Georgia: Georgia has taken center stage in the last few months, making the eastern European nation of great value to both Europe and Russia. While the western and eastern blocks vie for Georgia, the chaos within the nation has made it hard to predict which side it will lean towards.
The nation is under the guidance of the ‘Georgian Dream’ party, which has been involved in most of the political news coming from Georgia in the past few months. From their involvement in the row surrounding the Foreign Agent Draft Bill, which caused wide spread protests a few months ago, to them attempting to oust President Salome Zurabishvili in recent days, the party has influenced the course of Georgia to a massive extent.
As is the case in many countries around the world, the president in Georgia plays a mostly ceremonial role. Truly measurable power in the eastern European nation rests with the ruling party. Yet, the pro-European President Zurabishvili had apparently taken it upon herself to communicate with European dignitaries despite the ruling party’s refusal to give her permission to do so.
In a press briefing on the 1st of September, the chair of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze stated that the ‘Georgian Dream’ party will be suing President Zurabishvili in the constitutional court. This statement came in the wake of the presidential administration’s announcement that she would be travelling to Europe of a series of official meetings, despite the lack of the Georgian government’s approval.
The ruling party also stated that the President was in violation of the constitution. Siting Article 52, the government stated that the president was not allowed to engage in foreign policy making unilaterally without the permission of the government. The ruling party alleges that the actions of the President will hinder the nation’s bid for EU membership. They have also highlighted the President’s earlier statement in which she had said that Georgia was not on track to meet requirements before its application is reexamined by the end of 2023.
Another aspect of this story which the supporters of the President conform to is that impeaching a pro-European president would hinder the membership bid equally if not more. This difference in opinions and apparent intentions has raised a lot of questions both within and outside the nation as some fear that Georgia might be moving towards Russia instead of Europe. If that were to hold true, this would be a massive blow to the EU and put NATO’s military strategies on the back foot.
This would also have a major effect on the Russia-Ukraine war. If Russia is able to bring Georgia onside the way it has cultivated Belarus, it would give Russia a better vantage point for, and access to Crimea. Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has fought with the aim of recovering Crimea, a territory that Russia annexed without recourse or referendum. Hence the situation in Georgia is of vital importance to both sides of the divide. As Georgia and it’s ruling party sifts through these tumultuous times, the future of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia itself and the ongoing war hangs in the balance.