Zaal Anjaparidze

is the Executive Director of the Georgian NGO Democracy Resources Development Center. He has written extensively on Georgian domestic and foriegn politics.

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Articles by Zaal Anjaparidze

TBILISI BRACES FOR FALLOUT FROM RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

On October 23 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia “is not planning” to restore air, land, sea, postal, and banking communications with Georgia, which were cut October 3

ABKHAZIA REQUESTS GEORGIAN APOLOGY AND DREADS NEW WAR

Abkhaz separatists have dismissed Tbilisi’s “fresh roadmap” to resolve Georgia’s secessionist conflicts. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili proposed the new approach in his address to the UN General Assembly on September

IMF WARNS TBILISI TO CURB RISING INFLATION

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the Georgian government to curb the country's creeping inflation. The admonition has provided evidence that the country's actual economic situation significantly differs from

SAAKASHVILI UNVEILS NEW ECONOMIC STRATEGY

Opponents have long criticized Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for not adopting a consistent strategy for the country’s economic development. The past five years have brought unprecedented levels of unemployment, rising

GEORGIA REGAINS CONTROL OVER BATTLE IN KODORI

Following President Mikheil Saakashvili July 24 call “to give Georgia’s enemies their gruel,” Georgian troops launched a special operation in Kodori Gorge to neutralize the local chieftain, Emzar Kvitsiani, and

IS ABKHAZIA A PAWN IN THE GLOBAL POWER GAME?

The reactivated confidence-building measures for settling the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict have not moved Georgia any closer to restoring its territorial integrity, but instead has raised hopes among the separatists. On June

SOUTH OSSETIA PEACE PLANS SMELL OF GUNPOWDER

The current situation in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region shows that the December 2005 plans for a peaceful settlement of this 16-year old conflict (see EDM, December 15, 2005) largely

CAN ABKHAZ AND GEORGIAN PEACE PLANS COEXIST?

As expected, the Abkhaz separatists rejected the peace plan that the Georgian government had offered in response to an earlier Abkhaz framework (see EDM, May 10). Sergei Shamba, the self-styled

CRITICS PRESS FOR IMPROVED JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN GEORGIA

Tbilisi has responded to international and domestic complaints that Georgia's judiciary frequently makes unfair, politically motivated decisions. President Mikheil Saakashvili, known as the "Godfather" of Georgia's 1997-98 judicial reforms, now

GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT QUESTIONED ABOUT SECRET FUNDS

Questions are flying about how the Georgian government operates two special bank accounts earmarked for developing the army and law-enforcement agencies. The funds were established shortly after the November 2003

WILL ABKHAZIA COME UNDER UN GOVERNANCE?

During a March 29 news conference at UN headquarters in New York, Revaz Adamia, Georgia's permanent representative to the United Nations, stated that Georgia would not oppose temporary UN governance

PROTESTS, ACCUSATIONS, AND RIOTS SHAKE GEORGIA

The rapid succession of crises this week in Georgia suggests that President Mikheil Saakashvili's government and its policies are at a critical juncture. On March 27 the government announced that

KOSOVO IMPEDES SETTLEMENT OF ABKHAZ SITUATION

Talk of possible independence for Kosovo, Serbia's separatist enclave, is markedly hampering the Georgian government's efforts to find a mutually acceptable model for the reintegration of its breakaway regions, Abkhazia

GEORGIAN POLICE CLAIM TO SOLVE HIGH-PROFILE MURDER

The Georgian Interior Ministry has announced that it has solved the killing of Sandro Girgvliani, the 28-year-old chief of the international relations division at the United Georgian Bank. On March

NEW HOPE FOR SOUTH OSSETIA?

On December 12, Eduard Kokoiti, the self-styled president of South Ossetia, sent a letter to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and leaders of OSCE countries to familiarize

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM REGARDING GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ TALKS

Last week the saber rattling that has characterized Georgian-Abkhaz relation subsided as UN- mediated talks about confidence building commenced. Against a backdrop of continuing mutual violence in Georgia's breakaway region

FREEDOM OF MEDIA IN GEORGIA DECLINES EVEN FURTHER

Reporters Without Frontiers, a Paris-based watchdog organization, released the 2005 version of its Worldwide Press Freedom Index on October 20. Georgia fell from 94th place in 2004 to 99th place.

