Georgia

  • Between Trump and Putin: A Way Ahead for Georgia

    The election which mattered most for Georgia was not the one that returned the incumbent Georgian Dream party to power last month, but the one that took place in the United States last week. Georgia’s leaders were swift to congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and express confidence in the US-Georgian relationship. But privately, they may harbor deep concerns. Trump’s unexpected victory risks upending the strategic goals around which an otherwise-polarized Georgian establishment has largely been able to coalesce: membership in NATO and the European Union as a way of entrenching their security and independence from Russia.

    Trump has made no secret of his disdain for NATO, questioning why the US should continue to offer protection to allies that don’t pay their fair share. Nor has he been shy in his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who describes Georgian membership in NATO as a red line. This is no empty threat: NATO’s pledge at the 2008 Bucharest summit to one day make Georgia a member was followed only months later by Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Even today, any perceived deepening of Georgian ties to NATO is accompanied by Russian sabre rattling.

    The concern is that a President Trump, keen to focus on problems at home, skeptical of major US interventions overseas, and desirous of better relations with Russia, will be open to a grand bargain with Putin.

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  • Why Georgia Deserves More Love from the EU, NATO, and the US

    On November 11, Mikheil Saakashvili stole the show again. After resigning from his post as regional governor of Odesa oblast in Ukraine, he vowed to build a new political party and called for early parliamentary elections there. While Saakashvili dominates the news cycle and pundits continue to examine his every move, it’s worth taking a closer look at his home country of Georgia and its recent elections, where the former president still plays an outsized role.

    On October 30, Georgia’s ruling party Georgian Dream scored a decisive victory in the second round of voting, securing enough seats to change the constitution and pass legislation easily. Georgian Dream won 115 of the 150 seats, while the United National Movement won twenty-seven, the Alliance of Patriots ended up with six, and the Industrialists-Our Homeland bloc got one. Independent candidate Salome Zourabichvili was also elected.

    These results require sustained attention, especially given Georgia’s recent history of abuse of power from both the United National Movement and Georgian Dream.

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  • Herbst Quoted by Accent on Hillary Clinton's Support for Ukraine and Georgia


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  • Dealing with Putin

    As presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have taken divergent views of Russia and its relationship with the United States. Clinton, a Democrat who as secretary of state presented a big red “reset” button to her Russian counterpart in 2009, has taken a hawkish view of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Trump, on the other hand, has said that it “wouldn’t be so bad” if the United States got along with Russia. How, then, should they approach Russia when either of them are elected president on November 8?

    The next president of the United States—regardless of whether it is Clinton or Trump—must do more to deter Russia, former US officials said at the Atlantic Council on November 3.

    “In terms of the Russia policy, we need to change the dynamics. It is not working now. Something needs to change,” said Judy Ansley, who was an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration.

    Ansley argued for a “stronger and much more assertive approach to Russia.”

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  • Cohen Joins Rustavi 2 to Discuss Us-Georgia Relations


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  • Linderman Interviewed by VOA Georgia on Elections in Georgia


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  • Linderman Interviewed by Democracy & Freedom Watch on Georgia's Parliamentary Elections and Its Future


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  • Linderman Quoted by Accent on Georgia's October 8 Parliamentary Elections


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  • Cohen Quoted by Agenda.GE on the Recent Progress Georgia Has Made


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  • Georgia’s Ruling Party Triumphs in Elections. Now for the Hard Part.

    The pro-Western ruling party’s decisive victory in parliamentary elections in Georgia on October 8 is a reflection of voters’ preference for stability and staying the course. 

    The Georgia Dream-Democratic Georgia (GD) was followed in second place by the United National Movement (UNM), which was in power from 2003-2012. GD will need to work hard to meet the challenges facing the country and must avoid the temptation of consolidating one-party rule. These challenges can be overcome by calm, forward-looking, and practical governance that incorporates input from the UNM.

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