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  • Author: Andrew Wilson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union was largely on the sidelines when the Belarusian regime rigged the 2020 presidential election, but upcoming votes in Georgia and Moldova pose a different challenge. The EU should make use of its significant leverage in Georgia and Moldova to counter their ruling parties’ extensive repertoire of electoral dirty tricks. The bloc will need to account for the obstacles created by the coronavirus crisis, not least the difficulty of conducting large-scale monitoring missions. The EU will also need to adjust to the ruling parties’ use of pandemic assistance for political gain, and their efforts to prevent citizens abroad from voting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Elections, European Union, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: Zurab Batiashvili, Alexander Kvakhadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to analyze the social and economic problems in the Khulo municipality and the mountainous region of Guria and identify ways to solve them. It is noteworthy that both the internal socioeconomic challenges and the current geopolitical reality are greatly influencing the region. The paper examines the challenges facing the region in the fields of religion, political engagement, education and socio-economic development. The combination of these problems to some extent impedes the region’s progress and its full integration into Georgia’s social and political space. The work has been produced under the auspices of the United Kingdom Good Governance Fund and the British Good Governance Fund in the framework of the Rondeli Foundation’s project entitled Promoting Participation and Engagement in Local Governance in the Mountainous region of Guria and Adjara.
  • Topic: Development, Geopolitics, Economy, Rural
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Kakha Gogolashvili, Valeriu Pasa, Mikayel Hovhannisyan, Viktor Ohiienko, Julya Sahakyan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: Four non-governmental organisations from Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine conducted a joint study assessing hybrid threats that the EaP countries are currently facing. The project aimed to study the hybrid threats which affect Eastern Partnership states and elaborate recommendations to actively engage civil society in countering them. The project envisaged the creation of a team of experts from Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine, which would travel to the capital cities of the mentioned states and meet all relevant stakeholders from government, parliament and civil society. The meetings resulted in the collection of all necessary information, opinions and ideas on the state of institutional and legal measures taken in the countries on countering existing hybrid threats. The team of experts also undertook desk research based on accessible open sources and interviews conducted with different stakeholders, among them government officials, experts and civil society organizations. The research and study visits provided the ground for four country reviews to be written by the experts. Their reports have been integrated mutatis mutandis into the present policy paper, followed by a comparative analysis of threats and institutional responses, similarities and distinctions in the policies of the four mentioned countries. The paper also explores the role and areas of potential engagement of civil society. To effectively counter the hybrid threats, a joining of efforts of official bodies and non-state actors is required. It also needs reinforced international cooperation on a government and civil society level. The paper recommends the governments establish active cooperation among and with the EU countries with the aim of analyzing, exchanging knowledge and countering jointly, where appropriate, hybrid threats. The cooperation should target the development of an appropriate legal environment and adequate institutional capacity. Civil society itself should become more organized and consolidated. The paper advises the EaP CSF to conduct work on consolidating the efforts of civil society in the direction of strengthening the resilience of EaP countries, especially in countering attacks aiming to discredit and weaken the Europeanisation of the mentioned countries. It was advised that the EaP CSF contribute to facilitating the capacity building of civil society organizations so as to help them to actively engage in countering hybrid threats. Despite the existing differences between EaP partner states as regards their foreign policy priorities and geopolitical orientation or trade arrangement, all of them seek closer cooperation with the European Union, peaceful co-existence, and the chance to develop efficient economic ties within the wider region. Continuation of Europeanisation and interaction with EU institutions, supporting democratic transformation, economic and regulatory convergence, social cohesion and human capital development, institutional and state build up, has become irreversible thanks to the success of the EaP. The sources of the new hybrid threats predominantly aim at discrediting and weakening the motivation of the EaP partner states to further integrate with the EU. Indeed, EaP partner states understand the importance of this cooperation and are interested in countering, jointly where possible, any adverse action or attempt to disengage them from that process. Based on the results of the study, we propose a set of recommendations for the governments of EaP states, EU and NATO institutions and their member states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia
  • Author: Kakha Gogolashvili, Mikayel Hovhannisyan, Elkhan Mehtiyev, Andrei Yahorau, Valeriu Pasa, Viktor Ohiienko
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The objective of the project, in the framework of which this policy paper was developed, is to promote the wider involvement of civil society in the policy area that can and should benefit from a multi-stakeholder approach through all stages of the policy cycle in the upcoming period in order to maximize the impact of joint actions and activities. The paper has an ambition to advise on how civil society should and could be involved in formulating, implementing and monitoring the future deliverables in the area of hybrid threats in the post-2020 Road Map for the EaP policy, including developing specific deliverables with concrete benchmarks for individual countries in a regional perspective. The paper feeds directly into the debate on the new EaP Road Map and structured consultation opened by the EU institutions, and builds directly on the recommendations from the EaP CSF policy paper "Advancing Eastern Partnership: 23 Civil Society Ideas for the Policy beyond 2020". It will be distributed to its target audience in Brussels, EU member states and EaP countries. Further advocacy and discussion with stakeholders in Brussels is planned during the 11th EaP CSF Annual Assembly on December 6, 2019. The paper is a result of the joint research conducted by a team of experts representing CSOs from all six EaP partner states. The team conducted desk research and held consultations with stakeholders and experts in their respective countries. Each of them contributed to country reports and proposed recommendations for the development of cooperation on prevention and countering hybrid threats throughout the EaP area. The findings of the study covered the comparative analysis of hybrid threats in EaP countries, the response of the governments, cooperation between EU and EaP countries on countering hybrid threats, civil society engagement and, finally, the suggestions on the development of cooperation between EU and EaP partner states. The research resulted in concrete recommendations for the governments of the respective countries, EU institutions and member states and for civil society, which is advised to intensify its engagement in countering hybrid threats and in developing a common response.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, European Union, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s annexation of Crimea triggered a shift in NATO’s policy towards Georgia. NATO moved from mainly political support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations to enhanced practical military cooperation. Although it might be more difficult for Russia to coerce its small neighbour, the lack of visible progress on the path to NATO membership may weaken Georgian morale and lead to a reversal of democratic gains. Hence, it is important that during the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels the Allies offer additional support to help Georgia increase its resilience.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Georgia