RBTH: Can Russia stomach Ukraine and Georgia becoming NATO ‘associates’?

NATO Meeting file photo

The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw (8-9 July 2016) will be hallmarked by Ukraine and Georgia’s elevation to a still-elusive status of “associate partners.” While the move could be interpreted as one step closer to full membership, Moscow military experts view it as lip service to keep the two countries, going through a turbulent transitional period, in the Western alliance’s […]

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Russian Investigative Committee gives ICC data on S. Ossetia conflict crimes

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(Interfax – January 28, 2016) The Russian Investigative Committee has provided the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the files of a criminal case opened into the crimes committed during the 2008 armed conflict in South Ossetia, Investigative Committee director Alexander Bastrykin has said. “The Investigative Committee of Russia conducted a thorough investigation into the crimes committed by the Georgian military,” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Case Against Saakashvili. It’s temping to see Georgia’s crusading former president as the solution to all of Ukraine’s problems. Here’s why caution is in order.” – ForeignPolicy.com/Adrian Karatnycky

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, Adrian Karatnycky considers Georgian-turned-Ukrainian politician Mikheil Saakashvili. Mikheil Saakashvili is back. Having left his native Georgia after voters repudiated his party and his term as president expired, Saakashvili has revived his political fortunes on a much larger playing field — Ukraine. The former Georgian president has taken Ukrainian citizenship and rapidly emerged as one of the […]

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The Beginning of the End of Russia’s Estrangement from the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – November 17, 2015) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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Putin’s Bipolar Disorder

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 21, 2015) Separatist leaders in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region announce they plan to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Kremlin-backed parties lead the polls in Moldova with the pro-Western government in Chisinau mired in corruption allegations. And Moscow appears to be getting its way on the implementation of the Minsk cease-fire […]

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Interfax: Half of Russians back independence of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transdniestria

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

(Interfax – September 21, 2015) Half of Russians deem Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be independent states and think that these republics and Transdniestria should have formal independent status, the Levada Center has told Interfax. According to the poll of 800 respondents held in 134 populated localities in 46 regions on August 21-24, practically half (47 percent) of respondents see […]

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The Logic and Risks Behind Russia’s Statelet Sponsorship

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(Stratfor.com – Reva Bhalla – September 15, 2015) Mother Russia can be quite generous when it comes to her collection of statelets. In the early 1990s, when a broken Russia had no choice but to suck in her borders, a severely distracted Kremlin still found the time and money to promote and sponsor the fledgling breakaway territories of South Ossetia […]

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Tbilisi says Russia promises not to hinder Georgia-EU Association Agreement

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TBILISI. Sept 14 (Interfax) – Georgia did not coordinate with Moscow its association agreement with the European Union, Special Envoy of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze has said. “What is more, representatives of the Russian administration said they would not hinder Georgia’s signing of that document,” he told the Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra in an […]

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Kirk Bennett: “On Treating Ukraine Like Georgia – A Reply to Paul Saunders”

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Subject: ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS Date: Sun, 30 Aug 201 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> ON TREATING UKRAINE LIKE GEORGIA – A REPLY TO PAUL SAUNDERS By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett was the Senior Georgia Desk Officer at the State Department from 2007-09. Kudos to Paul Saunders for his spot-on exposition of U.S. policy […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Georgia Dials Down Conflict With Russia. Shift comes as fighting in Ukraine draws the West and Moscow into a contest for spheres of influence.

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The Wall Street Journal covers Georgia’s shifting policies towards Russia Georgia has toned down its confrontational stance toward Moscow, even as Russia has supported separatists in Georgia and Ukraine. The two countries severed diplomatic relations after the 2008 war and still don’t have embassies. Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is still Georgia’s declared ambition, [Zurab] Abashidze[, Georgia’s special representative […]

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Georgians look east as western doors stay shut

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Michael Cecire – June 12, 2015) Michael Cecire is an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Project on Democratic Transition The occasion of Victory Day, the Soviet commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany, has always held certain propaganda value for Russia. But the ongoing war in Ukraine and the ensuing East-West standoff […]

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EU Says No Visa Liberalization For Ukraine And Georgia

