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Beyond Soft Power: Analysing Russian and Chinese Vaccine Diplomacy in the South Caucasus

Mariam Gamdlishvili

The use of soft power – the abilities of states to influence behavior and attitudes of foreign populations through attraction, rather than through military or economic means (i.e., hard power) – by a number of international actors is not a novel phenomenon and is exercised in various ways targeting societies and countries globally. At the same time, coercive actions such as economic and political influence, and the utilization of sharp power – use of information for hostile purposes – are applied by Russia and China. (more…)


Government Coalitions and Consensus Politics: Case of Lithuania

Lukas Pukelis, Mažvydas Jastramskis

The following paper analyzes how, in the case of Lithuania, various political parties managed to reach an agreement and cooperate on issues relevant to the national interests of the country. The peaceful and civil transition of political power has contributed to ensuring Lithuania’s stable political system, and most importantly the assurance that when a party loses an election they do not expect to be prosecuted by the new government. These conditions have helped create and reproduce a pragmatic working environment for all political actors in the country. No less important have been the nonpartisan and directly elected presidents, who have played a major role in promoting consensus-based political culture in Lithuania. (more…)


More responsibility or lack of interest? German Perspective on the South Caucasus after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War

Mikheil Sarjveladze

Germany’s new federal government will not only decide the direction of German foreign policy but will also influence EU foreign policy. Alongside the transatlantic partnership, European integration and the European Union form the framework and direction of German foreign policy. Accordingly, the war over Nagorno-Karabakh in the autumn of 2020 between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the resulting geopolitical shifts in the EU’s direct neighbourhood presented Germany, as a European power, with foreign policy challenges. (more…)


The Georgia Governance Index (GGI) 2021

The Georgia Governance Index (GGI) studies Georgia’s performance in four governance areas: democratic, effective, social and economic, and external. In doing so, the report aims to identify the main challenges and gaps but also the positive developments in different governance areas of Georgia and to provide policy-relevant recommendations on how to mitigate the risks and improve governance quality.

This index is aimed at a wide audience including politicians and political parties, civil society representatives, think-tanks, NGOs, political foundations, international organizations, international and domestic observers, and pundits, as well as to wider public with an interest in Georgian governance affairs. (more…)


Revamping the Nakhijevan-Yerevan-Baku Railway: Significance, Opportunities and Obstacles

Albert Hayrapetyan

Since the fall of the Soviet Union relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have remained hostile, heightening tensions in the South Caucasus region. The loss of transport infrastructure which connected both states during the Soviet times entails a welfare loss for the whole region but most acutely for Armenia, a small landlocked nation undergoing an economic blockade by its eastern and western neighbors – Azerbaijan and Turkey. The blockade has diminished the importance of railroads for the country as the only state effectively connected with Armenia via rail is Georgia. (more…)


From Delegating the Coercion to Non-State Actors to the Idea of “Sovereign Democracy”

Teona Zurabashvili 

The legal condition of the peaceful assembly of citizens has been paradoxical in Georgia since 2013. Specifically, the right of peaceful assembly of the various political or social groups is not enforced by the state itself through the usage of legitimate power ( 2020); however, peaceful assemblies are often canceled by the organizers or find themselves significantly limited in time and space due to the obvious danger coming from counter-demonstrations that have been organized to take place simultaneously ( 2013a, 2013b, Radio Liberty 2018, Radio Liberty 2019a, Radio Liberty 2019b, 2019a, 2019a, 2020, 2021a). (more…)


Geopolitical Reshuffling in the South Caucasus in the Aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War and the EU’s Policy Options

Hasmik Khachatryan

The EU has strived to strengthen the sovereignty and independence of the South Caucasus states, to bring the neighbours closer to the EU. To this end, the EU has undertaken a series of effective measures since the 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of a new balance of power in the region. Meanwhile, the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war has brought major geopolitical reshuffling to the South Caucasus. The EU’s power, in fact, has been downgraded in strategic terms and its long-term efforts to promote peace and stability in the region have been nullified. Against the backdrop of the new geostrategic reality in the South Caucasus, the EU strives to regain its position of power. (more…)


Georgia’s Security Options, as a Small State Navigating the Pressures of an Evolving International System – Expert Interview with Professor Roy Allison

Interview by Marguerite Chapman, GIP Intern

“Georgia has to engage in a long-term and society-wide effort. Programmes to try and manage the challenges of living beside Russia must be deeply embedded in the state, rather than dependent on the short-term interests of governments, which may undermine such efforts.” (more…)


Political Polarization – a Vicious Circle or a Missed Opportunity for Small Political Parties?

Teona Zurabashvili 

It can be assumed that in the local elections of October 2 2021, political polarization was not the main factor that led to consolidation of opposition votes around the UNM, but the political decision of the small parties per se to remain in a domain that was most affected by the existing political polarization. They didn’t have a long-term strategy to attract voters who have different preferences from the polarized political agenda. (more…)


Democratic Deficit in Party Political Systems – Expert Interview with Professor Zsolt Enyedi

Interview by Salome Kandelaki, GIP Junior Policy Analyst

“The likelihood that you suddenly have a new leader coming from nowhere and taking over an entire state is still larger in the East. That is one of the indications of the weakness of the party systems.”


Biden’s Vision for Global Democracy After Afghanistan: What Does Georgia Need to Consider?

Nino Samkharadze

Joe Biden’s vision for Global Democracy is so important in the US foreign policy strategy that it is even referred to as the “Biden Doctrine”(Brands 2021). However, even in the new administration’s first few days, many had already begun voicing their doubts (Adler and Wertheim 2020). Needless to say, the US-led withdrawal from Afghanistan further complicated Washington’s grand plan (Biden 2020) to lead an “Alliance of Democracies”. (more…)


Georgia’s European Perspective: Expert Interview with Professor Dr. Tanja A. Börzel

Interview by Shota Kakabadze, GIP Junior Policy Analyst

“I think Georgian society, and I’m saying Georgian society, I’m not talking about politicians here, has to make up its mind. It cannot have both the cake and eat it at the same time. If you want to be part of Europe and the European Union, you have to accept European values.”

Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel is Professor of Political Science and holds the Chair for European Integration at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin. (more…)