State Capture by Means of Constitution: Armenian and Hungarian Cases

By Armen Grigoryan

Introduction

In 2012, when President Serzh Sargsyan suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary after the extradition of Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan, most Armenians’ perception that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself played an important, if not decisive role in the unfortunate decision to extradite the notorious axe-murderer, was quite accurate. It is a bit ironic that Orbán’s certain actions have become a reference point for some Armenian political actors connected to the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).

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Tsnelisi-Chorchana Crisis: Facts, Details and Chronology

By Tornike Zurabashvili

The decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to set up an observation post between the village of Chorchana in the Khashuri municipality and the village of Tsnelisi in the Russian-held Tskhinvali Region/ South Ossetia in August 2019 caused weeks of crisis at the occupation line. The situation did not escalate into an open confrontation but the high concentration of armed security actors significantly deteriorated the security environment on the ground.

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Tearing apart: what drives political polarisation in Georgia?

Lessons learnt from the 2018 Presidential elections

By Tornike Zurabashvili

Tornike Zurabashvili is an independent political analyst based in Tbilisi, Georgia. From December 2016 through June 2019, he edited Civil.ge, Georgia’s leading English-language daily news and analytical platform. He is currently a fellow at the Eurasia Democratic Security Network.

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Running out of steam: Georgian politics after the May 2019 elections

By Max Fras

Local mayoral by-elections and parliamentary by-elections in May and June 2019, Georgia’s last electoral test before the 2020 parliamentary elections, signal a turbulent year ahead for Georgian politics and society. Although the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party won throughout, the elections revealed that both GD and opposition parties are struggling to present a meaningful offering to the electorate, whilst stuck in a pattern of path dependency, relying on the same style of political competition since United National Movement’s departure from power in 2012-2013.

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Tbilisi’s protests and the Georgian Dream Political paradox

By Lincoln Mitchell

The protests and political drama that have engulfed Tbilisi over last week or so has highlighted all of the flaws of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party (GD). While the image of a pro-Kremlin Russian parliamentarian holding court in Georgia’s legislature was to many Georgians a troubling symbol, that event, and the political outrage it evoked, is less emblematic of Russian sway as much as a reminder of Georgia’s fraught and paradoxical political balancing act.

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When corruption trumps geopolitics: lessons from the Moldovan election

By Mihai Popsoi

In international circles, Moldova is frequently described as a country torn between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic West, where the push-pull of geopolitical competition is the defining feature of national policy and politics. Yet, while geopolitics may fill the headlines and fuel sombre discussions in Western capitals, the flawed recent elections in Moldova reveal a simpler truth: that political expediency and corruption often wins over strategic and geopolitical orientation.

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Armenia is a Russian ally and EEU member, so how did it pull off a democratic revolution?

By Dr. Karena Avedissian

For Armenia, a Russian ally, a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and once regarded as increasingly autocratic, the 2018 Velvet Revolution was a remarkable achievement.

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What can Moldova Learn from Georgia?

By Mihai Popsoi

After having visited Georgia several times since my first visit in 2016, I am in awe with the sheer splendor of the country’s booming new architectural landmarks. The controversial former president Mihail Saakashvili undeniably left a mark by embarking on a rapid modernization process that entailed drastic anti-corruption reforms as well as large investments in infrastructure. All over Georgia one can see the glass monuments to transparency, accountability and revival starting from the new offices of the Legislature, Presidency, Courts, Police Stations etc. One can discuss the aesthetics and the architectural value of the new edifices, but their symbolic importance for the young and ambitious country is unquestionable. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, Moldova has struggled for almost five years to renovate its parliament and failed to renovate the presidential office for almost a decade following the riots of April 2009. The Moldovan President Igor Dodon had to ask the Turkish President Erdogan not just to rebuild the Presidential Office, but also pay for the furniture.                

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Mobilizing Emojis: The HAHA Campaign to Counter the Recognition of Abkhazia

By Ann Tsurtsumia-Zurabashvili

Being primarily an issue of foreign policy, the local dimension of the counter-recognition policy has remained rather overlooked. How ordinary Georgian citizens react to new external contacts of Abkhazia might be meaningless for the big picture, but it sheds light to the sentiments of societies living on both sides of the division line.     

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