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კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმა

                                                      

სოციალური სამართლიანობის ცენტრი აცხადებს მიღებას კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმის წევრების შესარჩევად. მონაწილეობის მიღება შეუძლიათ ახალგაზრდა აქტივისტებს და მკვლევრებს, რომლებსაც სურთ გაიღრმავონ ცოდნა ეკონომიკური, პოლიტიკური და კულტურული წესრიგის შესახებ, იფიქრონ უფრო სამართლიანი, ინკლუზიური და თანასწორი საზოგადოების შექმნის გზებზე და ჩაერთონ აქტივიზმში.

კონცეფცია

კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმა სოციალური სამართლიანობის ცენტრის მიერ ორგანიზებული აკადემიური და პოლიტიკური პლატფორმაა, რომელიც მიზნად ისახავს სოციალური სამართლიანობით, არსებული ეკონომიკური წესრიგის ანალიზით, ეკოლოგიით, ქვიარ და ფემინისტური პოლიტიკით დაინტერესებული ახალგაზრდა აქტივისტებისა და მკვლევარებისთვის კრიტიკული თეორიული ცოდნის გაღრმავებისა და კოლექტიური მსჯელობის სივრცის შექმნას. პლატფორმის ფოკუსს ასევე წარმოადგენს  მონაწილეების ურთიერთგაძლიერების, შეკავშირებისა და საერთო მოქმედების გზების ძიება.

კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმა საშუალებას მისცემს მონაწილეებს იფიქრონ და იმსჯელონ გლობალური და ადგილობრივი პოლიტიკური მდგომარეობის კონტექსტუალიზებაზე, სოციალური, ეკონომიკური და კულტურული კრიზისების გამომწვევ მიზეზებზე, გამოავლინონ და მოიხელთონ ძალაუფლების სხვადასხვა ღერძი და მჩაგვრელობითი წყარო, ეძიონ მჩაგვრელობით სისტემებთან შეწინააღმდეგების ხერხები. აქტივიზმის ადგილობრივი პრაქტიკები ხშირად ვერ ახერხებს ავთენტური, ინკლუზიური და სამართლიანი დღის წესრიგის შექმნას, რომელიც ადგილობრივ კონტექსტს და რეალურ საჭიროებებს დაეფუძნება. პლატფორმა მიზნად ისახავს ამ ხარვეზის შევსებას და ახალი ტიპის კრიტიკისა და მოქმედებების გაჩენის ხელშეწყობას.

კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმა

პლატფორმის ფარგლებში, წინასწარ მომზადებული სილაბუსის საფუძველზე, ჩატარდება 20 თეორიული ლექცია/დისკუსია სოციალური, პოლიტიკური და ჰუმანიტარული მეცნიერებებიდან, რომლებსაც გაუძღვებიან შესაბამისი გამოცდილების მქონე პირები აკადემიური სივრციდან და აქტივისტური წრეებიდან. პლატფორმის მონაწილეების საჭიროებების გათვალისწინებით, ასევე დაიგეგმება სემინარების ციკლი კოლექტიური მობილიზაციის, სოციალური ცვლილებებისთვის ბრძოლის სტრატეგიებსა და ინსტრუმენტებზე.

ფორმატი:

  • თეორიული ლექცია/დისკუსია
  • შერჩეული წიგნის/სტატიის კითხვის წრე
  • პრაქტიკული სემინარები (მობილიზაცია, ორგანიზება, მეთოდები და ინსტრუმენტები)

ტექნიკური დეტალები:

  • მონაწილეთა მაქსიმალური რაოდენობა: 15-20
    ლექციების რაოდენობა: 20 (თვეში 4)
    სალექციო დროის ხანგრძლივობა:  2 საათი
    ლექციათა ციკლის ხანგრძლივობა: 5 თვე (სექტემბერი-იანვარი)
    ლექციების ჩატარების ძირითადი ადგილი: შერეული (ეპიდემიოლოგიური მდგომარეობის გათვალისწინებით)

მონაწილეთა შერჩევა:

პლატფორმაში მონაწილეობის მსურველებმა უნდა შეავსონ სააპლიკაციო ფორმა 

სკოლაში მონაწილეობის შესაძლებლობა ექნებათ უმაღლესი განათლების მქონე (ან დამასრულებელ კურსზე მყოფ) 21 წლიდან 35 წლამდე ასაკის სტუდენტებს, ახალგაზრდა აქტივისტებსა და მკვლევრებს. პლატფორმის მონაწილეები უნდა დაესწრონ სალექციო საათების სულ მცირე 80%-ს.

კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმაში მონაწილეობის მისაღებად შევსებული სააპლიკაციო ფორმის გამოგზავნის ბოლო ვადაა 2021 წლის 16 სექტემბერი

სააპლიკაციო ფორმა გამოგზავნეთ შემდეგ მისამართზე:  [email protected] 

  • გთხოვთ, იმეილის subject ველში მიუთითოთ „კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმა“.

სოციალური სამართლიანობის ცენტრი დაუკავშირდება მხოლოდ შერჩეულ კანდიდატებს, რომლებიც გაივლიან კონკურსის შემდეგ ეტაპებს.

დამატებითი ინფორმაციისთვის ან კითხვების არსებობის შემთხვევაში შეგიძლიათ მოგვმართოთ:

კრიტიკული პოლიტიკის პლატფორმის ორგანიზება ხორციელდება სქესობრივი განათლების შვედური ასოციაციის (RFSU) ფინანსური მხარდაჭერით.

POLITICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CONFLICT REGIONS / ARTICLE

Ethnopolitical conflict transformation through a historical lens

Revaz KOIAVA 

Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his associates, prominent in the political arena in 1970-1980, did not use ethno-nationalist ideology only to gain power. They also appealed to the perceptions and fears that were prevalent among ethnic Georgians at the time - the feeling of the disintegration of Georgia and the demographic decline of ethnic Georgians. According to Gamsakhurdia, the Georgian people were oppressed in their own country, and, [1] consequently, Georgian nationalism of this period considered the national minorities living in the republic as its antipode. The role of poverty and inequality, which was pervasive in Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, should not be ruled out in the rise of Georgian nationalism. The radicalization of nationalism was to some extent a reaction to the post-Soviet economic and political crisis.

For their part, against the background of the rise of Georgian nationalism and the weakening of power mechanisms caused by "perestroika", Abkhazian and Ossetian nationalistic projects also took a rather aggressive turn. In an interview with an Italian journalist in 1990, Vladislav Ardzinba, chairperson of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia, said, "We do not live in Georgia, we live in Abkhazia.”[2] At the same time, the main idea of ​​the South Ossetian "liberation movement" was announced as "fighting cultural and political discrimination" coming from Georgia and "restoring the historical unity of the Ossetian ethnos.”[3]

Local elites vigorously began mobilizing and self-victimizing the ethnic Abkhaz and Ossetian population, appealing to their presence as an "oppressed minority." Quasi-paramilitary Abkhaz and Ossetian leaders used aggressive rhetoric, Russian support, and Tbilisi chauvinist statements to reinforce their positions. They sought to strengthen their nationalist narrative in order to increase their ratings and accumulate financial resources.

Despite the rise of Georgian, Abkhazian, and Ossetian ethnonationalism and the crisis of the elites, it should be noted that the country has at least a few times promoted consensus and peace-oriented rational ideas and policies that, from today's perspective, could to some extent prevent Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts. Unfortunately, these ideas have been met with a lack of political will, mistrust, fear, and hard-lining from all sides.

 

Conflict Transformation in 1992-2008 (South Ossetia)

After the end of the armed conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Tbilisi faced a major challenge: it had to fight for peace, confidence-building, and reunification at a time when the problem of legitimacy of Eduard Shevardnadze's government, internal clan confrontations, and socio-economic collapse was acute, which was compounded by the active struggle for influence from the Russian Federation in the region.

The peace process in the direction of South Ossetia, which was based on the agreement on the principles of settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict signed by Eduard Shevardnadze and Boris Yeltsin in Sochi,[4] seemed quite hopeful for Georgia. However, the escalation of the situation in Abkhazia and the start of military confrontations have delayed the peace process initiated in the direction of Ossetia for a year.[5]

Negotiations resumed in September 1993. During the same period, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) was reinforced.[6] OSCE activism and the existence of peace on the ground have opened a window of opportunity to begin rebuilding trust between the Georgian and Ossetian populations. At the same time, in the wake of the war in Chechnya, Russia has refrained from creating new hotbeds of tension in the Caucasus and has tried not to interfere with the peace process. The fertile ground was created so that maintaining peace could gradually be transformed into peace-building.

