Georgia's future: between Euro-Atlantic aspirations and geopolitical realities

27 September 2012
Amanda Paul (Senior Policy Analyst) and Zaur Shiriyev (Senior Research Fellow, ADA University)

When Mikheil Saakashvili became Georgian president following the 2003 Rose Revolution, he inherited a broken country, plagued by numerous problems including corruption and organized crime, as well as having two protracted conflicts on its territory.  With Georgia being located in a particularly volatile and unpredictable region, Saakashvili believed the only way to guarantee Georgia’s long-term security, stability and prosperity was through Euro-Atlantic integration. 

Almost ten years on, Georgia as made considerable progress, including having received a membership perspective from NATO.  However, while impressive reforms and state-building have taken place, and Georgia has transformed itself from a failed state into a transitional country, it must be said that state-building is not democracy-building, and Georgia’s modernisation successes have not been equalled in democratisation. 

Today, Georgia has reached a crossroads in its transformation, with the 1 October 2012 parliamentary elections representing a litmus test for the country in terms of both its EU and NATO membership aspirations and in terms of tying Georgia’s ability to carry out free and fair elections, in accordance with international standards, to further integration. In this Policy Brief, Amanda Paul and Zaur Shiriyev analyse developments over the last decade, and look at the challenges that continue to face the country in terms of its Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations.

Georgia's future