The East-West Black Sea/Caspian Sea Corridor in the Age of Uncertainty (On Wider Europe)

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Furthermore, in order to establish authority within the international community Georgia had begun focusing on its potential in terms of its geopolitical position. As was mentioned above, many social scientists argue that small states nowadays are in the zone of geopolitical interest of the Great Powers. The geographical position of a country, its political system and economic condition are essential determinants, which is why a country can use them for ensuring its own security and future prosperity.

Therefore, Georgia had begun deriving benefit from negotiating using its geographical location as it possesses essential energy resources routes. Nowadays, Georgia represents successful state-building and its geostrategic and geopolitical relevance has increased significantly during the last decades. The country has realised that it should find a special niche in order to survive in the international system of competing Great Powers.

The government has established a new concept of not only ensuring territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also finding a way for future prosperity.

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Georgia sees NATO membership as a solution to its problems and as an option to manoeuvre its foreign policy. Moreover, through using its beneficial geographical position, a small state like Georgia can establish and develop its strategic orientation. The strong desire to become a member of a Euro-Atlantic organisation will be discussed in the next chapter.

In April a small and not very much known former Soviet republic Georgia declared independence. The country had numerous domestic and international obstacles to overcome, faced serious issues of survival, important political, economic and security challenges and exceptionally difficult circumstances for development. A small and weak independent Georgia was an insecure and unstable country and struggled to establish foreign policy priorities and strategic orientation. Foreign policy was dominated by the following concerns: gain international recognition and support for its independence and territorial integrity; integration into alliances and international organisations; acquiring humanitarian aid and developing economic resources Herzig The most difficult political challenge that a newly independent Georgia faced was its inability to fully control the territory and resources Herzig Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first president of Georgia, did not have strong and real power to support his leadership and, hence, did not have political control over the territory, or the military and security forces.

He lacked the necessary connections with elites, strong administrative institutions and regional powers throughout the state Jones 4. The President and the Georgian authorities tried to gain recognition from the Great Powers, take a certain place in the international community and shift policy towards democratic security building. The country faced an urgent need to establish modern democratic institutions. However, Georgia has suffered two civil wars, which produced two unresolved conflict zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

After the war in South Ossetia and the activities of an increasingly powerful opposition Gamsakhurdia was overthrown in March and the foreign minister of the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze was invited to govern the country Wheatley From to Georgia was in economic and political crisis, suffered from ethnic conflicts and was unable to secure national interests and develop long-term political orientation.

Georgia was interested in integration into the international political, economic and financial institutions. It goes without saying that the memberships allowed Georgia to have a voice on the international stage Darchiashvili In Shevardnadze won presidential elections and began strengthening political institutions.

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The Constitution provided strong legislative and executive branches of government as well as a judicial one with a Supreme Court built on democratic principles. It was only an attempt to convince the population and international community of being democratic Wheatley The regime was ineffective, entangled in corruption and was unable to fulfill its main obligations. The government could not develop administrative institutions and stimulate economic growth, and its commitment to democratic change was not efficient Jones In other words, Georgia faced the major problems of a weak state Lanskoy and Areshidze Shevardnadze was forced by Russia to join the Commonwealth of Independent States CIS — an organisation whose member countries are former Soviet republics — and in Georgia finally became a member.

International observers state that being under constant pressure from Russia, Georgia was not able to ensure its national security priorities, develop sovereign foreign policy and achieve its own political goals. At the beginning of the 21st century Georgia was considered to be a failing democracy. The international relations of Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union could be characterised by complexity, volatility and vulnerability. To put it another way, there have been equally pronounced tendencies towards inefficiency, and the foreign policy of Georgia was determined by its dependence on Russia and inner weakness.

Until Georgia did not develop the national concept of security and strategic orientation. This resulted in the non-violent change of power — the Rose Revolution, which forced president Shevardnadze, accused of an authoritarian regime, to resign Jawad 1.

