Georgia News Digest 04-02-07
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Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies
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1. report: Central Asia and the Caucasus: A Vulnerable Crescent

Thomas de Waal and Anna Matveeva International Peace Academy, February 2007
report at: www.ipacademy.org/asset/file/142/IPA_P-RPT-CENTRAL_ASIA_Final.pdf


Introduction
The Caucasus and Central Asia – eight countries of the former Soviet Union stretching to the south of Russia and to the west of China – form a chain of weak states, vulnerable to conflict, extremism, and spillover from potential instability in the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan. Once on the path of the Silk Road, these countries are still transit routes in the world economy rather than major economic players. The overarching problem for the Caucasus countries situated on the eastern fringe of Europe – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the Russian North Caucasus – is unresolved conflicts that hamper development and poison politics. The Caucasus has become a field for latter-day Great Power battles of influence, in which competing policy agendas, sometimes even from within the same state, make for a fragmented international response that hampers regional integration and development. The autocratic states of Central Asia by contrast risk isolating themselves from the wider world, becoming a source of danger because of their deliberate remoteness. Here the globalized threats of drug trafficking and militant Islam are the biggest potential source of instability. Multilateral organizations such as the UN are still struggling to articulate a coherent response to the two regions as a whole, tending to make more narrow interventions that have limited impact.
In both regions, continued weak statehood means that states struggle to provide public services for citizens, many of whom turn to the shadow economy, crime or migration in order to survive. Politics is organized around informal networks, with elites focusing their attention primarily on issues of selfpreservation and succession.
In the South Caucasus patronage-based elites sustain themselves through manipulated elections. None of the governing elites in the three states has since 1991 voluntarily ceded power in a contested election.Yet membership of the Council of Europe and closer ties with the EU force the governing regimes to tolerate opposition parties and to give them a role in parliaments. This reduces the risk of violent political upheaval, while migration and apathy reduce the bargaining power of opposition movements.Analogous political change is yet to occur in Central Asia, where many state institutions still operate according to long-embedded Soviet practices. These states are poorly equipped to deal with external pressures and region-wide challenges, such as drug trafficking, jihadi Islamism or natural disasters.
The political choices taken by Russia will have a major bearing on the future of these states. But as the regions detach themselves further from the Soviet past, their political trajectories are diverging, with the South Caucasus (with the partial exception of Azerbaijan) aspiring towards European structures and Central Asia seeking Russia’s patronage and security assistance.


2. Georgia and NATO
3. NATO discerns two basic problems in Georgia – reforms and conflicts
4. Russia to resume withdrawal of hardware from Georgian base in April
5. Official Russian Foreign Policy Review Warns Of “Explosive” Georgia
6. 11 percent of Russian prefer Georgian wine
7. Snubbed by Russia, Georgian wine seeks new palates
8. Russia and US cooperation in anti-missile defense inadmissible
9. Georgian Official Dismisses Reports Of Antiaircraft Missiles Smuggled To Russia
10. Georgian President Discusses US Radar Plans On Visit To Armenia
11. An Air Defense And Uranium Barter: Georgia denied involvement in illegal armament supplies to Russia
12. Georgian Court Upholds Uranium-Smuggling Conviction
13. Official Suggests Russia May Join WTO Despite Georgian Opposition
14. Ukrainian, Georgian Ministers Discuss Regional Cooperation Issues
15. Foreign Minister Visits Ukraine
16. First Deputy Foreign Minister to Visit Portugal on April 3
17. GUAM countries Demand UN Assembly to Confirm Adherence to Principe of Territorial Integrity
18. U.S. Encourages Tbilisi’s Diplomacy in Trans-Caspian Projects
19. US to use Azeri airfield if necessary-Bryza
20. U.S. Official: NATO Must Agree on Georgia Membership
21. Georgia is important for US in and of itself
22. Do We Have to Know Our Enemies? [excerpt]
23. US State Department official meets Georgian opposition
24. Opposition leader welcomes Saakashvili’s emphasis on Europe, not US
25. South Ossetia discussed in Moscow
26. South Ossetian separatists say USA behind pro-Georgian leader Sanakoyev
27. Georgian daily reports on possible dismissal of South Ossetia’s top negotiator
28. Georgia condemns Russian Foreign Ministry statement on South Ossetia
29. Armed Georgians killed in South Ossetia
30. Parallel Worlds Of South Ossetia: Saakashvili is telling the alternative government of South Ossetia to work harder
31. Tbilisi calls Russian “puppet government” comment unfriendly
32. Russian Foreign Ministry savages Georgian plans for South Ossetia administration
33. Russia urges Tbilisi scrap validation plans for puppet govt.
34. Separatist Ministry Condemns Georgian President’s Plan For South Ossetia
35. Saakashvili Elects A President Of South Ossetia: Georgia Backs Dmitri Sanakoyev
36. Georgian Daily Reports On Possible Dismissal Of South Ossetia’s Top Negotiator
37. Russia concerned over Georgian propaganda campaign
38. Tbilisi Slams Moscow’s Reaction to S. Ossetia Administration
39. Georgian, U.S. Officials Discuss ‘S. Ossetia Administration’
40. Moldova’a unrecognized breakaway region accredits Georgia’s Abkhaz envoy
41. Russia does not need radar in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia – Moscow source
42. Abkhaz forces complete reconnaissance exercises
43. Merabishvili: ‘Ataka’ Guided Missiles Used in Kodori Shelling
44. New election law to be adopted in Abkhazia
45. Georgia Issues Banknotes with Sokhumi Images
46. Sokhumi Seeks Voice at UN Security Council
47. First post-Soviet Georgian president Gamsakhurdia buried in Tbilisi
48. Zviad Gamsakhurdia finds his final resting place
49. Supporters mark Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s birthday
50. Laying to rest more than just a president
51. Georgia to bury controversial first president Sunday
52. Saakashavili says Gamsakhurdia fought Georgia’s independence
53. Funeral service for Georgia’s first president held in Tbilisi
54. Georgian Minister Slams Russia Over “Undignified” Return Of Gamsakhurdia Remains
55. Georgia’s first president buried in the capital
56. Georgia lays to rest first president, 13 years after his death
57. Thousands Pay Tribute to the First President
58. Georgia re-burial for president
59. Anonymous Well-wisher
60. Rusudan Nikuradze: “Rustavi 2” Tries to Hush up Its Illegal Financial Transactions
61. Man Held As Slave In Georgia For 15 Years
62. US helps build biosecurity laboratory in Georgia
63. Georgian Ministers Speak Of Need To Tackle Terrorism, Narcotics Trade
64. Georgian Mountaineers
65. Neither Food nor Salaries, but Nursery Schools Remains Open
66. Georgian Figure Skater has High Hopes for 2007-08
67. State Agency: FDI more than Doubles
68. Leaders of Factions to Hold Consultations with Nino Burjanadze
69. Court to pass verdict
70. Opposition faction summons minister
71. Court to pass verdict
72. Integrating Georgia’s disabled community through social therapy
73. First group of reservists leave for training
74. Georgians behaving badly
75. “Saakashvili hates the Labour Party”-Gugava


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Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D., Director of Studies, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, 3a Chitadze, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia (Republic),
jonathan.kulick@gfsis.org, office: +995 32 47 35 55, mobile: +995 95 33 33 40, USA voicemail: 310.928.6814


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