After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States designed a project to promote and build democracy in newly emerging regimes. The EU and NATO supported these efforts through a mechanism of democratic conditionality. These foreign policy instruments led to a variety of outcomes. The Baltic States consolidated their democracies while other post-soviet countries produced mixed results. Scholars explained this variation in democratic performance by highlighting the unfavorable geopolitical location, the unwillingness of local actors to democratize, and the institutional incapacities stemming from political legacies. However, the case of Georgia is contradictory to these assumptions. Georgia has no membership promise from the European Union. Even though NATO made such a pledge and Georgia succeeded in its reforms, its membership is unsteady because of the Russian resistance. Russia used autocracy promotion strategies to leverage Georgia through political, economic, and military means. These strategies aimed at countering the US and Western democratizing efforts, and securing Russia a strategic advantage in the South Caucasus. Irrespective of this great power competition and the challenging path of democratization (which was marked with conflicts and civil war), Georgia grew into an electoral democracy.
This presentation will examine these theoretical and empirical puzzles. It will answer how, and under which conditions, a great power competition will lead to democracy, and explain the domestic constellations needed to coordinate the great power competition. In all of these efforts, a wide range of data was used, including interviews with international and local policymakers.
Dr. Zarina Burkadze
obtained her doctoral degree in political science from the University of Zurich. In 2019, she received the Fulbright Visiting Scholarship to work on her dissertation based book under the mentorship of Professor Sharon Wolchik at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies within the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She is also a researcher and lecturer at Ilia State University and Sokhumi State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E St NW