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.
Georgian wines survived by luring the Soviets into loving them, and that in turn allowed ancient traditions to survive an empire determined to eradicate everything precious and old.
Georgia’s ancient wine industry has transformed from a low quality, single market provider to a diverse, sophisticated, increasingly international supplier of respected vintages — all because of a 2006 Russian embargo.
Military occupation of one’s territory is an enormous impediment to liberalization, breeding its own special obstacles and changes in government and civil society that make free markets and free people less likely.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is being challenged to demonstrate that his government can be friends with both Europe and Russia. The charge that the new government is moving the country eastward is a frequent claim with few specifics behind it.
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.
The 1990s sensation — now down to a trio from their glory days as a quartet — will be jetting to Moscow for some magic, some music, and, just perhaps, some baby-making. Somehow, this makes sense in the Kremlin.
Political cooperation would create a better climate for further reform and, equally important, to attract new foreign investment. If Georgia succeeds it has, suggested ICG, an opportunity “to serve proudly as a true development model for the region.”