relations with Russia alone is not sufficient for
conflict resolution. Liana Fix offers her analysis of the situation.
Was there a secret programme to arm
and train North Caucasus militants under the previous Georgian government? A
clash in the Caucasus last summer exposed secrets that Georgia needs to
confront, says Aage Borchgrevink
The west's contribution to building more democratic and open societies in the post-Soviet region leaves much scope for improvement. Orysia Lutsevych draws lessons and offers recommendations to both public and private donors.
Work must be done to overcome divides even many decades after official agreements to end violence have been signed. But the process is neither simple nor direct, with social media as easily a tool for vitriol as for furthering understanding of others. What, and who, can help?
The election victory of Bidzina Ivanishvili has reconfigured Georgia's political landscape, dominated by Mikheil Saakashvili since the "Rose Revolution" of 2003. But there are already concerns over what the billionaire leader is doing with his power, says Donald Rayfield.
The recent parliamentary election in Georgia brought defeat to the party of President Saakashvili, though he himself remains in power until the 2013 presidential election. The country’s main strategic partner is the US and Georgians are following the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney closely. Vladimer Papava explains why.
Georgian Dream Coalition's election victory will go down in history as Georgia's first peaceful transition of power. The nominees for the new cabinet now also bring names to the fore with long experience of peacebuilding, presenting fresh hope amidst the challenges.
Georgia goes to the polls today for tightly contested parliamentary elections. Despite an horrific prison abuse scandal on the eve of the vote, Mikheil Saakashvili believes his party has done enough to win; Bidzina Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream party hope their energetic campaigning means otherwise. In reality, it is the post-election politics in Georgia that will matter, says Denis MacShane.
On 1 October Georgians go to the polls to choose between their president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch. Feelings are running high among the voters, with compromise not an option for most. There is such a range of opinions about the political situation in Georgia that it could be regarded as a very difficult choice. But the European People’s Party is solidly behind Saakashvili, says its president Wilfried Martens (photo: RIA Novosti Agency).
The exposure of violent abuse in the Georgian prison system has
shocked its people and rocked the government of Mikheil Saakashvili. The intense focus on zero-tolerance and mass incarceration in the criminal-justice system is a key to understanding why it
happened, says Gavin Slade.
Georgia’s politicians are hypersensitive to charges of
collusion with Russia, the old imperial power. President Saakashvili denounces
opposition figures for being tools of the Kremlin. But the record suggests that
he might himself be vulnerable to the same charge, says Vladimer Papava
A bitter post-Soviet war in 1992-93 saw the Black Sea territory of Abkhazia resist invasion from Georgia and establish an independent statehood. But amid non-recognition from all but a handful of countries, and persistent hostility from Georgia, the young republic has faced many challenges in the subsequent two decades. The leading scholar of Abkhazia and advocate of its case, George Hewitt, presents an overview of these twenty years and outlines a scenario for the future.
Georgia’s capital is undergoing a massive rebuilding programme, with shabby historical buildings being replaced with facsimiles, complete with plastic ornamentation. But, as documentary filmmaker Salomé Jashi writes, an iconic square in old Tbilisi is being threatened with an even more radical remake.
The 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia heralded a rebirth of democracy and alignment with Western countries, especially the United States. But continuing Western support in the face of the gradual unravelling of Georgian democracy compels Vladimer Papava to wonder if Western support is perhaps not all it originally seemed to be.
The 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia was portrayed as a beacon of hope for democracy and progress in the region. Far from developing society towards a free market, however, the current government has retrenched and its policies and programmes are redolent of a planned economy. This can only end badly, says Vakhtang Komakhidze
An eventful political period in the Black Sea republic of Abkhazia that began in 2011 with the premature death of its president, Sergej Bagapsh, continued with the election of - then a murky assassination attempt on - his successor, Aleksandr Ankvab. The ensuing challenges make the integrity of the country’s institutions and processes even more important, says George Hewitt.
The direction of Georgia's domestic politics and international orientation has been much disputed since the "rose revolution" of 2003. The former senior diplomat Tedo Japaridze argues that, in order to realise the democratic promise of that revolution and to become a reliable partner to its allies, Georgia now needs a peaceful transfer of power.
With the current focus on policy interactions between Russia, the US and the EU in the post-Soviet space, many wonder what future awaits the countries of the former USSR after Vladimir Putin’s re-ascension to the Russian presidency in the 4th March election. One question is whether Putin will succeed in shaping a new, distinctive strategic space with the curious name of ‘the Eurasian Union.’ Elkhan Nuriyev discusses its implications.