PROBLEMS MOUNT FOR GEORGIAN ARMY

Almost every day, Georgian television airs government-sponsored ads inviting Georgians to join the mighty Georgian army. While, this patriotic display tries to create a rosy picture of Georgia's military potential,

NEW UNREST IN JAVAKHETI PROMPTS WARNING FROM YEREVAN

Akhalkalaki, the main town in the predominantly Armenian-populated and Armenia-bordered Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, was the site of an anti-government protest rally on October 5. The incident reaffirmed that this

CRUNCH TIME FOR SAAKASHVILI’S GOVERNMENT

So far, the Georgian government has weathered the latest cycle of disturbances in the country's restive regions. Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, came under mortar fire on the heels of

TBILISI RETURNS TO SABER RATTLING IN ABKHAZ POLICY

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his team are continuing to send varied signals about their plans for Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia. The recent initiative by Georgian and Abkhaz officials

TBILISI, SUKHUMI, MARK WAR ANNIVERSARY

Georgia and its separatist region of Abkhazia have marked the 13th anniversary of their civil war in understandably different ways. This difference, accompanied by challenging statements and moves from the

ANTI-SAAKASHVILI OPPOSITION STRIKES ELECTION DEAL

The month-long negotiations among Georgia's opposition parties about fielding common candidates in the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections on October 1 have produced an agreement. On August 5, leaders of the Conservative,

TENSIONS SIMMERING IN GEORGIA’S JAVAKHETI REGION

The recent anti-terrorist operations in Georgia (see EDM July 25, 29) have overshadowed coverage of anti-Georgian developments flaring in Georgia's turbulent Javakheti region, a southern area predominantly populated by ethnic

TBILISI ACCUSES MOSCOW OF SPONSORING TERRORISM

This week the Georgian special services celebrated breakthroughs in two high-profile criminal cases. Shortly after arresting a man accused of throwing a hand grenade at U.S. President George W. Bush

GEORGIAN OPPOSITION, SAAKASHVILI GOVERNMENT COME TO BLOWS

For the first time since the November 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's government has faced a large-scale, violent anti-governmental rally involving major opposition parties. The protest erupted June

WILL SOUTH OSSETIA HAVE ANOTHER BLOODY SUMMER?

Recent weeks have brought alarming developments from Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region. Kidnappings, militant statements, Russian military assistance to the separatists, and fruitless peace negotiations -- the same factors that

ZHVANIA’S DEATH STILL CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC IN GEORGIA

The almost-shelved investigation into the February 3 death of Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania has resurfaced and may yet damage President Mikheil Saakashvili's government. Saakashvili did not mention Zhvania's death

JAVAKHETI REGION COMPLICATES GEORGIAN RELATIONS WITH ARMENIA

In April Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian held talks in Tbilisi following unrest in Georgia's predominately Armenian-populated southern region, Samtskhe-Javakheti. The disturbances, which calmed down

SABER RATTLING GROWS LOUDER AROUND ABKHAZIA

The leadership of Georgia's separatist region Abkhazia is beefing up its military potential, while the Georgian armed forces are continuing their military exercise. Televised reports about the Georgian exercises began

GEORGIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT

Backstabbing, intrigue, and corruption continue to plague Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's government, despite its repeated statements about centralizing power and eradicating corruption. To the delight of Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili,

Georgian Defense Officials Arrested for Embezzlement

Backstabbing, intrigue, and corruption continue to plague Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's government, despite its repeated statements about centralizing power and eradicating corruption. To the delight of Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili,

GEORGIAN ADVISORS STEPPING FORWARD IN BISHKEK

Early this week Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili sent a formal letter to Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev calling upon him to be more tolerant toward the opposition's demands and offered to

WILL ASYMMETRICAL FEDERALISM WORK FOR ABKHAZIA?

