Archive for Georgia

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

Map of Germany

(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,

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

What does Russia really want with Abkhazia?


(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

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

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

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.

South Ossetia’s unwanted independence

Georgia Map

(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

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,”

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

Maidan comes to Abkhazia

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(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

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

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

Moscow Steps In as Arbiter in Abkhaz Conflict

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(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

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

NATO meeting file photo

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Thaw between Moscow and Tbilisi to benefit everyone

Georgia Map

(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

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

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

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

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.

Interfax: Georgia’s elected president seeks ‘rational dialogue’ with Russia

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MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – Georgia’s newly elected President Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced his readiness to continue working to further ease tensions in relations with Russia, as well as to seek an association agreement with the European Union and object to recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Georgia’s relations with the European

Interfax: Saakashvili says it’s time for Georgian people to take break from him

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

TBILISI. Oct 29 (Interfax) – Outgoing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose term of office expires in November, made a farewell address to the nation from the Presidential Palace on Monday night. “My term of office is coming to an end and this is my last address delivered from the Presidential Palace. I would like to

Interfax: Tbilisi’s stance on diplomatic relations with Moscow unchanged – Georgian foreign minister

Georgia Map

TBILISI. Oct 29 (Interfax) – Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze has reiterated that her country may agree to restore diplomatic relations with Russia only if Russia renounces its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and if it lifts its “occupation” of these territories. “If de-occupation occurs”, and if Russia renounces its recognition

Interfax: Saakashvili says his imprisonment in Georgia is among preconditions for normal relations with Moscow

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

BRUSSELS. Oct 29 (Interfax) – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday that he believes his arrest is among the preconditions for normalization of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi. “As for my personal future, certainly, I have two or three weeks more to finish my presidential term. We have changed everything in

With Saakashvili Out, Russia-Georgia Ties Set to Improve, but Slowly

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 29, 2013) Despite a complete change of leadership in Georgia sealed in Sunday’s presidential election, Russia and its southern neighbor remain on track only to crawl toward a strained reconciliation, due largely to the legacy of the bitter five-day war that the countries fought in 2008.

Political struggle to follow Georgian presidential election

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Molly Corso in Tbilisi – October 25, 2013) With Georgians headed to the polls on October 27, it appears clear that Giorgi Margvelashvili will be the country’s next president. However, second place is nearly as important in this race, with the other candidates needing to draw support for the

Mikheil Saakashvili’s Polarizing Legacy

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – October 24, 2013) Few leaders have been as polarizing as Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s outgoing president. To some, he is the hero of the “Rose Revolution,” the man who stamped out corruption and raised the country’s international profile. Others see him as an authoritarian leader who cracked down on

Interfax: Georgia presidential candidate Burjanadze vows normal relations with Russia if she wins

Georgia Map

MOSCOW. Oct 23 (Interfax) – Georgian presidential candidate from the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and former parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze vows that, if she wins the elections on October 27, she will work to normalize relations with Russia and settle the existing problems. “The unsettled relations with Russia pose a real threat to the country’s

No NATO Membership For Georgia, Ukraine in 2014 – Official

NATO Meeting file photo

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ Ukraine and Georgia will not accede to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) next year, its top official said Tuesday, dismissing speculation that two of Russia’s most strategically important neighbors might be joining. Ukraine has decided to abandon its long-standing bid to join NATO, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Georgia Gets Russian Agricultural Access After Seven-Year Ban

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Helena Bedwell – October 14, 2013) Georgia regained access to Russian markets for its fruit, vegetable and nut exports, seven years after its northern neighbor banned the produce, according to the Black Sea country’s National Food Agency in Tbilisi. Russian inspectors have carried out sanitation checks in Georgia, Giga Kurdovanidze, a

Abkhazia, South Ossetia to be Surkov’s only responsibilities – Ivanov

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Interfax – SALEKHARD, Russia, September 25, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, has denied that Vladislav Surkov will have any other duties in his new capacity as a presidential aide than those relating to Russia’s economic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “I have answered this question a hundred times, but let

Russia’s UN Delegation Walks Out During Saakashvili’s ‘Crazy’ Speech

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrew McChesney September 26, 2013) [Video of speech here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russias-un-delegation-walks-out-during-saakashvilis-crazy-speech/486649.html] Outgoing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili assailed Russia as “the last authoritarian empire in the world” during a speech to the UN General Assembly, and predicted that President Vladimir Putin would disappear from Russian politics, prompting the Russian delegation to walk

Saakashvili intends to train winemakers, new political elite of Georgia

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Interfax – TBILISI, September 24, 2013) U.S. President Barack Obama gave a positive assessment of the activities of his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president’s administration said. Saakashvili leaves a reformed and democratic society, the administration quoted Obama as saying during a meeting with the Georgian president in New York in a video of

Tbilisi interested in dialogue with Moscow – premier’s envoy

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(Interfax – TBILISI, September 23, 2013) Special Envoy of the Georgian Prime Minister for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze believes that the format of his negotiations with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin is productive and that their dialogue will continue. “We had our fourth meeting last week and we can say that rather complex

Ivanishvili: Normalization of Georgian-Russian relations will take 5-7 years

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

(Interfax – TBILISI, September17, 2013) Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili believes his country will take another 5-7 years to normalize relations with Russia. “Our relations with Russia are normalizing gradually,” Ivanishvili said in an interview with the French publication Le Point, fragments of which were published in Georgian media on Tuesday. The fact that Russia

Not many Russians consider Russian-Georgian relations neighborly – poll

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 29, 2013) Russian citizens give a less negative assessment of Russian-Georgian relations than seven years ago, sociologists said following the poll held. Over a third (35-39%) said in 2006 that Russian-Georgian relations were tense and 22% support this stance now. The share of those thinking that the relations of the two

Tensions Rise In Georgia’s Breakaway Regions

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – August 26, 2013) Five years after their formal recognition by the Russian Federation as independent states on August 26, 2008, Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are on very different trajectories in terms of relations with their northern neighbor. But both are plagued by growing domestic

Putin Wants Me Dead or Caged, Georgia President Saakashvili Says

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – By Helena Bedwell, Henry Meyer, Hellmuth Tromm – August 26, 2013) Georgia’s outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin wants him jailed or dead and urged the U.S. to help curb what he says is Russia’s rising influence over his country. Saakashvili, a 45-year-old American-educated lawyer who allied

Georgia is ready to wait for voluntary return of Abkhazia, South Ossetia – Georgian minister

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(Interfax – TBILISI, August 26, 2013) Georgian Reintegration Minister Paata Zakareishvili believes the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will make a final choice between Russia and Georgia over the next several years. “We will always give them [the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia] a chance to choose between a developed Georgia and a

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