Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, the South Caucasus countries can no longer be considered “in transition,” but questions remain about how well they are faring compared to the democratic countries of the European Union or the rising economies of Asia.
Told in eight parts, Eight Pieces of Empire follows the USSR’s disintegration and its aftermath through two decades of the author’s own reporting from the region.
More than three years after the August 2008 conflict over South Ossetia, the situation in the region remains deadlocked. However, some people-to-people contacts have resumed.
Georgia is entering a critical period of political transition in 2012 and 2013, as the country faces fundamental choices about its strategic direction and long-term development model.
The August 2008 war resulted in Russia’s recognition of the sovereignty of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the deterioration of both regions’ relationship with Tbilisi. Now, reconciliation with the divided communities is one of the main priorities for the Georgian government.
Despite democratic reforms, a volatile political environment and an unsustainable economy continue to threaten Georgia's stability.
Located in an important economic and transport corridor, the countries of the South Caucasus are grappling with the challenges of post-Soviet independence, internal and external tensions, and unresolved conflicts in three breakaway territories.
Through business connections, Georgia and Abkhazia can discover opportunities for mutually beneficial engagement that could improve socio-economic conditions in Abkhazia, build confidence on both sides, and eventually help resolve the conflict there.
Following the 2008 war, the United States has struggled to redefine its relationship with Georgia. Questions remain concerning the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the remaining democratic weaknesses in the Georgian government.
Abkhazia has become increasingly dependent on Russia for security, military, and economic investments ever since Moscow recognized Abkhazia’s independence in August 2008.
Grigol Vashadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, discussed the United States–Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership and the security environment in the Caucasus.
Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, discussed the outlook for Russian–U.S. relations, including the prospects for “resetting” the relationship.
Georgia’s nearly decade-long reforms and central geographical location between Europe and Asia make the country a valuable business and strategic partner for the West.
The United States must recognize that former Soviet states are and will continue to be an important focus of Russia’s foreign policy, and should take a broader regional view to its relationships with countries in Russia's sphere of influence.
H.E. Nino Burjanadze, former speaker of the Georgian parliament, warned that the current Russian show of force was more about Russia’s attempt to establish a new regional order rather than support the independence efforts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
On April 12, 2007, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a meeting entitled "Developments in the South Caucasus and Caspian: A Georgian Perspective" with The Honorable Zurab Nogaideli, Prime Minister of Georgia. Mark Medish, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment, chaired the discussion. A summary of his remarks are provided below.
Carnegie hosted a meeting with Bruce Jackson, Project on Transitional Democracies; Charles King, Georgetown University; and Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow Center.
Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili reviewed the accomplishments of President Mikhail Saakashvili's government and outlined its program for 2006.
A discussion meeting with the Honorable Nino Burjanadze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, regarding the current state of post-revolutionary reforms in Georgia.
The Carnegie Endowment hosted a panel discussion to discuss the implications of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation on political stability in Georgia, as well as neighboring countries, and on Georgia's foreign policy.
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