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Georgia: identity, foreign policy and the politics of a “Euro-Atlantic orientation”

Kornely Kakachia, 27 March 2013

Often considered to be a “beacon of democracy” in the post-Soviet space, Georgia has publicly committed itself to establishing the rule of law and building Western-style democratic institutions. As Georgia’s ambitions to draw closer to Europe and the transatlantic community have grown and the country has assertively reclaimed its European identity, its relations with neighbouring Russia have deteriorated. Simultaneously, as the government has increasingly turned to the West as the guarantor of the country’s security and counted on eventual inclusion in Western economic, political and security structures, Georgia has tried to reject its post-Soviet identity and achieve full membership of European and Euro-Atlantic structures. No longer willing to be labelled merely as a post-Soviet state, nor wishing to be identified with the volatile and fragmented Caucasus region, the Georgian polity sees its ties with the Black Sea community as a way to become affiliated with the rest of Europe. This policy brief examines Georgia’s foreign policy orientation and the role of identity politics, and attempts to identify the key causes and motivations pushing Tbilisi towards European integration.

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