Diversity, Conflict, and State Failure:
Chances and Challenges for Democratic Consolidation in Georgia
after the “Rose Revolution”
By Pamela Jawad
The existence of two ‘frozen conflicts’ represents a serious obstacle to the ongoing processesof state- and nation-building. Although it can be argued that a country cannot be democratizedprior to the conclusion of such processes (see section 2.1), such an argument would justifyany kind of setback in the transition towards consolidated democracy. Indeed, Tbilisi seems tocompensate for the existence of the separatist territories with the expansion of presidentialpowers. But stability is not equal to strong ‘stateness’ in the sense of demonstrating executivestrength. In fact, there should be a balance between the different bodies of government, betweendifferent interests, between center and periphery through the creation of stable institutions ofchecks and balances, by building up strength in the sense of capacity in order to create a morestable power base and to extend state authority to the periphery. The latter is most likely to beachieved by a decentralization strategy. After all, the unfinished processes of state- and nation35building are not Georgia’s main constraints to further democratic consolidation. The more pressingproblems concern bad governance and the mismanagement of state capacities. Moreover, itcould be argued that promoting democracy contributes to nation-building. Participation, a coreelement of democratic rule, would be a good example in this regard. In order to build up acommon identity, equal rights to participate in national political life ought to be created for allcommunities in Georgia. Furthermore, a strengthening of the state is closely related to conflictresolution since a weak state enables the perpetuation of the shadow economy and smuggling,which, in turn, foster the interests of conflict entrepreneurs to maintain the status quo. In turn, astate with a better performance would provide incentives for the breakaway republics to re-integrate.
Addressing state capacity in general could decrease the conflicts’ profitability and increasethe value of being part of a more prosperous Georgia. This could be achieved by tackling corruptionand clientelism, where some progress has already been made, targeting social change andstrengthening civil society in addition to the promotion of good governance and the rule of lawin general.
But this is a long-term strategy and, as a matter of course, the settlement of Georgia’s‘frozen conflicts’ even then is not that easy. To constructively ‘unfreeze’ them in the short-termis unrealistic or even impossible after the recent crises that destroyed any residual confidence.Therefore, in addition to a soft promoting-good-governance approach, long-term confidencebuildingefforts are desperately needed.
However, as Table 5 shows, any approach—especially the building-up of mutual confidence—would also have to take Russia into account. The non-violent resolution of the crisis inAjara—although significantly different from the secession conflicts—has shown the kind offruitful results a rapprochement between Tbilisi and Moscow can achieve. Thus, the internationalcommunity should help improve bilateral Georgian-Russian relations by providing incentivesfor a co-operation with Russia. The EU, in particular, appears suited to this task althoughits policies towards Georgia have so far been rather incoherent and unsystematic. Nevertheless,the EU included the Southern Caucasus states in the European Neighborhood Policy and Georgiahas a strong interest in a closer co-operation with (and even accession to) the EU. Furthermore,to engage and build a strategic partnership with Russia is one of the EU’s main objectives. Whilethe EU and Russia already co-operate on a variety of issues, including the modernization of Rus36108 EU-Russia relations, at: (accessed 12/2005).sia’s economy, security issues, and questions of the environment, they have “every reason to stepup co-operation [… and] engage in many other areas, including the cooperation in the SouthernCaucasus.”108 Against this background, Europe should be more capable of taking a mediatingposition, of providing incentives, and of conditioning assistance. Brussels is also experienced inthe promotion of good governance in the enlargement process and can build on that with regardto the new neighborhood. However, the EU should not get directly involved in conflict resolution,as hoped for by Tbilisi. With the deadlocked situation in the conflict zones, there is no specificadded value that Brussels could provide for the negotiation processes. It has already steppedup its indirect role in the conflicts by financially supporting efforts made by the OSCE and theUN and strengthened the mandate of its Special Representative for the South Caucasus. The EUshould therefore further strengthen the instruments already at its disposal and use them morecoherently instead of creating new ones. The OSCE and the UN should step up their cooperationand coordination with other relevant internal and external actors like the Council of Europe.

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more by Pamela Jawad
Europe’s New Neighborhood on the Verge of War
What role for the EU in Georgia?
PRIF Reports No. 74

© Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) 2006
Correspondence to:
PRIF 􀁸 Leimenrode 29 􀁸 D-60322 Frankfurt am Main
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ISBN: 3-937829-37-7
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1. Introduction: Europe’s New Neighborhood on the Verge of War 1
2. Territorial Disintegration in Georgia 5
2.1 Georgia’s Conflict with South Ossetia 6
2.2 Georgia’s Conflict with Abkhazia 9
2.3 Intermediate Conclusion 12
3. EU Interests and Activities in Georgia 13
3.1 The EU’s Interests in Georgia and the South Caucasus Region 13
3.2 EU Activities in Georgia 18
3.3 Intermediate Conclusion 28
4. Conclusion: What Role for the EU in Georgia? 30

List of Abbreviations 32
Appendix: Map of Georgia 33

Pamela Jawad ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

FG: Internationale Organisation, Demokratischer Friede und die Herrschaft des Rechts

e-mail: jawad[at]

Ausgewählte Publikationen
Diversity, Conflict, and State Failure Chances and Challenges for Democratic Consolidation in Georgia after the “Rose Revolution”, 2006
Europas neue Nachbarschaft an der Schwelle zum Krieg Zur Rolle der EU in Georgien, HSFK-Reports, Nr. 7, 2006
Europe’s New Neighborhood on the Verge of War What role for the EU in Georgia?, PRIF Reports, No. 74, 2006
Democratic Consolidation in Georgia after the “Rose Revolution”?, PRIF Reports, No. 73, 2005

Source: Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung

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