Georgia is now indisputably tilted more toward Moscow than it has ever been. It continues to claim a European future, but its dominant political class is coming to see the value of Moscow not merely as a trading and foreign policy partner, but as a governing model.
Five years on, Moscow continues its program of destabilization; only the administration in Tbilisi appears to be less resistant.
As long as Georgia’s leadership is more concerned with settling scores than governing, Georgia’s decade of democratic progress is in jeopardy.
Holding officials accountable for abusing their positions is critical; nevertheless, democracy will be forever unstable and insecure if the victors use their newly acquired powers to prosecute (or persecute) their opponents.
The overall message here is that Tbilisi is keenly aware of Western media. Let us hope that they continue to perceive this pressure and return Georgia to a more normal democratic path — away from Russia.
Georgia’s political development will be smoother if the two leaders reach a modus vivendi in which a vigorous opposition is able to operate freely, irrespective of the party in power. The people of Georgia deserve no less.
This new investigation is sure to raise more questions about Ivanishvili’s commitment to the democratic progress Georgia made under his predecessor.
Ironically, improved ties with Moscow are Tbilisi’s only chance of entering NATO. Despite the alliance’s formal welcome mat, there is little enthusiasm for courting conflict with Russia.
There is a reasonable middle ground for an agreement here, but as yet, both sides seem unwilling to be the first to give ground. Georgia stands on the precipice of a political crisis. Right now neither of its leaders has the courage to step back.
Democratic governance – as the Western-educated Saakashvili should understand and the Russian-groomed Ivanishvili must accept – requires compromise.