Latest Articles

    09/11/2022 - 15:19

    Dispatch | November 2-8: Period Drama

    Yes, we are guilty of using the phrase “political circus” way too often when it comes to Georgian politics. But…
    05/11/2022 - 13:47

    Opinion | Polarization Pays

    Lika Chkhetiani studies Political Science at Central European University Georgia suffers from intense political polarization – this has become a common…
    02/11/2022 - 03:10

    Dispatch | October 20 – November 1

    Georgia’s political life continued with further narrowing down of the political space for democratic debate. As the notorious judges get…
    30/10/2022 - 13:24

    The Folly of an Anti-Imperialist Empire

    Fabio Belafatti, University of Groningen / Vilnius University A few days after Vladimir Putin gave his famous speech announcing the…
    21/10/2022 - 09:52

    Explainer | What was Georgia’s Stance on PACE’s Russia Resolution?

    On 13 October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution titled “Further escalation in the…
    19/10/2022 - 16:37

    Dispatch | October 12-19: Crime and Punishment

    The past week turned out to be about crimes and the responsibility for them, both domestically and internationally. A tragedy…
    12/10/2022 - 19:23

    Interview | Richard Youngs: Democratic Quality of States is Diminishing

    “Most democratic backsliding today is not about coups and the army seizing power in a very dramatic way. It is…
    12/10/2022 - 07:07

    Dispatch | October 6-11: Walk of Shame

    Yes, democratic politics are sometimes messy – we know the system is designed for the circus to never leave the…
    10/10/2022 - 21:14

    Interview | John A. Pennel, USAID Mission Director

    John A. Pennell arrived in Tbilisi not so long ago and is directing the USAID/Caucasus Mission. He is a career…
    10/10/2022 - 17:23

    Civil Society Weighs in on Public Defender Selection Process

    What’s happening? The Parliament has publicized the list of candidates who applied to become the country’s next Public Defender, the…
      30/10/2022 - 13:24

      The Folly of an Anti-Imperialist Empire

      Fabio Belafatti, University of Groningen / Vilnius University A few days after Vladimir Putin gave his famous speech announcing the annexation of the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia, with all its mind-boggling references to Satanism, not-so-veiled nuclear threats, half-chewed Neo-Eurasianist dog-whistling, I…
      21/10/2022 - 09:52

      Explainer | What was Georgia’s Stance on PACE’s Russia Resolution?

      On 13 October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution titled “Further escalation in the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine” which condemned the fresh annexation of the Ukrainian regions by Moscow and declared the Russian regime “a terrorist one”. At…
      10/10/2022 - 17:23

      Civil Society Weighs in on Public Defender Selection Process

      What’s happening? The Parliament has publicized the list of candidates who applied to become the country’s next Public Defender, the head of the country’s main human rights watchdog. Why is it important? The term in office of the current Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria, expires on…
      05/10/2022 - 20:50

      Explainer | Ukraine’s Anti-Oligarch Law

      The Georgian Dream said it drafted the law aimed at reducing the undue influence on politics and clarified that it essentially copies the law adopted in Ukraine on September 23, 2021. We have looked at Ukraine’s law and summarized its key provisions. What is the…
      29/09/2022 - 12:21

      Outrage at Lukashenka’s Visit to Abkhazia

      Belarussian leader Aleksandr Lukashenka’s visit to occupied Abkhazia on 28 September has been met by widespread outrage and condemnation from members of the public, Georgian leaders, opposition parties, and the international community, Belarussian opposition leaders among them. What’s Happening? Criticism emerged and soon multiplied after…
      27/09/2022 - 17:21

      Review | Confusion in Tbilisi as thousands of Russians Try to Enter Georgia

      After Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilization on September 21, reports of long queues of people trying to enter Georgia through the Russo-Georgian Larsi border checkpoint hit the national and international wires. Concern, mixed with confusion reigned in the capital, Tbilisi, about…
      20/09/2022 - 18:33

      Explainer | Reports of Massive Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition Parties

      TV shows leaked files documenting massive government surveillance of the opposition.
      19/09/2022 - 15:07

      Brief | Ruling Party Contests Civic Space

      What is happening? The ruling “Georgian Dream” doubled down on contesting the credibility of Georgia’s established CSO watchdogs. The radical fringe of the parliamentary majority is driving the conspiracy narrative about CSOs serving as destructive “foreign agents”. Driving the news: On 13 September chairperson of…
      17/09/2022 - 20:51

      Explainer | Watchdogs Alert Against Changes to the Broadcasting Law

      On 7 September, the ruling party deputies proposed changes to the Laws on Broadcasting and Electronic Communications. If adopted, they would expand the scope of Georgian National Communication Commission’s (GNCC) oversight. While the officials cite the need to align Georgia’s legislation with the EU’s Audiovisual…
      13/09/2022 - 20:21

