Georgia: Another Russian Front
30 November 2023
The end of 2023 is due to mark a turning point in Georgian history. In December, the European Council will decide whether to award the country European Union (EU) candidate status. Georgia: Another Russian Front Download 0.92 Mo For the majority of Georgia’s 3.7 million citizens, this decision is extremely important, as 81 percent of them say that they want their country to join the EU. However, the government and the ruling party Georgian Dream, under the informal control of the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, have consistently acted contrary to this deeply rooted popular desire since coming to power, taking a foreign policy approach, at least since 2021, that has undermined relationships with Western partners and brought the ex-Soviet republic back into Russia’s sphere of influence. After twenty years of pro-European policy, this divergence between Georgia’s rulers and its population has provoked a succession of political crises in the country over the last few years. Moscow is supporting this dramatic shift in Tbilisi’s strategic orientation, and may even have initiated it. Numerous indicators show that in practice Russia, which waged war against Georgia in 2008, continues to regard its neighbor as another battlefield in its confrontation with the West. These developments in Georgian politics presage the emergence of major political and geopolitical tensions. Régis Genté has been a journalist and specialist in the former Soviet bloc since 2002, and is based in Tbilisi (Georgia).