The Georgian government has crafted a new framework to facilitate the reintegration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into the Georgian state. A special blueprint drafted by the National Security Council

RIVAL GEORGIAN MINISTERS CROSS SWORDS

Last week, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was forced to mediate between two bickering members of his government. Ultimately, Saakashvili reached a temporary truce in the standoff between Defense Minister Irakli

SAAKASHVILI RINGS IN NEW YEAR WITH YUSHCHENKO

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili delivered his New Year's address to Georgia from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where he had flown to congratulate Viktor Yushchenko on his victory in the presidential

ABKHAZ OPPOSITION CANDIDATE INCHES TOWARD PRESIDENTIAL POWER

Sergei Bagapsh, the opposition's presidential candidate in the disputed presidential elections in Georgia's breakaway region, Abkhazia, is inching toward securing the presidency. On November 26, the Abkhazian parliament officially decreed

STANDOFF CONTINUES IN ABKHAZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The month-long confrontation over the disputed presidential elections in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia has claimed its first victim. Tamara Shakryl, 78, was a senior associate at the Institute for

RUSSIA TURNS UP THE PRESSURE ON ABKHAZIA

The aftermath of the October 3 presidential election in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia has finally unmasked Moscow's policy towards Abkhazia. Ironically, Russia has presented itself as a player --

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ROCK SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA

The Georgian government faces new problems in its two breakaway provinces. Nightly shoot-outs have resumed in South Ossetia, while Abkhazia still has no clear winner in its October 3 presidential

CORRUPTION COMPROMISES GEORGIAN ARMED FORCES

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's call to make building a strong army a top priority may have fallen on deaf ears. Not only are the Georgian armed forces not reforming, but

STILL NO WINNER IN ABKHAZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

"Dangerous uncertainty" describes the current situation in Abkhazia, while the breakaway region awaits the announcement of a winner in its controversial October 3 presidential election. The pro-government and Moscow-backed candidate,

GEORGIAN MEDIA MOGUL FORCED OUT OF BUSINESS

Predictions that Georgia might replicate the Russian practice of taming disobedient media owners appear to have come true. The voluntary renunciation by Georgian media mogul Erosi Kitsmarishvili of his lucrative

ABKHAZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ALREADY SPARKING PROTESTS

On October 4, Abkhazia's Central Election Commission (CEC) declared Raul Khajimba winner of the October 3 presidential election. Outgoing Abkhaz leader Vladislav Ardzinba had backed Khajimba's candidacy. According to the

RUSSIAN FILM ON SAAKASHVILI TESTS GEORGIAN DEMOCRACY

The Georgian political establishment has reacted angrily to a one-hour documentary entitled, "Who is Misha?" about Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The film was broadcast on Russian television on September 29

GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

On September 16, Georgian television broadcast live parliamentary debates on recent events in South Ossetia and how they fit into the broader context of Georgian-Russian relations. The pointed debate suggested

Saakashvili Sacks Army Chief Of Staff

On August 25, Saakashvili fired the Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Givi Iukuridze, and replaced him with his Western-educated deputy, Maj. Vakhtang Kapanadze. Saakashvili explained the move

Is The BTC Oil Pipeline Part Of A Political Game?

On July 22 Georgia's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources ordered British Petroleum (BP) to suspend construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in the Borjomi valley of Western Georgia. The

Georgian Media Shackled After Rose Revolution

After the Rose Revolution, relations between the Georgian government and local media have increasingly caused concern, because the government has attempted to tame the press by administrative measures under the

Abkhaz Opposition Names Presidential Candidate

The upcoming October 3 presidential election in the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia has caused a flurry of re-grouping among local political forces. The incumbent, Vladislav Ardzinba, cannot run for another

South Ossetia: Inside The Conflict Zone

On July 8 the Ossetian militia captured 47 Georgian servicemen and publicly humiliated them by forcing them to their knees before Russian TV cameras, roiling tensions between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi.

