Armenian Dreams of Democracy

By Licínia Simão

The month of April 2018 in Armenia was marked by an unprecedented level of popular mobilization demanding the resignation of Prime-minister Serzh Sargsyan and the end of the corrupt system he enabled as President over the last decade. He announced his resignation on April 23, following 11 days of protests in Yerevan and other major Armenian cities. By May, the “Velvet Revolution” had catapulted to power. Armenia’s case is a clear evidence of the domestic desire for democracy of the societies of the South Caucasus and the steps they are ready to take when these dreams are not fulfilled, neither by their leaders nor international partners. Continue reading Armenian Dreams of Democracy

POLICY BRIEFING: Conditionality: Western & Regional Perspectives

By Giorgi Khelashvili

In Spring 2017, the Center for Social Sciences launched the Eurasia Democratic Security Network project funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). EDSN established a platform for discussing and addressing issues related to the Euro-Atlantic integration and conditionality. In July 2017, CSS organized kick-off workshop involving the first EDSN cohort.

Continue reading POLICY BRIEFING: Conditionality: Western & Regional Perspectives

Baltic Cooperation and its Impact on Conditionality: the Case of Astravets Chance

By Emmet Tuohy

On the level of cooperation among the “B3” countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, progress towards accomplishing concrete and needed goals on energy (as well as transport) infrastructure has lagged badly. Not only has this lack of cooperation hampered each country’s ability to pursue its policies effectively in within Euro-Atlantic institutions, but it also threatens their security in this situation.

Continue reading Baltic Cooperation and its Impact on Conditionality: the Case of Astravets Chance

POLICY BRIEFING: Georgian Perceptions & Cautious Conditionality

By Levan Kakhishvili

The 2015 Caucasus Barometer Survey demonstrates that for more than half of Georgians, democracy is not necessarily the most preferable form of government. In fact, only some 47 percent of the population thinks that democracy is better than other types of government.

Continue reading POLICY BRIEFING: Georgian Perceptions & Cautious Conditionality

Ivanshvili Returns After Never Really Leaving

By Lincoln Mitchell

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s decision to return to a formal role as Chair of the Georgian Dream (GD) is more interesting for its timing than for the action itself. Ivanishvili, despite his protestations to the contrary, has never fully removed himself from Georgian political life since stepping down as Prime Minister in November of 2013. Over the last four and a half years his role has diminished somewhat, but major Georgian Dream, and government, decisions are rarely made without his input.

Continue reading Ivanshvili Returns After Never Really Leaving

Georgia’s European Integration, Ethnic Minorities, and Russian Propaganda

By Levan Kakhishvili

Support for the European Union in Georgia is surprisingly high. When Georgia was granted a visa-free travel to the Schengen area, former British Ambassador to Georgia Alexandra Hall Hall wrote: “While this [visa-free travel] is a landmark achievement for Georgia, counterintuitively, in some respects it is a bigger deal for the EU.” The logic behind this statement is that against the background of Brexit, Georgia celebrating a “small step” on its path to Europeanization is a heartening sign that “the post-Cold War ideal of a Europe ‘whole, free, and at peace’” was still alive.

Continue reading Georgia’s European Integration, Ethnic Minorities, and Russian Propaganda

Azerbaijan’s New Law on Status of Armed Forces: Changes and Implications

By Zaur Shiriyev

A draft law on the “Status of the Armed Forces” was introduced by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense, Security and Anti-Corruption in mid-November, and on 1 December it was heard by Parliament. The amendments were adopted upon a second hearing with a majority vote on 15 December. The issue was first on the agenda back in 2012 and 2013, when it was announced that the Parliament Committee on Defense, Security and Anti-Corruption would introduce a new law on the Status of Armed Forces and Other Armed Units. However, clearly, the law only happened recently.

Continue reading Azerbaijan’s New Law on Status of Armed Forces: Changes and Implications

The Elections and Kyrgyz-Kazakh Complications

By Shairbek Juraev

Can an exercise of democratic elections jeopardize a nation’s foreign relations? Not necessarily, but when combined with the non-democratic exercise of foreign policy, it probably can. The 2017 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, much praised as a rare case of peaceful power transfer from one elected leader to another in Central Asia, has also gained prominence for its major foreign policy implications.

Continue reading The Elections and Kyrgyz-Kazakh Complications