Point of View

Georgian drift. The crisis of Georgia's way westwards

Georgian drift

For several years Georgia has been experiencing processes which may be interpreted as symptoms of a deepening, multidimensional social and political crisis. Reforms have lost momentum, stagnation has set in, and in some areas the situation has begun to revert to the pre-revolution status (including rising crime levels). The Georgian political system has found itself in a serious crisis, while society has become increasingly frustrated and apathetic, mainly because people’s standards of living have been stagnating. This political and social malaise has been breeding Euro-scepticism and disenchantment with the West. A country that had been firmly navigating westwards, Georgia has now started drifting and slipping into malaise. This risks reversing what the country has achieved so far in the internal dimension, increasing instability and triggering a crisis in the pro-Western vector of Tbilisi’s foreign policy. While that may not necessarily mean a turn towards Russia, in the present situation it has been easier for Moscow to pursue its own interests in the region. Should Tbilisi’s pro-Western course become reversed or permanently stagnant, that would entail grave consequences for the country itself and beyond. It would be a defeat for the West and would undermine the European aspirations of countries like Ukraine or Moldova.