Astroturf or Grass? Civil Society, the EU, and the Eastern Partnership

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 … Read more Astroturf or Grass? Civil Society, the EU, and the Eastern Partnership

Thirty years of war over Nagorno-Karabakh: what are the challenges for democracy?

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 … Read more Thirty years of war over Nagorno-Karabakh: what are the challenges for democracy?

Helsinki 2.0—An Old-School Solution to an Old-School Problem?

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, … Read more Helsinki 2.0—An Old-School Solution to an Old-School Problem?

To Sleep, Perchance to Reform: The Continued Relevance of the EU’s Eastern Partnership

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 … Read more To Sleep, Perchance to Reform: The Continued Relevance of the EU’s Eastern Partnership

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 … Read more 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.” … Read more 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 … Read more Azerbaijan’s New Law on Status of Armed Forces: Changes and Implications