      Explainer | Whistleblower Alleges Security Services Collaboration with FSB

      On 12 September, the opposition Lelo for Georgia party called for creating a special Parliamentary Investigative commission to study the allegations of illicit contacts between of the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2016-2017. Why this matters:…
      25/08/2022 - 17:17

      ‘Violating Neutrality’ or ‘Attempts to Discredit’: ISFED Responds to Ruling Party Accusations

      On 18 August, the ruling Georgian Dream party decided not to invite one of Georgia’s most influential civil society organizations working on election issues, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), to the first meeting of the electoral reforms working group created to…
      06/08/2022 - 14:37

      Calls Increase for Visa Requirements for Russians

      On 3 August a petition to enforce visa requirements for Russian and Belarussian citizens emerged in Georgia, which at this time (August 8, 15:00) has been signed by more than 19,000 Georgian citizens. Georgia abolished visa requirements for Russians in 2012, although the latter kept…
        12/10/2022 - 19:23

        Interview | Richard Youngs: Democratic Quality of States is Diminishing

        “Most democratic backsliding today is not about coups and the army seizing power in a very dramatic way. It is democratically elected governments gradually taking the oxygen out of opposition and barring the avenues for democratic checks and balances,” tells Richard Youngs, a senior fellow…
        10/10/2022 - 21:14

        Interview | John A. Pennel, USAID Mission Director

        John A. Pennell arrived in Tbilisi not so long ago and is directing the USAID/Caucasus Mission. He is a career diplomat and served as the Mission Director for USAID/Libya from 2019 to 2022, as well as USAID’s Deputy Mission Director for Ukraine and Belarus in…
        09/10/2022 - 13:53

        Interview | Dr. Claire P. Kaiser: Nuance is Necessary for Understanding Georgia in the Soviet period

        Stalin is controversial in Georgia, Dr. Claire Kaiser speaks about the ways he influenced Georgia in Soviet period.
        06/10/2022 - 13:11

        Interview | Rallying Global South: How did Georgia do it?

        As the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly unfolded, the Western leaders tried to rally the global South to Ukraine’s cause. The Presidents of France and the United States have notably addressed this matter head-on in their statements. The international media reported on this…
        26/09/2022 - 22:55

        Interview | EU Media Freedom Act: New Approach to Media Regulations?

        On 16 September, the European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová and the European Commissioner in charge of Internal Market Thierry Breton have introduced the European Commission’s proposal on the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) . The new proposal, if adopted, will significantly reduce…
        15/09/2022 - 22:43

        Attack on CSOs | Nika Simonishvili, GYLA: Those who know our work, won’t fall for government’s lies

        Top officials from the ruling “Georgian Dream” party have recently stepped up the campaign of accusations against Georgia’s leading civil society organizations. Civil.ge asked the executives of several of those CSOs to comment. We spoke to Nika Simonishvili, who is serving as the Chairperson of the Georgian…
        15/09/2022 - 17:20

        Attack on CSOs | Eka Gigauri, Transparency International Georgia: “This is admission of their weakness”

        Top officials from the ruling “Georgian Dream” party have recently stepped up the campaign of accusations against Georgia’s leading civil society organizations. Civil.ge asked the executives of several of those CSOs, that were directly targeted by the attacks, for their comments. We spoke to Eka…
        15/09/2022 - 12:59

        Commentary | Significance of President Ursula von der Leyen’s Speech

        Civil.ge asked Judy Dempsey, a nonresident senior fellow at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of Strategic Europe, about the implications of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s 2022 State of the Union Speech both for the Eastern Partnership region and the world at…
        15/09/2022 - 10:55

        Q&A | EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso

        On the eve of her visit to Georgia, Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), granted this interview to Civil.ge, discussing the key efforts of the Bank to support Georgia’s development. Your annual report says EBRD has invested €4.3 billion…
        25/08/2022 - 17:17

        ‘Violating Neutrality’ or ‘Attempts to Discredit’: ISFED Responds to Ruling Party Accusations

        On 18 August, the ruling Georgian Dream party decided not to invite one of Georgia’s most influential civil society organizations working on election issues, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), to the first meeting of the electoral reforms working group created to…
        01/07/2022 - 19:48

        Interview | Damon Wilson, President of the National Endowment for Democracy

        In Tbilisi today, Civil Georgia’s Editor-in-Chief Otar Kobakhidze sat down with Damon Wilson, the President, and CEO of the National Endowment for Democracy to discuss Georgia’s EU and NATO integration, the role of civil society and independent media for the Georgian democracy, as well as…
        16/05/2022 - 15:56

        Interview | Head of EUMM Georgia Talks Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