The Rose Revolution opened a new page in the history of Georgia and impacted the entire post-Soviet space Japaridze and Rondeli It enabled Georgia to develop democratic principles and carry out reforms in political, security, economic, financial and agricultural sectors. Thus, new prospects and horizons for the country emerged and a difficult path of democratic transition began Fairbanks Concrete reforms were undertaken in the political, security, economic, agricultural and educational sectors.

The government was actively and efficiently combatting corruption and within two years it was successfully eliminated Cornell and Nilsson The government was reforming the security sector, establishing the rule of law, facilitating economic growth and restoring central power. Changes were also made in the constitution and presidential power was significantly strengthened.

Since its independence, Georgia, undergoing painful transition period, has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russia and strengthen ties with Western countries. The government has chosen a clear-cut path towards NATO, which was seen as a solution to its sovereignty and security. Moreover, the paper notes that independence, democracy, rule of law, freedom, peace, prosperity and security are fundamental values of Georgia. The country sees the EU as a guarantor of political and economic stability and development, and NATO as a guarantor of the security of the state and its territorial integrity.

Thus, the Rose Revolution of November demonstrated striving for democracy and the principles and values of liberty, facilitated internal development and impacted stability and security of not only Georgia, but also post-Soviet space Asmus, Dimitrov and Forbig The new government formulated and implemented efficient policy, reformed state apparatus and was successful in combating corruption.

The Revolution began the process that extended international cooperation and integration into Georgia. As it was mentioned in the previous chapter, a small state often faces security dilemmas and can become an object of manipulation of the Great Powers. Being a victim of aggression by strong neighbours, a small state is vulnerable and dependent on the external environment. Therefore, due to uncertainty and the unpredictable dangers of a globalised world, a small state always looks for the support of international organisations.

Georgia is squeezed between the Great Powers and therefore needs to find clear and effective options to manoeuvre and develop pragmatic foreign policy. Georgia tries to ensure its security and sees the solution through NATO membership and states it as the main goal to achieve along with EU membership.

Georgia has always been striving for Europe and considering EU membership as a long-term goal. Since the Rose Revolution the government has tried to put the country on its feet politically and economically and on a track toward integration with the EU. The country has an extremely strong European identity and desires to unite with European structures. Kakachia 2 emphasises that the statement confirmed the aspiration of Georgians to integrate into Europe. A majority of the population sees the future in Europe, and public opinion, in general, is described as pro-European as they state that they historically and culturally belong to Europe Gogolashvili 91; Jones ; Muller Georgian researchers and academics perceive the country as a part of the European continent and confirm that it can develop and achieve stability only within an EU context Rinnert For Georgia the project has meant the advancement of legislation, norms and standards.

Moreover, priority areas were strengthening the rule of law, stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty Rinnert 8. Georgia is interested in the European way of development and is in the process of meeting dimensions of EU policy, which are: democracy and good governance; improvement of security and resolution of frozen conflicts; human rights and environmental protection; and trade and cross-border cooperation.

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In other words, the new government reformed governmental institutions, strengthened the state power, stimulated economic growth and developed infrastructure in order to integrate into European and international political, economic and security organisations. As a result, Georgia chose pro-Western orientation and presented itself as a transportation corridor for goods, people and energy, which has considerably encouraged and increased international investments. Moreover, the president and the Georgian authorities believe that cooperation with the EU will help to resolve conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and will be an essential stimulus for establishing mutually beneficial relations.

A crucial aspect for Georgia in formulating strategic and political orientation was the development of the Eurasian corridor, which would link Europe and the East, and which, in turn, would increase the chances of integrating into the Western sphere Jones Furthermore, western involvement is considered to be insurance and security against various conflicts.


It is widely accepted that the EU ensures stability and defuses tensions in Georgia and it plays an important role in resolving conflict issues in Abkhazia and South Ossetia Graham and Shaheen As far as NATO membership is concerned, it is viewed by Georgians as a chance of survival and preservation of independence German Moreover, Georgia supported the U. However, in , after the Georgian-Russian war, the membership road became even harder and members expressed deep concern over the armed conflict.