The logical consequence of this process was the easing of Tskhinvali's irredentist aspirations to join North Ossetia in early 1996 and the start of negotiations with Tbilisi.[7] Three official meetings were held between the de facto leader of South Ossetia, Ludwig Chibirov and Eduard Shevardnadze over the next two years.[8] The face-to-face meetings proved to be quite effective, as, in addition to large-scale social and economic rehabilitation projects, the process of full-fledged conflict resolution in South Ossetia also begun, and at a meeting in Borjomi on June 20, 1998, even a verbal agreement was reached to restore the autonomy of South Ossetia under Georgia.[9]

Since 1999, working on the political status of South Ossetia has been given an institutional dimension.[10] In July 2000, at talks in the Austrian resort city of Baden, Tskhinvali and Tbilisi signed an interim agreement on the "foundations of political and legal relations between the parties to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict" and the positions on the territorial integrity of Georgia, the autonomy of South Ossetia and the right to self-determination and the security guarantees of the demilitarization of the conflict zone were harmonized.[11] The specific form of South Ossetia's autonomy within Georgia and the role of Russia as a guarantor of the treaty remained disputed.[12] Unfortunately, the "Baden document" did not lead to an expected political progress. The parties were waiting for the election of Ludwig Chibirov for a second term in 2001, which further delayed the process.[13]

However, amid unresolved social and economic problems in the Tskhinvali region, Ludwig Chibirov's popularity eventually plummeted, and in the 2001 elections, he lost to Eduard Kokoity, whose views differed markedly from his predecessor.[14] At the same time, Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, aiming at a fundamental revision of Boris Yeltsin's neighborhood policy. For its part, the situation changed in the domestic Georgian political arena in 2002-2003, which manifested itself in the strengthening of the opposition movement and the subsequent "Rose Revolution".

By 2004, the human dimension of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict was almost resolved - most of the refugees had returned, and people in the conflict zone could move and trade freely. After the "Adjara Revolution", the feeling emerged in the country that it was possible to easily regain control of other territories.[15] To this end, it was necessary to consolidate the power and eliminate the so-called "economic black holes", the most prominent of which was Ergneti market. As a result, peacebuilding has outweighed state-building priorities, and the Georgian government has closed down the Ergneti market after an anti-smuggling operation.[16]

The closure of the Ergneti market has seriously aggravated the situation on the ground. In early August, there was a danger that the situation would escalate into a full-scale military confrontation.[17] The situation was finally diffused only by the end of August when the towers occupied by the Georgians were handed over to the joint peacekeeping force.[18] At the same time, the Georgian government started the so-called "Humanitarian Storm" on Tskhinvali. By offering an economic and social assistance package to the residents of the conflict zone, Tbilisi planned to win the hearts of the locals, but these attempts were perceived as cheap propaganda by the Ossetians and the anti-Georgian sentiments were further strengthened.[19]

The new government's first steps toward resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict turned out to be unpredictable and euphoric, and instead of weakening the Kokoity regime, it provided the regime additional internal legitimacy and support. Russia has also used the resumption of hostilities in the conflict zone as an excuse to not extend the mandate of the OSCE Border Monitoring Mission in South Ossetia in December 2004, severely limiting the OSCE's influence on the ground.[20]

Following the events of the summer of 2004, the Georgian authorities began a thorough review of their approaches to the conflict. On September 21, 2004, at the 59th address to the UN General Assembly, Mikheil Saakashvili presented a three-stage plan for the conflict resolution,[21] which was soon followed by a meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and Eduard Kokoity in Sochi. At the next meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg in 2005, Mikheil Saakashvili spoke about the revised version of his three-stage initiative to resolve the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.[22]

The ideas of the President of Georgia received significant support in the international arena. Later, the Georgian government presented a state strategy, the so-called "road map", according to which all three stages of conflict resolution were to be completed by the end of September 2006.[23]

A short period of time allocated to the transformation of the multi-year conflict indicated from the outset that the government was rather superficial in resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. It is true that Russia and South Ossetia supported the proposed plan, but rejected a short-term framework for resolving the conflict. However, despite peace initiatives, security on the ground was still fragile. These incidents echoed in the deepening of political distrust.