        Ambassador Szczygieł, we are speaking today as Russia continues its full-scale attack on Ukraine for more than two months, which has brought seismic shifts to the entire region. In light of this war, what is the security environment on the ground across both Abkhazia and…

        Features

          04/08/2022 - 17:18

          In Stalin’s Growing Shadow

          The mood was solemn on 30 July at a dilapidated house in central Tbilisi, as speaker after speaker from Soviet…
          24/05/2022 - 12:00

          Taming the Garden: You Haven’t Seen It All

          Nini Gabritchidze was the author of The Dispatch. She is now a freelance journalist. Lately, Georgians have been rushing to…
          24/07/2021 - 13:43

          Redjeb Jordania Obituary

          Redjeb Jordania died on July 15, 2021, almost 100 years after his birth in the French town of Vanves in…
          16/11/2019 - 00:12

          In Photos: Civil.ge Joins EUMM Patrol, Visits Occupation Line

          On Wednesday, November 13, together with his colleagues, Civil.ge’s Otar Kobakhidze joined the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) patrols to…
          26/03/2018 - 13:11

          Reclaiming Georgia’s Feminist Heritage

          The sun and colors of early Tbilisi spring in the air, a colorful group gathers at the stairs of the…
          10/07/2017 - 14:13

          Women affected by Abkhazia’s abortion ban

          A year and a half after Abkhazia banned abortion, reportedly to increase the number of births, reports of women’s deaths…
            09/11/2022 - 15:19

            Dispatch | November 2-8: Period Drama

            Yes, we are guilty of using the phrase “political circus” way too often when it comes to Georgian politics. But then again – we now have a high-profile follower: Tea Tsulukiani once the servant to…
            02/11/2022 - 03:10

            Dispatch | October 20 – November 1

            Georgia’s political life continued with further narrowing down of the political space for democratic debate. As the notorious judges get at the helm of the top judiciary body, and the Public Defender’s parliamentary hearings degenerate…
            19/10/2022 - 16:37

            Dispatch | October 12-19: Crime and Punishment

            The past week turned out to be about crimes and the responsibility for them, both domestically and internationally. A tragedy may be the trigger for society to consider its sense of justice, adjust its mores,…
            12/10/2022 - 07:07

            Dispatch | October 6-11: Walk of Shame

            Yes, democratic politics are sometimes messy – we know the system is designed for the circus to never leave the town. Yet, you would agree, that the boundary between the shambolic and the shameful is…
            05/10/2022 - 13:12

            Dispatch | September 29-October 5: Reloading…

            There are times when the denial of reality is catching up even with politicians. For a while now, one is overcome with a tingling sensation that change is afoot, that the absurdity of what passes…
            28/09/2022 - 16:35

            Dispatch | September 22-28: The Russians are Coming!

            We do live in momentous times. And perhaps as always in such times, the sense of normal, everyday logic is the first casualty. Georgia has been living behind the looking glass for a while now,…

            Op-ed

              05/11/2022 - 13:47

              Opinion | Polarization Pays

              Lika Chkhetiani studies Political Science at Central European University Georgia suffers from intense political polarization – this has become a common political talking point domestically and internationally. Polarization is blamed for protracted political crises, the deterioration of democracy, and inefficient public institutions. Not surprisingly, depolarization is…
              17/06/2022 - 11:53

              Opinion | Georgia’s Yanukovich Moment

              Author: Ted Jonas is an international lawyer and environmental activist who has lived in Georgia for many years. Georgia is having a Yanukovich moment. That time when the government of Ukraine in 2013-2014 got orders from Moscow to drop the EU association process. The government…
              26/05/2022 - 10:59

              EU Should Not Heed the Calls to Differentiate Associated Trio’s Applications

              Irakli Sirbiladze is a Foreign Affairs analyst, holding an MA degree in International Relations from Queen Mary University of London. His wider research interests include International Relations Theory, Georgian Foreign Policy and Russian Foreign Policy. As Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – three Associated Trio nations…
              22/05/2022 - 14:09

              Op-ed | Refeudalization rather than Polarization

              Hans Gutbrod is a long-time analyst of Georgia and the Caucasus. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is on Twitter at @HansGutbrod. With the jailing of Nika Gvaramia, we should bury once and for all the term…
              28/03/2022 - 17:47

              Putin’s Playbook in Ukraine Is a Century Old

              Largely ignored in the discussion of Russia’s strategy in its war on Ukraine is the story of what may have been the first successful conquest of a foreign country by the Soviet Union.  Vladimir Putin, who is obsessed with history, is certainly familiar with this…
              18/02/2022 - 19:24

              Where Abkhaz Students (Can’t) Study?