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 8, 2015) The EU Commission has said neither Georgia nor Ukraine would obtain visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen zone at the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit later this month. Speaking in Brussels on May 8 after the EU Commission published its annual visa report on both countries, the spokeswoman for home affairs, Natasha Bertaud, said […]

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NEWSWATCH GordonHahn.com: Rusology’s Georgian War Fail and its Implications for Ukraine Today

Kremlin and River

Such falsification of data is the direct result of Western, but especially Amercian rusology’s transformation from a scholarly field into one dominated by activists. … http://gordonhahn.com/2015/02/20/another-rusological-fail-u-s-experts-continue-to-lie-about-russia-and-ukraine/

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Saakashvili Says Ukraine Could ‘Conquer Russia,’ Provoking Official Outcry

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 9, 2015) Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili told a Ukrainian television channel over the weekend that Ukraine’s military could “conquer all of Russia,” a remark that incited the ire of Russian officials. Saakashvili was “born an idiot and will die one,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country’s defense industry, said […]

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Securing peace instead of rewarding expansion: An appeal, by over 100 German-speaking experts on Eastern Europe, for a reality-based and not illusions-guided Russia policy

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(opendemocracy.net – Andreas Umland – January 9, 2015) Andreas Umland is a DAAD Associate Professor of European Studies at the Political Science Department of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy [“Some of the most influential German correspondents on Russia and Ukraine sympathise with the appeal, but, for specifically professional reasons, did not add their signatures.”] On December 5, 2014, 60 prominent German personalities […]

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Russia and Breakaway Georgian Region to Create Joint Military

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – November 22, 2014) Russia will form a joint army with Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia under a new cooperation pact that one expert said is part of the continuing fallout from the Ukraine crisis. The treaty was inked Monday in Sochi by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Abkhaz counterpart Raul Khadzhimba. […]

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What does Russia really want with Abkhazia?

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(opendemocracy.net – Sergei Markedonov – October 30, 2014) Sergei Markedonov heads the Department of International Relations at the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, Moscow. He is now is a visiting fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, USA Will the new treaty being discussed between Abkhazia and Russia provide a blueprint for cooperation or […]

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Elected By A Hair, New Abkhaz Leader Faces Herculean Tasks

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – August 26, 2014) Veteran opposition politician Raul Khajimba has been elected de facto president of the largely unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia by the slenderest of margins — just 559 votes. He received 50.57 percent (50,494 votes) of the total 99, 869 ballots cast, defeating three rival candidates. Voter turnout in the early election, which was necessitated by […]

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Opposition claims victory in Abkhazia’s presidential poll

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – August 25, 2014) Opposition candidate Raul Khadzhimba has claimed victory in the August 24 presidential poll in the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia. Khadzhimba’s campaign staff said he had taken around 60% of the vote in the first round of voting in the unrecognized state. The head of Khadzhimba’s campaign, Artur Mikvabiya, told Russia’s […]

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EU Association Agreements Not Seen as Threat to Russian Economy

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 27, 2014) With Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova set to sign the economic sections of association agreements with the European Union on Friday, analysts say the deals will have minimal impact on the Russian economy but will further broaden the political schism between Russia and its neighbors. Russia should not lose more […]

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South Ossetia’s unwanted independence

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(opendemocracy.net – Stephen F Jones – June 10, 2014) Stephen Jones is a Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts.He writes frequently on current events in the Caucasus. South Ossetians may yearn for union with Russia, but the complicated political realities of the South Caucasus make this an unlikely prospect. The crisis in Crimea and Eastern […]

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RIA Novosti: No Plans for Anti-Missile Defense in Georgia, Ukraine – Nuland

Victoria Nuland file photo

KIEV, June 10 (RIA Novosti) – The United States does not plan to establish an anti-missile defense system in Georgia or Ukraine, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. “There are no plans to place missile defense systems in Georgia or in Ukraine, either now or in the future,” she said at a briefing […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Says Ready to Cooperate With New Abkhaz Leadership

Georgia Beach in Abkhazia Region

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is ready to work with the future president and government of Abkhazia to develop and strengthen bilateral ties, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday. “The people of Abkhazia will have their say during the early presidential election in August. Russia will respect this expression of will. We will be ready […]