Since 2006, Georgia's political crisis between Moscow and Tbilisi has deepened amid Georgia's rapprochement with NATO, which has had a negative impact on Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian relations. Amid the uncertainty surrounding the timing of the initiatives under the "road map", it was clear that patience was running out in Tbilisi.[24] All this gradually led to the transformation of Georgian conflicts to a Georgian-Russian one. At the same time, the Georgian government reverted to its 2004 strategy and resumed its efforts to oust the already unpopular Eduard Kokoity regime in the Tskhinvali region. In November 2006, the so-called alternative presidential elections were held. As a result, Eduard Kokoity was elected in Tskhinvali on November 12, and Dimitri Sanakoev - in Tbilisi-controlled Georgian-Ossetian villages.[25] In order to confirm the legitimacy of the results of the alternative elections, in May 2007, the Georgian side established an interim administration in the village of Kurta, with Dimitri Sanakoev as its leader.[26]

The existence of a parallel government caused antipathy among the population of the Tskhinvali region. Such sentiments emboldened Ossetian politicians who argued that by announcing Sanakoev as president, Tbilisi wanted to stir up civil strife, which it would later use to its advantage.[27] It became clear that this move by the Georgians had the opposite effect - on the one hand, it strengthened Kokoity's positions, and on the other hand, it created a new hotbed of controversy.[28]

The international context also changed in 2007, which had a direct impact on the transformation of the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian conflicts. There was hope in Georgia and Ukraine that NATO would resume enlargement to the east and that they would adopt an action plan shortly. At the same time, work commenced on Kosovo's declaration of independence, which was supported by most Western countries. These two events meant the crossing of red lines for Russia, which was evident in Vladimir Putin's speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference.[29] As a result, Russia launched a new series of provocations, which significantly determined the future trajectory of Georgia's peace policy.

Aggressive rhetoric was also felt in Tbilisi, where after the political crisis, Mikheil Saakashvili told students at Tbilisi State University that the Tskhinvali de facto government was "like a loose tooth" and he would address the issue in a few months after the presidential election. He added that "the Russians have slipped on more than one occasion that they are not interested in South Ossetia."[30]

Russia launched a series of "punitive measures" after Kosovo declared independence in February and the NATO summit in Bucharest in April, which turned out to be unsuccessful for Georgia, as it awaited the adoption of the membership action plan. Amid the complete disruption of security mechanisms on the ground and the two-way shootings, attempts at emergency talks failed.[31] On the night of August 7, the clashes escalated into a full-scale war.

 

Conflict Transformation in 1992-2008 (Abkhazia)

Unlike the Tskhinvali region, the post-war situation in Abkhazia was much more complex and difficult. The 13-month conflict has cost Georgia more than 200,000 refugees, thousands killed and injured, and a loss of control of one of its territories.

The Georgian-Abkhazian peace process was founded in late 1993 at the initiative of the United Nations.[32] At the UN-organized meetings, Georgians and Abkhazians made several commitments to a ceasefire, although the peace on the ground was rather fragile and guerrilla clashes continued. To address this, on May 14, 1994, a ceasefire and separation of powers agreement was signed in Moscow, which was politically distinguished with the approval of a CIS peacekeeping operation in the conflict zone.[33] The United Nations soon extended UNOMIG's mandate to monitor the work of the CIS peacekeepers and the implementation of the Moscow Agreement.[34]

Peacekeeping forces were unable to contribute to the restoration of stability and political confidence on the ground. Russia turned out to be the only country that expressed a desire to allocate troops for the peacekeeping contingent.[35] The problem of the legitimacy of the peacekeeping operation arose as the stability on the ground had to be maintained by a state that Tbilisi perceived as a party to the conflict. Moreover, the problem was the aggressive actions of Georgian informal armed groups, which did not obey the central government.[36]

In 1995, a dramatic series of missed opportunities for full-scale conflict resolution began. According to the protocol signed on July 22, 1995, the parties agreed to create a unified federal state within the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and to redistribute power. Abkhazians later withdrew their signatures, prompting the CIS Council of Heads of State (excluding Belarus) to impose economic and military sanctions.[37]

