• Benitez Interviewed by Accent on Upcoming NATO Summit

    Read More
  • Great Expectations: Aspirant Nations See NATO Enlargement as Vital to Europe’s Stability

    NATO membership for countries in the Balkans and for Georgia is crucial for the stability of Europe and will send a clear signal that Russia does not have a veto over the alliance’s enlargement plans, panelists, including officials from Macedonia and Georgia, said at the Atlantic Council on June 8.

    Read More
  • NATO Enlargement Seen About Filling Gaps

    Montenegro’s defense minister, Milica Pejanović-Đurišić, has some advice for countries aspiring to join NATO: explain to partners and friends the importance of alliance membership from a political standpoint.

    Pejanović-Đurišić is well positioned to give such advice. In December 2015, NATO extended an invitation to Montenegro to begin accession talks and become the twenty-ninth member of the alliance.

    Montenegro will do its part to explain to its partners why it is important to broaden the alliance and “fill the gaps,” said Pejanović-Đurišić. “If you geographically see what is the NATO alliance in our region now, there are a number of gaps; illogical ones,” she added.

    Pejanović-Đurišić spoke at a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council on June 8 on “The Future of NATO Enlargement and New Frontiers in European Security.”

    Read More
  • Atlantic Council Event on the Future of NATO Enlargement with Georgian, Ukrainian Officials Mentioned by the Associated Press

    Read More
  • A Saakashvili Party Comeback? Not in Georgia but Maybe in Ukraine

    Odesa Oblast Governor Mikheil Saakashvili is preparing for the launch of his political party later this year in Ukraine, but this has not prevented him from pondering a return to politics in his native Georgia. Georgian voters go to the polls on October 8 to elect a new parliament in a contest viewed as a referendum on the performance of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgia Dream coalition, as well as a barometer of the public’s desire for Saakashvili to return to power.

    In the October 2012 parliamentary elections, following eight years of Saakashvili’s rule, Ivanishvili assembled a wide coalition of Saakashvili’s opponents to compete. Due to constitutional changes initiated by Saakashvili, most powers of the presidency had shifted to the prime minister following the 2012 election. This move was designed to allow Saakashvili to skirt the two-term limit for presidents and continue to rule. However, the move backfired and resulted in Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition winning a resounding victory over Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM).

    The following year, the Georgian Dream candidate for president won an easy victory over Saakashvili’s party’s candidate. However, a weak economy and general disappointment over perceived unfulfilled promises by the Georgian Dream coalition have led to a sharp decline in the ruling party’s popularity since then. In a recent IRI poll, 70 percent of Georgians said the country is headed in the wrong direction. At the same, other polls have put the Georgian Dream party slightly ahead of UNM.

    Read More
  • Polyakova Joins Voice of America Georgia to Discuss Russian Propaganda in Georgia

    Read More
  • Cohen Quoted by Accent on Georgia and Russia

    Read More
  • Wilson Joins Voice of America Georgian Service to Discuss the Joint US-UK-Georgian Military Exercises

    Read More
  • The Long Arm of Russian “Soft” Power

    Anxious about losing ground to Western influence in the post-Soviet space and the ousting of pro-Russia elites by popular electoral uprisings in the early 2000s, the Kremlin has developed a range of proxy groups in support of its foreign policy. This network of pro-Kremlin groups promotes the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), a flexible tool that justifies increasing Russian actions in the post-Soviet space and beyond. Russian groups are particularly active in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine—countries that have declared their desire to integrate with the West.

    Russia employs a vocabulary of “soft power” to disguise its “soft coercion" efforts aimed at retaining regional supremacy. Russian pseudo-NGOs undermine the social cohesion of neighboring states through the consolidation of pro-Russian forces and ethno-geopolitics; the denigration of national identities; and the promotion of anti-US, conservative Orthodox, and Eurasianist values. They also aim to establish alternative discourses to confuse decision-making, and act as destabilizing forces by uniting paramilitary groups and spreading aggressive propaganda.

    The activities of these proxy groups—combined with the extensive Russian state administrative resources and security apparatus, as well as the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, pro-Russian elites, mass culture, and the media—may seriously damage fragile political transitions and civil societies in the region.

    Read More
  • How to Solve Ukraine’s Security Dilemma

    The Case for a New Security Pact between the Baltic and Black Seas

    A main reason for the recent escalation of tensions in Eastern Europe is the absence of an effective security structure encompassing such militarily weak countries as Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. While Ukrainian public opinion has recently made a U-turn from a rejection to an embrace of NATO, the Alliance will not be ready to extend its commitments farther east anytime soon. Although future enlargement of the Alliance is possible, Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia as well as Moscow’s anti-Western stance would have to decrease significantly for that to happen. Recently, the opposite tendency was on display: The more aggression the Kremlin has shown, the less likely it is that the North Atlantic Council will open its doors to new members in conflict with Moscow.

    Read More