Georgia’s European Integration, Ethnic Minorities, and Russian Propaganda

by Levan Kakhishvili

Support for the European Union in Georgia is surprisingly high. When Georgia was granted a visa-free travel to the Schengen area, former British Ambassador to Georgia Alexandra Hall Hall wrote: “While this [visa-free travel] is a landmark achievement for Georgia, counterintuitively, in some respects it is a bigger deal for the EU.” The logic behind this statement is that against the background of Brexit, Georgia celebrating a “small step” on its path to Europeanization is a heartening sign that “the post-Cold War ideal of a Europe ‘whole, free, and at peace’” was still alive.

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POLICY BRIEFING: Democracy Promotion in Eurasia — A Dialogue

By Licinia Simão

Democracy promotion in the countries of the former Soviet Union is now a well-established policy in many Western institutions. …

[Download the Policy Brief (PDF)]

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Azerbaijan’s New Law on Status of Armed Forces: Changes and Implications

by Zaur Shiriyev

A draft law on the “Status of the Armed Forces” was introduced by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense, Security and Anti-Corruption in mid-November, and on 1 December it was heard by Parliament. The amendments were adopted upon a second hearing with a majority vote on 15 December. The issue was first on the agenda back in 2012 and 2013, when it was announced that the Parliament Committee on Defense, Security and Anti-Corruption would introduce a new law on the Status of Armed Forces and Other Armed Units. However, clearly, the law only happened recently.

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The Elections and Kyrgyz-Kazakh Complications

By Shairbek Juraev

Can an exercise of democratic elections jeopardize a nation’s foreign relations? Not necessarily, but when combined with the non-democratic exercise of foreign policy, it probably can. The 2017 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan, much praised as a rare case of peaceful power transfer from one elected leader to another in Central Asia, has also gained prominence for its major foreign policy implications.

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What Dreams May Come for Those that Dream of Europe

By Yaroslava Babych

If four years ago, someone suggested that a relatively small student protest camp in Ukraine, violently dispersed overnight by police , would have a profound influence on European history, many would simply laugh at the thought. For many years, EU policymakers have been walking a tightrope between integrating neighboring countries into its institutional orbit and keeping said neighbors at arm’s length, making sure that these countries do not actually “become” Europe in the full sense of the word.

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The Ballad of Misha and Petro

By Lincoln Mitchell

The latest verse in the ballad of Misha and Petro may be the strangest one yet. The former Georgian President, Misha Saakashvili, and current Ukrainian President, Petro Poroschenko, were friends from their student days. When Poroschenko was first elected President of Ukraine in 2014, it was seen as logical that he appointed Saakashvili first as a senior advisor and then later governor of Odessa.

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EVENT: Youth Perspectives on Democracy Promotion in Eurasia

Licinia Simão, an Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and an EDSN Fellow, is hosting an interesting event at the University of Coimbra in the framework of the the EDSN project.

The event, Youth Perspectives on Democracy Promotion in Eurasia, will feature a moderated dialogue among and between international relations students at Coimbra with the participation of Georgian Ambassador to Portgual Revaz Beshidze.

This round table brings together the perspectives of young European students and the Georgian Ambassador in Portugal, on the the policies of democracy promotion in Eurasia, since the end of the Soviet Union. Topics including current EU policies towards the region, the role of Russia and the United States, as well as the permanence of separatist conflicts and the ongoing wars of information, among others, are addressed in the discussion. The purpose is to assess the achievements of past and current policies and identify new paths towards the development of cooperative and responsible regional relations.

The event is scheduled for 05 December at the University of Coimbra. The discussion will provide an interesting forum for candid discussions of democracy promotion in Eurasia, including considerations of Euro-Atlantic integration as well as key security, political, and economic dynamics in the region.