The new Georgian government’s proposed legislation would dramatically decentralize power exercised by the center. Should this bill pass in a meaningful form, Georgian democracy and economic development might seriously benefit.
As the focus is all on Putin's effort to reshape his neighborhood this week, a Kazakh and a Belarusian silence is an awkward reminder that the Eurasian Union was supposed to be a collaborative project and that the more Putin grabs the headlines, the less that is the case.
Now that Saakashvili is finally history, the chances that Russia will soon take an active interest in Georgia are going up. This would concern the settlement of the main issue in Georgian-Russian relations—the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Ilham Aliyev is attempting modernization without wholesale political reform. Most of the veterans of the Azerbaijani elite remain in their jobs, including the elderly prime minister and presidential chief of staff. The skyline is changing in Baku, but so far the street-plan remains the same.
The experiment of a peaceful power transfer in Georgia, if successful, will determine more than just the country’s future. It will reveal the possible trajectory of other post-Soviet states that will attempt to move toward an open society.
Giorgi Margvelashvili, won the presidential election in Georgia with 62 percent of the vote. Second place and 22 percent went to former speaker of parliament, David Bakradze, of the United National Movement. That was quite a disastrous performance from a party which only one year ago was running the country.
Introducing visas and closing borders with Central Asian countries should not be the first steps in solving the problem of ethnic hatred in Russia. Instead, there should come a transformation of the entire Russian state, a regime change, and a resolution of the problem of the North Caucasus.
The coming presidential election in Georgia on October 27 will be straightforward and uninteresting. The post of president is being trimmed down and will lose most of its executive functions. And yet, the candidates are as if conspiring to give the poll a lot more drama than might have been expected a few weeks ago.