Georgia in Search of Restoring Its Territorial Integrity

Russia’s August 2008 invasion of Georgia and Moscow’s subsequent recognition of its two former autonomous territories – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – placed the problem of Georgia’s territorial integrity high on the agenda. Since then, prospects for resolving the problem have remained dim, and no one knows what should be done to address the issue. Moscow’s official recognition of the independence of the two Georgian breakaway provinces deprived Russia of political leverage over Tbilisi, pushing Georgia much closer to the EU and NATO than previously. However, despite the active involvement of the EU and NATO in Georgia, this paper argues that neither of the two is likely to gain sufficient clout to resolve the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity. Thus, on the one hand, there is Russia, capable of restoring Georgia’s territorial integrity; on the other hand, there is the West, open to promoting democratic values to transform Georgia into a genuine working democracy, necessary for its integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. This paper accordingly suggests that the only way to resolve the problem is to combine both Russian and Western leverage.

Authors: Nana Gegelashvili
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