Infighting Plagues Abkhaz Separatist Camp

The critical phase in the political situation of the breakaway region of Abkhazia continues, following the June 9 assassination of Gary Aiba, political secretary of the influential Abkhaz political-public movement

Saakashvili Strengthens Control Over Ajaria

The pro-governmental "Saakashvili-Victorious Ajaria" party, the Ajarian branch of the ruling "National-Movement-Democrats," scored a landside victory in the June 20 elections in Ajaria. The elections were the first to be

Georgian Defense System Still Faces Problems

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's steps toward improving material and technical support for the Georgian army resulted in a significant increase in the military call-up. During the current draft, which started

Reshuffle In Georgia “force” Agencies

Prior to this week's cabinet of ministers' parliamentary vote of confidence, according the new Constitution, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili issued a surprise reshuffling of officials to lead the "force" ministries.

Georgian Ngos Protest Prison Abuse

Torture in prisons, mistreatment of prisoners, illegal arrests and abused police discretion have reappeared on the agenda only five months after the Rose Revolution, the leaders of which publicly pledged

Georgia Mulls Closer Economic Ties To Russia

The first conference on Russian business investment in Georgia held on May 28-30 was a logical consequence of warming Georgian-Russian political relations after the recent "rose revolutions" in Tbilisi and

Ajaria Before Elections

The "Hand of Tbilisi" will be a greater presence in post-Abashidze Ajaria. On May 18, the Georgian Parliament overwhelmingly (117/5) voted for a resolution, which allows for a one-month public

Scandals Plague Saakashvili’s Party

The arrest of a 33-year old member of Georgia's Parliament on May 19 has seriously damaged the Saakashvili government's reputation. MP Giorgi Kenchadze, an activist in the National-Democrats ruling party,

AMERICA’S “HELPING HAND:” HELPING WHOM?

By Zaal Anjaparidze Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze is very proud of his friendship with former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and frequently reminisces about their joint efforts to eliminate

THE “LAST TEMPTATION” OF EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE

By Zaal Anjaparidze The parliamentary elections in Georgia, which are scheduled for November 2, are turning into a struggle between the forces of the past, grouped around President Eduard Shevardnadze,

ABKHAZIA: A POISONED CHALICE?

By Zaal Anjaparidze The problem of the breakaway province of Abkhazia was central to negotiations between Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Sochi on March

WILL GEORGIA CUT THE PANKISI KNOT?

By Zaal Anjaparidze Last month's dramatic hostage taking in Moscow will probably lead to a renewal of Russian offensives in the Caucasus, and the Pankisi valley in northern Georgia is

“TRAIN AND EQUIP”–SAFEGUARD OR SWORD-ARM?

By Zaal Anjaparidze The third and most important phase of the American program "Train and Equip," designed to prepare Georgian commando troops for antiterrorist operations, got underway on August 29.

GEORGIAN KOMPROMAT

By Zaal Anjaparidze [Editor's Note: Last fall Georgia fell into a political crisis triggered by economic failures against a background of separatist movements and Russian pressure. On November 1, 2001,

PREPARING FOR POST-SHEVARDNADZE ERA

By Zaal Anjaparidze Georgia is witnessing a new stage in the regrouping of its domestic political forces and leading political figures in anticipation of the impending post-Shevardnadze period. That period

FIGHT A LOSING BATTLE

By Zaal Anjaparidze In his May 12 address to the parliament and the nation, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze warned that Georgia's status as an independent state would be threatened if

WHAT POST-YELTSIN RUSSIA PROMISES GEORGIA?

By Zaal Anjaparidze RUSSIA WANTS GEORGIA BACK South Caucasus and Georgia, in particular, have of late become a headache for Moscow. In January Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told a

SCANDALS SHAKE THE GEORGIAN MILITARY

By Zaal Anjaparidze It seems that a serious confrontation is brewing within the Georgian military establishment. Who, if anyone, might emerge the winner largely depends on the results of an

HOW EMIGRATION AFFECTS GEORGIA

By Zaal Anjaparidze 1. BACKGROUND In 1987-88, it became apparent that the USSR was in a profound economic and political crisis. Ethnic and ethno-territorial conflicts resulted in mass migration, which