A Year in Review: Armenian Government Hampered by Path Dependence

By Armen Grigoryan

In 2019, Armenia’s economic situation markedly improved, registering GDP growth of 6.5 percent, a stable financial system, upgraded credit ratings, higher budget revenues and reduced public debt (Emerging Europe, December 30, 2019). According to a poll conducted in September and October by the International Republican Institute (IRI), 28 percent of citizens noted a significant improvement in their households’ financial situation, compared to 17 percent in 2018, although the majority of respondents saw no change for the better. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government remains popular, with 70 percent of the population feeling optimistic about the country’s future and expressing satisfaction with the government’s anti-corruption campaign. But on the other hand, the proportion of respondents emphasizing socio-economic issues and the need for job creation has increased significantly in comparison with previous polls from October 2018 and May 2019; and 82 percent of respondents consider judicial reform a priority (Iri.org, December 9, 2019).

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Armenia’s Post-Revolutionary Government Seeks to Speed up Reform

By Armen Grigoryan

A year after winning a two-thirds majority at the snap parliamentary elections, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has acknowledged flaws in the government’s previous approach to the reform process, admitting that some essential reforms have practically been stalled. Pashinyan continually enjoys a considerably high level of public support, and needs to take decisive steps towards more drastic reforms, possibly by mobilizing support from different groups that welcomed the “Velvet Revolution” and the wider expert community.

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State Capture by Means of Constitution: Armenian and Hungarian Cases

By Armen Grigoryan


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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EDSN 2019 Conference on Democracy and Security

June 3, 2019


Holiday Inn Tbilisi

Join the Center for Social Sciences and the Eurasia Democratic Security Network (EDSN) for its 2019 conference on democracy and security in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Featuring a slate of distinguished speakers — including the 2018-19 cohort of EDSN fellows, prominent guest speakers, and invited experts — the 2019 conference will explore and articulate the linkages between democracy and security, with a particular emphasis on the practical policy issues in the broader Eurasia region and the wider world.

Panelists include:

  • Amb. Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia
  • Dr. Rosaria Puglisi, NATO Liaison Office in Georgia
  • Elizabeth Rood, Charges D’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Georgia
  • Dr. Maryna Vorotnyuk (EDSN Fellow and Central European University)
  • Dr. Kornely Kakachia (TSU and Georgian Institute of Politics)
  • Mihai Popsoi (EDSN Fellow and MP, Parliament of Moldova)
  • Dr. Giorgi Khelashvili (Advisor to Speaker, Parliament of Georgia)
  • Ana Tsurtsumia (EDSN Fellow and Program Manager at EWMI/ACCESS)
  • Dr. Anna Dolidze, High Council of Justice of Georgia
  • Tigran Grigoryan (EDSN Fellow and Founder, National Revival Party)
  • Babken DerGregorian, Acting Minister of Diaspora of Armenia

Download Conference Agenda

EDSN is a project of the Center for Social Sciences (Tbilisi) made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Zelenskiy faces tough choices amidst high expectations

By Maryna Vorotnyuk

On April 21, Ukraine held the second round of presidential elections where Ukrainian citizens had to choose between the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko and the popular comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelenskiy. With 73 percentof the vote, Zelenskiy secured a landslide victory across an absolute majority of Ukrainian regions. Zelenskiy is widely believed to reflect the voices of so-called “protest voters” – those who are dissatisfied with the way the state, from the economy to the public sector, is performing. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose political and ideological preferences remained intentionally vague, rode in on a wave of public dissatisfaction with incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. He offered himself as an anti-system alternative – honest and unstained by political experience. Although he is allegedly supported by powerful Ukrainian oligarch and Poroshenko’s arch-rival Igor Kolomoisky, Ukrainian voters obviously believed that Zelenskiy was the lesser of two evils.

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