The messenger logo

Georgia’s way

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, May 22
In light of Georgia's upcoming parliamentary elections, the state's PR machine is increasingly touting Georgia as a successful country. The Rose Revolution signified a new era in Georgia. Underscored by the reforms carried out by those within the Rose administration, Georgia has become the exemplary model for other reform-minded post-Soviet states, including Russia. This is the major thesis promoted by current Georgian leadership.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is without a doubt the chief protagonist leading the charge in this PR approach whenever he meets the public. He has been advancing this thesis while in the US, where he is currently attending the NATO summit in Chicago. He tries to establish the concept that the successful reforms in Georgia have been recognized and emulated around the world. He stated in particular that Georgia has found the so-called third way approach in the development of post-Soviet countries: "we managed to create a new alternative to governance in the post-Soviet space,” says Saakashvili. According to him, there were only two options in 90-ies of the last century: the first was the corrupt and criminal way, which Russia took during President Boris Yeltsin, and the second was the authoritarian non-democratic way chosen by Yeltsin’s successor Putin. In this situation Georgia managed to create a third alternative. Saakashvili claims that the country exercises freedom of speech, freedom of choice and creates an independent civil society.

However, he states that there is still much to be done. He also claims that Georgia will hold the upcoming elections transparently. Despite such a positive assessment, the situation in the country for Georgian opposition parties, as well as for some analysts challenges the president’s position on this. Many feel that the country has stagnated, deviating from the principles of democracy. They also feel that many aspects to Georgia's democratic reform process have suffered under the current rule of President Saakashvili and his regime. They claim that there is no independent court system in the country and no rule of law accordingly. The problems related to freedom of media and the human rights protection system is far from democratic. Analysts also express their concern about the prospects of fair and free elections. Some of them think that the elections are rigged already- well in advance of the elections day. It is very important that the international community, the EU and NATO in particular, are watching very closely to the situation in Georgia.

It is one thing simply claim democracy and it is another is to establish a truly democratic country. Some analysts state that it is premature to highlight Georgia's achievements, as there is still much to be done. To put it simply: it is problematic to say that Georgia is successful, when a great proportion of the population lies on or below the poverty line. After all, for an ordinary citizen, democratic development should eventually translate into the improved welfare of the population.