Foreign policy and domestic constraints: what political regimes can and cannot do in Georgia

Russia is a non-partisan issue

A negative attitude toward Russia is among the few common denominators that consolidates Georgian  society amid otherwise very strong political polarization and social stratification. The two largest parties in Georgia, the ruling GD and the opposition UNM, have since 2012 radicalized their support bases to extremes. Moreover, a significant part of Georgia’s population still has a very negative attitude towards UNM, a factor driving the recurring electoral wins of GD. The recent protests, however, have shown that the tarnished image of the main opposition party did not prevent protests against the government, at least when it was perceived to be acting in Russia’s interest. Being in “power preservation mode” for some time and lacking any progressive vision for how to transform the country, the ruling party could not allow another anti-governmental resentment spread in Georgian public. It took bloody protests for the authorities to grudgingly acknowledge the present realities and reluctantly bow to public pressure.

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