The West Should Increase Support of Georgia

The Washington Post has published an article on Georgia’s Foreign Policy, comparing pro-EU and pro-Russian tendencies in the country prior to the 2016 parliamentary elections.

A Foreign Policy Research Institute Scholar, Michael Cecire, in his article states that Georgia is not on the verge of a Kremlin-inspired political takeover, but nor is growing Russian influence a fantasy.

According to Cecire, getting a feel for Georgia’s geopolitical trajectory is too important to get wrong. “Georgia is arguably the most stable and most democratic of the post-Soviet republics outside of the Baltics, and plausibly the last hope in a region that has seen years of political stagnation and regression. The United States and Europe have poured billions into promoting democracy and economic development there, and Tbilisi has consistently responded with an enthusiastic embrace of Westernization.”

The article says the government in Tbilisi is doing almost everything right. But expansion fatigue in the United States, and especially Europe, is breeding fatalism in Georgia, and incubating a political environment where the anti-west crusades of pro-Russia factions are gaining traction.

Cecire assumes that if Georgia turned away from the West, it would not only be a blow to the country’s nascent democracy, but it would also sew up the Eurasian interior for Moscow, give Russia a direct corridor to the Middle East, cut Western access to Eurasian energy sources and kill off any hope for regional democratization for the foreseeable future.

“Under Russian domination, Georgia might fall back into a mirror image of its 1990s past: a failed state and open air market for illicit trade. Racked by civil war and warlordism, it could be a fertile ground for radicalism,” the scholar states.

Michael Cecire further declares that the 2016 parliamentary elections could have a decisive role in Georgia’s western trajectory.

“With Russia looming on Georgia’s northern borders, and its forces garrisoning the Georgian separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a certain amount of pragmatism from Tbilisi is essential to ensure stability,” the publication says, adding, “but a pro-Russia drift in Georgia would threaten the country’s Western moorings, making it dominated by Russia by default.” Accordingly, for the West, losing Georgia doesn’t just strengthen Russia, but gives it a strategic connector state between Europe and Eurasia—and the meeting point of regional powers Russia, Turkey, Iran and Europe.


The strategic importance of Georgia is sufficiently clear for Georgian, European and American leaders, as the country has multifaceted potential in terms of alternative trade routes between Europe and Asia, Europe’s energy diversification and regional peace and stability. In fact, the ongoing tension in the Middle East and potential spread of terrorism throughout the Caucasus once again emphasizes Georgia’s nontrivial role in her checkered neighborhood.

Could the 2016 elections determine the fate of Georgian democracy and affect greater regional and international matters? Yes. As Cecire implies, the game is of greater importance than technically holding elections. In particular, the Russian information propaganda, the so-called Fifth Column (the ideologically pro-Russian part of society) and allegedly some direct involvement of the Russian special services in the process could give greater leverage to Putin’s government to push Georgia northwards.

Should the EU and the US increase their political and financial support toward Georgia? The answer could depend on their future strategy in this region. If not, the final aftermath of the process could be dire; by dire, one might mean that all the accomplishments Georgia - along with her strategic allies and friends, including the US and EU - has accomplished for the common good, will be seriously jeopardized.

Zviad Adzinbaia

28 January 2016 19:36