Another key milestone in the peace process came in 1997, when Tbilisi and Sokhumi drafted a new Protocol on Measures for the Settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict, mediated by Russia, under the auspices of the United Nations.[38] This time, along with the idea of ​​a "united" state, the concept of a "common" state appeared in the document, which became unpopular in Tbilisi due to its ambiguity and lack of practical examples. Tbilisi was not enthusiastic about Russia's presence as a guarantor of the agreement and eventually refused to sign the document.[39]

In 1997, the Georgian-Abkhazian peace process was institutionalized on multiple fronts. At the initiative of Russian Foreign Minister Evgeny Primakov, a meeting between Vladislav Ardzinba and Eduard Shevardnadze was held in Tbilisi.[40] With the support of the United Nations, a bilateral coordination commission headed by Zurab Lakerbaia was established to assist Tbilisi and Sukhumi in resolving minor humanitarian issues.[41] In November, the UN-led "Geneva Process" was launched.

Despite all these efforts, 1995-1997 did not bring a radical change. There were several reasons for this: 1. There was a perception in Georgia that the settlement of the Abkhazian conflict could only be achieved through international efforts, which meant that Tbilisi was constantly waiting for external assistance. 2. Against the background of the weakness of state institutions and the lack of control mechanisms, the often achieved successes fell victim to the aggressive actions of individuals and armed groups. 3. The uncompromisingness of the Georgian and Abkhazian political elites increasingly alienated them from each other, and the fact that the most difficult issue - territorial arrangement - was considered as the first step of the negotiations, was a wrong tactic.  

Some of the successes achieved in the first phase of the peace process were completely overshadowed in the spring of 1998 when a large-scale armed clash took place between Georgian partisans and Abkhazians in the Gali district. This event marked the commencement of irreversible processes in Abkhazia, as it deepened the gap of mistrust between Georgians and Abkhazians. Radicalization of Abkhazian positions began, culminating in the de facto adoption of the Abkhazian Independence Act in October 1999 and the holding of an independence referendum.

The military provocations that began in Abkhazia in 2000 culminated in late September 2001, when Ruslan Gelaev, a Chechen field commander accompanied by some 400 fighters, entered the Kodori Gorge to support the Georgians.[42] The Gelaev Raid and renewed clashes have claimed the lives of numerous people, including nine UNOMIG observers.[43] In the following days, the Georgian Parliament passed a resolution imposing responsibility for the situation on the Russian peacekeeping forces and requesting their replacement by an international contingent. In 2000-2002, a crisis period came for the Georgian-Abkhazian peace process, the only positive part of which, along with the confidence-building meetings, was the publication of the so-called Boden Document.[44] Unfortunately, the parties did not find the political will to compromise this time either and Sokhumi and Tbilisi did not accept the "Boden document". The events in Georgia in November 2003 and the arrival of a new government created a completely new political reality around Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region.

The change of governments in Georgia in January 2004 raised new expectations and optimism in Sokhumi. Eduard Shevardnadze was directly associated with the start of the war, and his resignation from the presidency in itself indicated the opening of a window of opportunity. Indeed, in the first half of 2004, the Georgian government took several steps that could have had a positive impact on Sokhumi. Giorgi Khaindrava, who had some social capital in Abkhazia, was appointed State Minister for Conflict Resolution; The process of prosecuting and arresting Georgian guerrilla groups in the eastern part of Abkhazia began; On May 26, Mikheil Saakashvili addressed Abkhazians and Ossetians in their native language and called for peace talks.[45]

A full-scale commencement of the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process was achieved in 2005 when Vladislav Ardzinba was replaced by Sergei Bagapsh as the de facto president of Abkhazia, and Mikheil Saakashvili appointed Irakli Alasania as his representative for the settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.[46] This finally brought together the Khaindrava-Alasania "tandem", which headed the Georgian-Abkhazian talks.

The issue of security guarantees has advanced among the negotiated issues. At the meeting in Gali on May 12, Khaindrava and Abkhaz de facto Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba signed a protocol stating that the parties remained committed to their obligations under the 1993 Moscow agreement and intended to hold an additional meeting.[47] However, the confrontation between the so-called "hawks and pigeons", where the Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili and the Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili were on one side, and Irakli Alasania and Goga Khaindrava on the other side, became prominent in Georgia.

