Tuesday, 04 October 2016 00:00

Under the Radar: Georgia’s October 2016 Elections Featured

By Svante E. Cornell, Per Eklund, Mamuka Tsereteli

October 2016, pp. 21

Read full text1610geo-slide


1610geo-smallExecutive Summary

• Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 8, 2016, which will be key to deciding the country’s future development and its strategic trajectory.
• Economic problems, especially unemployment and prices, dominate the minds of the Georgian electorate. A large majority thinks the country is headed the wrong direction.
• The Georgian Dream government has lost the support it had four years ago; yet the electorate appears to lay equal if not more blame for Georgia’s problems on the predecessor UNM government. 
• Palpable anger and frustration is visible in surveys, where practically all political figures have negative approval ratings.
• This makes the election an opportunity for “third” parties and new political forces, if they are given the space to take advantage. These range from reliably pro-Western forces like the Free Democrats; to populists like the Labor party; unknown quantities like the State for People alliance; and outright anti-Western ones like the Alliance of Patriots.
• The pro-Western political forces are internally troubled and those outside government face growing intimidation, reducing their effectiveness. They remain in considerable need of support to maintain a focus on Georgia’s longer term European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
• There is great uncertainty regarding the composition of the next parliament. This uncertainty is likely to continue up until the election, and perhaps beyond October 8, until the runoff in the majoritarian districts. 
• The U.S. and Europe are paying scant attention to Georgian politics and its October elections. This stands in great contrast to the past decade, when Western decision-makers observed developments in Georgia closely. The Georgian population, meanwhile, is increasingly disillusioned about the deliverables of its Western orientation.
• This election could be decisive for Georgia’s future path, and for the development of the broader region. Georgia’s trajectory matters greatly to U.S. national security interests, and to the viability of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. It is time for Western governments to do more to encourage continued reform, pay attention to Georgia’s security concerns, and inject momentum for the country’s European orientation.
Read 20106 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 21:45





  • Read CACI Chairman S. Frederick Starr's recent interview on the resurgence of Imperial Russia with The American Purpose
    Tuesday, 23 May 2023 00:00

    Why Russians Support the War: Jeffrey Gedmin interviews S. Frederick Starr on the resurgence of Imperial Russia.

    The American Purpose, May 23, 2023

    Jeffrey Gedmin: Do we have a Putin problem or a Russia problem today?

    S. Frederick Starr: We have a Putin problem because we have a Russia problem. Bluntly, the mass of Russians are passive and easily manipulated—down to the moment they aren’t. Two decades ago they made a deal with Vladimir Putin, as they have done with many of his predecessors: You give us a basic income, prospects for a better future, and a country we can take pride in, and we will give you a free hand. This is the same formula for autocracy that prevailed in Soviet times, and, before that, under the czars. The difference is that this time Russia’s leader—Putin—and his entourage have adopted a bizarre and dangerous ideology, “Eurasianism,” that empowers them to expand Russian power at will over the entire former territory of the USSR and even beyond. It is a grand and awful vision that puffs up ruler and ruled alike.

    What do most Russians think of this deal? It leaves them bereft of the normal rights of citizenship but free from its day-to-day responsibilities. So instead of debating, voting, and demonstrating, Russians store up their frustrations and then release them in elemental, often destructive, and usually futile acts of rebellion. This “Russia problem” leaves the prospect of change in Russia today in the hands of alienated members of Putin’s immediate entourage, many of whom share his vision of Russia’s destiny and are anyway subject to Putin’s ample levers for control. Thus, our “Putin problem” arises from our “Russia problem.”

    Click to continue reading...

  • CACI director Svante Cornell's interviewed on the 'John Batchelor Show' podcast regarding Turkey's 2023 presidential election
    Friday, 19 May 2023 00:00

    Listen to CACI director Svante Cornell's recent interview on the 'John Batchelor Show' podcast regarding Turkey's 2023 presidential election. Click here!

  • New Article Series on Changing Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Wednesday, 24 November 2021 11:53


  • CACI Initiative on Religion and the Secular State in Central Asia and the Caucasus
    Sunday, 24 January 2021 13:53

    In 2016, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program launched an initiative on documenting the interrelationship of religion and the secular state in the region. This initiative departed from the fact that little systematic reserch had been undertaken on the subject thus far. While there was and remains much commentary and criticism of religious policy in the region, there was no comprehensive analysis available on the interrelationship of religion and the state in any regional state, let alone the region as a whole. The result of this initiative has been the publication of six Silk Road Papers studying the matter in regional states, with more to come. In addition, work is ongoing on a volume putting the regional situation in the context of the Muslim world as a whole.


    Case Studies

    Each study below can be freely downloaded in PDF format.


    Azerbaijan's Formula: Secular Governance and Civil Nationhood
    By Svante E. Cornell, Halil Karaveli, and Boris Ajeganov
    November 2016   

    2018-04-Kazakhstan-SecularismReligion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan
    By Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr and Julian Tucker
    April 2018




    1806-UZ-coverReligion and the Secular State in Uzbekistan
    Svante E. Cornell and Jacob Zenn
    June 2018




    2006-Engvall-coverReligion and the Secular State in Kyrgyzstan
    Johan Engvall
    June 2020

     Event video online


    2006-Clement-coverReligion and the Secular State in Turkmenistan
    Victoria Clement
    June 2020

    Event video online




    Articles and Analyses

    Svante E. Cornell, "Religion and the State in Central Asia," in Ilan Berman, ed., Wars of Ideas: Theology, Interpretation and Power in the Muslim World, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

    Svante E. Cornell, "Central Asia: Where Did Islamic Radicalization Go?" in Religion, Conflict and Stability in the Former Soviet Union, eds. Katya Migacheva and Bryan Frederick, Arlington, VA: RAND Corporation, 2018.