              Author: Giorgi Kanashvili, peace and conflict specialist I have been part of Georgian-Abkhaz dialogue for fifteen years now. One of the topics the Abkhaz constantly raise is about Tbilisi isolating Abkhazia from the West, and pushing them to look for alternatives. In this region, one…
              02/02/2022 - 20:05

              Op-Ed | Local Governance Reform Can Strengthen Georgian Democracy from the Ground Up

              By Peter Wiebler, USAID/Georgia Mission Director Last year’s local elections were held under difficult circumstances, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic and a tense environment before and during election day. Despite these factors, voter turnout was 52%, significantly higher than in the previous local elections. This…
              30/11/2021 - 18:03

              Farewell | 4 Years of Representing NATO in Georgia

              Author: Rosaria Puglisi, the Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia It’s time to pack my bags and say my good-byes. After four memorable years, my term as the Head of the NATO Liaison Office (NLO) in Georgia is coming to an end. During…
              21/11/2021 - 10:00

              Op-Ed | Georgian Dream Deliberately Frustrates Western Friends

              By Jelger Groeneveld, Dutch D66 party, Board Member International Cooperation Division Friday would have marked the 50th day of Mikheil Saakashvili’s hunger strike in state captivity, amidst mounting concerns of his health condition and refusal of government authorities to transfer the former president to a…
              01/09/2021 - 16:09

              Perilous Choice: Georgia’s COVID Elections

              Laura Thornton is director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. Previously, she was director of global programs at International IDEA, a Stockholm-based intergovernmental think-tank with the mission to advance democracy. She has also led the National Democratic…
              25/07/2021 - 21:40

              Tribune |”Sack me if you can!”

              Zaal Andronikashvili, Ilia State University/Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research. This article first appeared (in Georgian) on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Georgian service page. It has been insignificantly adapted by Civil.ge for an English-language audience. “Sack me, if you can!” gloated Vice Premier…
              24/07/2021 - 12:24

              Tribune | Wide Coalition Needed to Defend Democracy

              Levan Tsutskiridze is Executive Director of the Eastern European Center for Multi-party Democracy (EECMD) Georgia has witnessed unbelievable violence during the first week of July. The homophobic mob, egged on by the religious extremists that are entrenched in the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchy and encouraged by…

              Archives

                31/12/2021 - 14:21

                2021 in Georgia: Year in Review

                In Georgia, 2021 was a tumultuous year of continued and new crises, but also a year of attempted solutions, many…
                31/12/2020 - 21:02

                2020 in Georgia: Year in Review

                To say that 2020 was an eventful year is an understatement. Like every other nation on the planet, Georgia has…
                31/12/2019 - 15:12

                2019: The Year in Review

                2019 has been a year of political and security tribulations. No tangible progress has been reached on occupied territories as…

                Photo Stories

                  03/07/2022 - 22:54

                  Photo-story | Rally at the Parliament, Moves to GD Office

                  Crowds started to gather, as the activists and opposition geared for their third reunion, calling for quicker accession to the…
                  21/06/2022 - 13:23

                  In Photos | Massive Pro-EU Rally in Tbilisi

                  On June 20, tens of thousands of Georgians have rallied on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, to support Georgia’s accession…
                  26/05/2022 - 16:45

                  In Photos: Independence Day Celebration in Tbilisi

                  Thousands of Georgians have flocked to Freedom Square and adjacent Rustaveli Avenue in downtown Tbilisi for Independence Day celebrations, to…
                  24/05/2022 - 23:57

                  In Photos: Georgians Supporting Ukraine

                  Three months into Russia’s bloody war in Ukraine, ordinary Georgians all across the country continue hanging Ukrainian flags and colors…
                  24/03/2022 - 11:14

                  In Photos | Georgians Attend Grim Homecoming for Fighters Killed in Ukraine

                  Dozens have waved Georgian and Ukrainian national flags and lit candles as flag-draped cases carrying remains of Gia Beriashvili and…
                  02/03/2022 - 04:17

                  In Photos: Sixth Day of Tbilisi For Ukraine

                  Tbilisites hit the streets again on March 1 to support Ukraine, with many protesters also expressing dismay about the Georgian…
                  27/02/2022 - 03:15

                  In Photos: Third Day of Tbilisi for Ukraine

                  On February 26, Tbilisites hit the streets to express solidarity to Ukraine as Ukrainian troops are fighting Russian advance on…
                  26/02/2022 - 04:06

                  In Photos: Thousands Rally for Ukraine, Against Garibashvili in Tbilisi

                  On February 25, thousands have hit the streets in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia for the second day to show…

                  Videos

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                  1

                  Interview with John A Pennell, USAID/Caucasus Mission Director

                  16:04
                  2

                  Interview with Damon Wilson (NED) 1 July 2022 ENG SUBS

                  19:34

                  In Focus

                  Closing Civil Space

                  Public Defender Elections

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