However, Georgia determined its foreign policy orientation and NATO supported the country in securing its territorial integrity and, consequently, the NATO-Georgia commission was established. Lomsadze emphasised that the road was still open to Georgia. It is generally agreed that membership will make Georgia stronger, secure and more democratic. However, the question arises whether striving for NATO membership could solve security issues of Georgia. According to Janeliunas and Kirvelyte , the case of Lithuania, which considered membership as the means for security and became a member of the EU and NATO in , proves that NATO can guarantee the preservation of national sovereignty. Both population and governmental elite had a positive outlook on the integration and the process led to an effective transformation of the state.

Similarly, to ensure its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Georgia has chosen the path towards NATO and has seen membership of it as the main priority of the country. Georgia has strong ties with the U. Washington is convinced of the democratic intentions of Georgia and provides direct assistance in various government sectors. At the beginning of the U. The document demonstrates strong U. Department of State It is interesting to note that after the break-up of the Soviet Union Georgia became the subject of immediate concern for the United States and it has become keen supporter of Georgia on the international stage.

Moreover, the U. After the parliamentary elections in October Saakashvili conceded defeat and the leader of the opposition bloc Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili, became the new Prime Minister of the country.

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The first ever constitutional, peaceful and democratic change of power between rival political forces was the subject of speculation for many academics and policy makers, but it was obvious that Georgia had entered a new political era. Ivanishvili has formed a new government and affirmed that Georgia will continue on the tough road to Western integration, pledged that he will strengthen democratisation and free market reforms and peacefully reintegrate Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Georgia US Congressional Research Service: 4.

The most interesting issue was the relations with Russia, and the new Prime Minister emphasised that the country would establish peaceful, non-hostile and diplomatic dialogue and improve relations with the northern neighbour The Guardian To sum up, since independence Georgia has been trying to ensure national security and guarantee territorial integrity.

After the demise of the Soviet Union Georgia faced poverty, economic decline, military conflicts and uncontrolled territories. However, after the Rose Revolution, Georgia underwent significant reforms and turned into a functioning democracy. The changes in domestic and foreign policy have been utterly notable. In other words, the country turned in the process of political and economic change, and it has been profoundly transformed and modified. Despite the fact that Georgia has undergone crucial changes in the security environment, its foreign policy has remained permanent.

Georgia continues to distance itself from Russia and is oriented on Western democratic principles. It remains a committed U. The demise of the USSR created new opportunities, and simultaneously new problems for small states.

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Surrounded by larger and stronger neighbours, small and weak newly independent states NIS were vulnerable to the foreign policies and strategies of neighbouring powers. In particular, Russia, which asserted its hegemony over the South Caucasus, was the dominant external power. Most of the former USSR countries wanted independence from Russia, but they faced difficult circumstances for development, lawlessness and crime. Since Georgia gained independence in , the country has been in the process of political and economic change, orienting policy towards the West.

The relations between a small state like Georgia and a great power, Russia, which is one of the key players in the global system, had undergone profound changes and were often critical and sometimes extremely tense. Georgia wanted to formulate and implement policy independently, while Russia wanted to control all ex-Soviet countries.

Russia has influenced internal developments in Georgia and its political and military presence has allowed Moscow to formulate a specific course of international relations. There have been a number of efforts to assess the difficult relations between Georgia and Russia, the results of the war in August and their impact on the international system. Russia has tried to play a dominant role in foreign policy orientations of former USSR countries. In particular, in since Vladimir Putin was elected president, Russia has put the emphasis on the strategic importance of the South Caucasus states US Congressional Research Service: However, visa requirements were not put on the inhabitants of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

After the Rose Revolution in Georgia openly announced its desire to pursue a Western-oriented foreign policy and its aspiration to join Western organisations, which resulted in worsening relations with Russia.