By Mihai Popsoi
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
Continue reading What can Moldova Learn from Georgia?
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.
Continue reading Mobilizing Emojis: The HAHA Campaign to Counter the Recognition of Abkhazia
By Dr. Karena Avedissian
For Armenia, a country that is a member state of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and was widely perceived as slowly slipping into autocracy, the Velvet Revolution was a remarkable achievement.
Continue reading Armenia: Revolution in the EEU
By Tigran Grigoryan
Editor’s Note: The author’s use of unqualified place names in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is a reflection of his analytical perspective, and does not necessarily represent the official view of EDSN, CSS, or its affiliates.
The velvet revolution in Armenia was a political earthquake which few had anticipated. In less than a fortnight, the popular movement led by Nikol Pashinyan managed to mobilize the overwhelming majority of Armenian society in a dramatic struggle against the autocratic and corrupt regime of Serzh Sargsyan. The movement reached its initial goal on April 23, when Sargsyan announced his resignation. The following two weeks were marked by political instability caused by the reluctance of the ruling regime’s representatives in the Parliament to satisfy the protesters’ demands and elect Nikol Pashinyan the new Prime Minister of Armenia. However, On May 8, the revolutionaries prevailed and Pashinyan became the new leader of the republic.
Continue reading Nagorno-Karabakh’s Hot Political Summer: A Revolution That Didn’t Happen
By Alexander Nice
Barring any last-minute drama, the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the European Union in just a few months’ time, on 29th March 2019. Brexit represents a fundamental challenge to the European Union, which will lose its second biggest economy and a critical security actor. It also poses a serious questions over the future of the EU itself. It has shown that the direction of travel for EU states is not foreordained; countries can leave as well as join the bloc; and “ever-closer Union” is not inevitable. Moreover, the concerns that drove the UK to leave the EU –over immigration, sovereignty and democratic control – are not unique to British voters.
Continue reading Brexit and the Eastern Partnership – opportunities as well as risks?
By Emmet Tuohy
Ametlikult, Euroopa Liidu idapartnerluse poliitika sai ametlikult alguse 2009. aastal Praha tippkohtumisel ELi liikmesriikide heakskiitmisega—sealhulgas üks, mille nimi algab E-tähega—ning hõlmab koostöö suurendamist kuue idanaabriga: Armeenia, Aserbaidžaan, Gruusia Moldova, Ukraina ja Valgevene. Continue reading Tulevik ilma e-ta: Eesti roll ELi idapartnerluses
By Emmet Tuohy
In the post-Communist political philosophy tradition, the concept of “civil society” (an ostensibly flourishing collection of independent organizations freely able to pursue their interests, ranging from activist groups to bird-watching clubs, from academic institutions to bricklayers’ unions) is distinguished from “political society,” i.e., that dominated by the personnel and ideology of the state itself.
Continue reading Astroturf or Grass? Civil Society, the EU, and the Eastern Partnership
By Licínia Simão
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh started in 1988, initially as a political demand by the Karabakh authorities for formal inclusion in the Armenian Socialist Soviet Republic. It rapidly escalated into violent confrontation, as Azerbaijani authorities refused this demand and Moscow proved too absent to manage the contestation. The final days of the USSR were particularly violent in this region of the world and thirty years after the conflict escalated into a violent confrontation there has been no peace and there are no perspectives of a way out of the status quo. Besides the obvious human costs of the war, the permanence of this protracted conflict has had an immense negative impact in the post-Soviet transition of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as of Nagorno-Karabakh. Democratic institutions have been pressured to produce leaderships that have the management of war as their main priority; democratic choices have fallen victim of militarisation; regional partnerships have been skewed to produce alliances and balances of power. In this scenario, what challenges does democracy face in the region, thirty years into this war?
Continue reading Thirty years of war over Nagorno-Karabakh: what are the challenges for democracy?
By Emmet Tuohy
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2015, OSCE chairman-in-office Ivica Dačić (then, as now, foreign minister of Serbia) called the agreement a “historic triumph of cooperation over conflict that set the stage for the end of the Cold War.” In historical context, that is certainly true enough. Yet, even then, given the well-known events in Ukraine the previous year—specifically Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the military intervention in the Donbas region—there was ample cause to prompt a reassessment of the long-term impact of the Helsinki agreements. Former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves argued that the main principle of the Act—that hat state borders cannot be changed by force—was „no longer valid.” But if the problem is the emergence of a „new Cold War,” then perhaps the Cold War era can be the source of a solution?
Continue reading Helsinki 2.0 – An Old-School Solution to an Old-School Problem?
By Emmet Tuohy
Much as the related “Ukraine fatigue” pandemic swept Washington in the aftermath of the 2004-05 Orange Revolution, Eastern Partnership (EaP) fatigue is alas an increasingly common illness among many contemporary observers, both within the EU and in the six partner countries. Even in Tallinn—the capital of one of the most enthusiastic and effective supporters of the EaP—one occasionally hears critiques (if more often whispered or off-the-record) that the initiative is “irrelevant” or “ineffective.” And its showcase event, the biennial Eastern Partnership Summit, was (accurately) described as “low-key” and “aimed at avoid[ing] drama.” Following Shakespeare’s Danish prince—who was actually, frequent misquoting aside, talking about a rather more final state of repose—are the EaP’s dreams of ever-closer European integration eastward simply dead? Or, like Hamlet, has the initiative found a reason to keep going?
Continue reading To Sleep, Perchance to Reform: The Continued Relevance of the EU’s Eastern Partnership