At the invitation of the Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR) platform at Malmö University (Sweden), Victor Kipiani, the Chairman of Geocase conducted an online seminar on "Georgia’s 30 Years from Regaining the Independence: Accomplishments, Challenges, and Opportunities".
The aim of the seminar was to overview the main topics of Georgia’s main political and economic development since regaining its independence as well as to give the audience an insight on the challenges and the opportunities the country is facing in terms of the current geopolitical, or geo-economical global developments.
The event was attended by the Swedish and Georgian academia representatives, the diplomatic circle members as well as the individuals interested in the topic.
Victor Kipiani’s presentation covered Georgia’s international and regional posture as well as domestic matters including Georgia’s political system, resilience and sustainability of the Georgian economy.
While speaking about Georgia’s international positioning, Mr Kipiani underlined the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration and noted that one of the priorities of Georgia’s foreign policy is getting closer to Europe and the Euro-Atlantic community, however, the path should be implemented in a very responsible manner realizing that the process is always a two-way street and depends how Europe and Euro-Atlantic community will react to Georgian matters, appreciates the challenges the country is facing.
“Georgia’s reforms and aspirations, its success story is all-inclusive, it’s all about us. It’s not just about Georgia is making a success, it’s also a litmus test for the European community: how receptive they are, how perceptive they are, and how knowledgeable they are of the region, and especially of the small nation which is the Georgian nation faced with many turbulences as well as opportunities”, - he said. According to him, the biggest challenge in this path is occupation and the fact that quite frequently western pundits and scholars in their articles and researches speak about ethnic conflicts (Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts) in Georgia while in fact, by their profound characteristics, they are geopolitical conflicts because the eruption of those conflicts in Georgia was a direct destructive response to Georgia’s foreign policy objectives'.
Victor Kipiani highlighted Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) as constitutional agreements in regard to Georgia’s partnership with the European Union.
Evaluating Georgia’s political system, he named a number of challenges which according to him are typical to Georgia like any other transition economy country – insufficiency of political culture and standards, non-inclusivity; zero-sum game - having a philosophical impact on the quality of Georgian political life.
“There is a quest among Georgian voters for new political camps, new political forces, and leaders. When I say “new” it’s not just about faces, it’s about quality, standards, and criteria. For the last years, we at Geocase advocate improving the quality of Georgian political life, you will never ever come across specific individuals or names, because we are speaking about the standards, criteria, and approaches. Personified politics is a very vicious circle which has to be broken down for once and ever.”
Mr Kipiani also outlined the lack of responsible opposition, radicalized media, and politicized non-governmental organizations among the grave challenges of the country.
He also briefly overviewed Georgia’s judicial system, highlighted some positive and negative points, and stated that the recent process of the Supreme Court appointments had become very politicized, it needs to be changed in terms of merit-based appointments, otherwise, there will be no efficient and reliable judiciary in the country.
‘Getting closer to Europe means supreme objectives, as well as having a reliable foreign and domestic policy. Georgia, as a soft power in the region, with any viable toolkit, has to position itself as a regional leader. A sound political system that is and will remain our geopolitical, or even geo-economical business card. Something which is not just for the benefit of the Georgian audience but could have a ripple effect on the region as well’- noted Victor Kipiani.
The event was ended by the Q&A session held in a closed format.
Watch the recording of the public part of the seminar