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Maidan comes to Abkhazia

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(opendemocracy.net – Islam Tekushev – May 28, 2014) Islam Tekushev is the editor-in-chief of the Caucasus Times. Events in Ukraine have both highlighted and influenced Abkhazia’s political divisions, as yesterday’s protests clearly demonstrate. The Crimean precedent has breathed a new divisive life into politics inside Abkhazia. Against the background of the Ukrainian crisis and the growing role of Russia in […]

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RIA Novosti: Abkhaz Leader Ready for Dialogue with Opposition, Rules Out Ultimatums

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – Abkhazia’s President Alexander Ankvab is ready to negotiate with the opposition to achieve “a concrete result”, but says that he will not accept any ultimatums. “The situation is difficult, but not critical We propose to engage in a dialogue [with the opposition] in a manner that would bring us a concrete result,” Ankvab said […]

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RIA Novosti: Opinion: Ukrainian Crisis ‘Emboldened Opposition’ in Abkhazia

Maidan Square file photo

WASHINGTON, May 29 (RIA Novosti), Lyudmila Chernova – The Ukrainian crisis has had an immense effect on the opposition in Abkhazia, Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told RIA Novosti. “It’s a very complex situation in Abkhazia, maybe the ‘Maidan Effect’ has emboldened the opposition and they have the impression that President Aleksandr Ankvab […]

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Moscow Steps In as Arbiter in Abkhaz Conflict

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 29, 2014) In the direct aftermath of a political uprising that threatened to destabilize Abkhazia, Russia demonstrated its role as the ultimate arbiter of political life in the small breakaway province of Georgia. Presidential aide Vladislav Surkov met on Wednesday with both sides of a conflict that saw between 1,000 and […]

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RIA Novosti: NATO Grooms Georgia As Its New Member in South Caucasus

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MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti), Rick Rozoff – This past week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continued its ongoing efforts to prepare the nation of Georgia for full membership in the military bloc. A meeting of the NATO Military Committee, consisting of military representatives and the chiefs of defense of the 28 full members of the alliance, and the chief […]

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Interfax: Georgia can have free trade regime with EU and Russia – Abashidze

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

TBILISI. May 14 (Interfax) – Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian prime minister’s special representative on relations with Russia, said he sees no obstacles to Georgia’s having a free trade zone both with the European Union and Russia. “There is no contradiction in Georgia’s having a free trade regime with the European Union and the same privileged trade regime with Russia,” Abashidze […]

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South Caucasus states shun Moscow’s influence

Tblisi, Georgia, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yuri Simonyan, special to RBTH – May 3, 2014) When it comes to its relations with former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, Moscow has a delicate balancing act to play. It’s virtually impossible for Russia to play the role of a mediator in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Karabakh, but at the same time, […]

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NEWSLINK: Former Prime Minister of Georgia Convicted of Corruption

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

(“Former Prime Minister of Georgia Convicted of Corruption” – New York Times – Olesya Vartanyan, David M. Herszenhorn – February 18, 2014 – nytimes.com/2014/02/18/world/europe/former-georgian-prime-minister-convicted-of-corruption.html) The New York Times reports that former Georgian prime minister Ivane Merabishvili has been convicted of public corruption and sentenced to five years of prison.  Although the conviction is part of a series of cases that […]

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Russia Mends Georgian Ties as Sochi Heals Beijing Wounds

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Helena Bedwell – Februay 17, 2014) On the first day of the Beijing Olympics six years ago, war broke out between Georgia and Russia. The Sochi Winter games finds the neighbors on much friendlier terms. Georgia’s government is seeking to use the $45 billion Winter Olympics to revive ties, with Premier Irakli Garibashvili saying four days […]

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Interfax: Diplomatic relations can’t be restored as long as Moscow recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia – minister

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

TBILISI. Jan 21 (Interfax) – Diplomatic relations with Russia cannot be restored as long as 20% of the Georgian territory is occupied and Moscow recognizes the independence of two Georgian regions, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told reporters on Tuesday. She made her comment on the opinion of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said Georgia’s refusal to recognize the […]

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Interfax: Georgia has diversified export markets, does not fear new Russian embargo – finance minister

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

TBILISI. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Georgia has diversified its export markets to an extent that, if Russia once again imposes a ban on Georgian imports, this would not be as strong a blow to local producers as it was in 2006, Georgian Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri believes. “Russia is no longer number one trade partner for Georgia, and our markets […]

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Interfax: Saakashvili leaves Georgia to give people a break from him – wife

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

TBILISI. Dec 2 (Interfax) – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili temporarily refrains from participating in the politics in Georgia, his wife Sandra Roelofs, who is taking part in a conference on AIDS prevention held in Tbilisi as a good will ambassador of the World Health Organization, told reporters on Sunday. “He [Mikheil Saakashvili] is full of energy and is ready to […]

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SAAKASHVILI AND RUSSIAN OPPOSITION

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

[Excerpt] Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 15:32:56 -0500 From: Patrick Armstrong <gpa@magma.ca> Subject: [UTExpertsDiscGrp] RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20131128 RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 28 November 2013 SAAKASHVILI AND RUSSIAN OPPOSITION. Remember when Moscow said a Georgian politician had secretly met with Russian oppositionists? Remember when everyone laughed? (“risible charges” details “immediately suspicious” “political”) Well, Saakashvili just admitted it. Once again, Moscow turns […]

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Moldova, Georgia Brace For Russian Retaliation After EU Pact

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – November 29, 2013) Georgian and Moldovan leaders were all smiles as they finished initialing their Association Agreements with the European Union, a key milestone in their bid for membership of the 28-nation bloc. Despite the happy faces and handshakes, however, the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, deepened fears of harsh retaliation from […]

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Interfax: Georgia needs to pass some 300 laws to become closer to association with EU – Georgian foreign minister

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

TBILISI. Nov 27 (Interfax) – A Georgian government delegation led by President Giorgi Margvelashvili will leave for Vilnius on Wednesday to take part in the Eastern Partnership summit, where the agreement on Georgia’s association with the European Union is expected to be initialed on November 28. The agreement on Georgia’s association with the EU has 1,000 pages and clearly determines […]

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Interfax: Russians expect relations with Georgia to improve under new administration

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Russians give a C- (2.74 points on the five-point scale) to the current bilateral relations with Georgia, the Russian Public Opinion Studies Center (VTsIOM) told Interfax, referring to a nationwide opinion poll. At the same time, most Russians (56%) expect the relations to improve after the election of the new Georgian president. The opinion is […]

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Interfax: Obama congratulates Georgian president elect, has kind word for Saakashvili

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

TBILISI. Nov 17 (Interfax) – U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a message to Georgian president elect Giorgi Margvelashvili on his inauguration due in a few hours. “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Georgia as they celebrate the inauguration of a new President and mark the first time a presidential transition has taken place as […]

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Thaw between Moscow and Tbilisi to benefit everyone

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – November 11, 2013) Sergey Markedonov is a Russian political analyst. Since May 2010 he has worked as a visiting fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. There is obvious demand for a normalization of the Tbilisi-Moscow relations. Even a limited thaw would open up […]

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Interfax: Russia, Georgia quickly rebuilding economic ties – official

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TBILISI. Nov 9 (Interfax) – The Georgian prime minister’s special commissioner for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, is due to have his fifth meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on November 19-23 in seeking to restore economic ties between the two countries. The meeting will be held in Prague . “It will be our fifth meeting, one at […]

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The polyphonic president

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(opendemocracy.net – Peter Pomerantsev – November 1, 2013) Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer. For many years, he sold British programmes to the Russian TV industry. He now lives in London. Mikheil 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 in which he […]

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RIA Novosti: Georgian President-Elect Snubs Predecessor’s Luxury Palace

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TBILISI, November 4 (RIA Novosti) ­ Georgia’s president-elect said he would not move to the luxury palace currently occupied by his predecessor and would choose a more modest residence after taking office, News Georgia reported on Monday. “During the electoral campaign, I have repeatedly expressed my disagreement with the size and cost of the presidential residence and said that the […]

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Georgian Premier Names Successor Amid Claims He’ll Keep Sway

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Helena Bedwell – November 4, 2013) Georgia’s billionaire Premier Bidzina Ivanishvili named a 31-year-old minister as his chosen successor, reinforcing opposition claims that the tycoon would continue running the Black Sea nation from behind the scenes. Ivanishvili, who’s vowed to step down this month after a year in office, said Nov. 2 that he’d nominate Interior […]

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