It should be noted that during this period, in parallel with official meetings, civil dialogue formats played a significant role, including in particular the Schlaining Process. Another step towards deepening relations was a March 29, 2006 meeting between Irakli Alasania and Sergei Bagapsh in Sukhumi, where, in addition to concluding agreements on the non-use of force and the return of internally displaced persons, the parties also agreed to reestablish the Coordination Council, which had not convened since 2001.[48] On May 15, 2006, at the newly reestablished Coordinating Council, Sergei Shamba unveiled an Abkhaz peace plan “the Key to the Future", announced  5 days before the meeting,[49] in which Abkhazians expressed readiness to cooperate, seek rapprochement with Europe, and indirectly acknowledged that Georgian IDPs were not allowed to vote in the 1999 so-called referendum, but on the other hand, they still demanded recognition of independence and dialogue on an equal footing. There were expectations that Mikheil Saakashvili would also meet with Sergei Shamba, but he demonstratively left for a visit to the military base in Senaki.[50] This move indicated that the President of Georgia had finally come under the influence of the "hawks".

This was also evident in the disintegration of the Khaindrava-Alasania team and the complete monopolization of the conflict settlement process by the President. On June 12, Irakli Alasania was appointed as Ambassador of Georgia to the United Nations, and on July 21, Goga Khaindrava was replaced by Deputy Foreign Minister Merab Antadze.[51] Attitudes towards Abkhazia have changed fundamentally since the removal of internal obstacles. At the end of July, the Georgian military conducted a counter-crime operation in Kodori. The move was aimed at establishing full control over a strategically important area, for which the Kodori Gorge was renamed "Upper Abkhazia" and the IDP government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia was physically stationed there. Sokhumi viewed the deployment of Georgian troops in Kodori as an act of aggression and a violation of the 1994 Moscow Agreement.[52]

The events of July 2006 overshadowed the progress made before. The weakening of political ties was directly reflected in the deterioration of security in the conflict zone.[53] Against the background of the sharp deterioration of Tbilisi's relations with Moscow, the conflict in Abkhazia, like in South Ossetia, began to shift to the Georgian-Russian arena. During the internal political unrest that began in November, populist rhetoric around the conflicts intensified. During his campaign after the announcement of the snap presidential election, Mikheil Saakashvili told IDPs from Abkhazia that if re-elected, he would make sure they would spend "the next winter in a warmer climate" and that in the coming months, with the help of the international community, they would create conditions for their safe return to Abkhazia.[54]

After the NATO Bucharest Summit, Russia openly began to legalize military and political ties with Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region,[55] which led to increased military intelligence activity and provocations in Abkhazia. In parallel with the disruption of Georgian-Abkhazian peace mechanisms and the escalation of tensions, there were a number of attempts to defuse the situation on the ground. The latest attempt to resume talks was initiated by Germany on June 30 at a meeting in Berlin, known as the "Steinmeier Plan".[56] Sukhumi and Tbilisi did not accept the plan because it did not reflect the most "hot" political problems at the time. Shortly after the presentation of Steinmeier's plan, the world's attention shifted to the Tskhinvali region.

 

The issue of the occupied territories until 2012

The August 2008 Russia-Georgia war ended on August 12 with an agreement on a six-point ceasefire plan by Mikheil Saakashvili and Dmitry Medvedev, mediated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.[57] The agreement would mark the beginning of a completely new political reality for Georgia. In addition to the enormous human and economic losses inflicted on the country, the Akhalgori district and the Kodori Gorge were found beyond the occupation line. Bilateral Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian peace processes were also terminated. On August 26, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states,[58] which were declared by the Georgian parliament on August 28 as Russian-occupied territories, prompting Tbilisi to suspend diplomatic relations with Moscow.[59] The next day, Georgia also put in place mechanisms to end Russian peacekeeping operations and unilaterally withdrew from the 1992 Sochi and 1994 Moscow agreements, which were replaced by a six-point agreement.[60] With this, the sixteen-year-old political and legal framework for the settlement of the conflicts in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region became a thing of the past, the last chord of which was the adoption of the Law on the Occupied Territories by the Parliament of Georgia in October 2008.

Tbilisi has begun to adapt to the new reality in terms of conflict resolution in several directions. First of all, the peace process was completely institutionalized around Russia-Georgia. All the efforts were directed at advancing the narrative according to which there was no Georgian-Abkhazian / Ossetian conflict and the only country with which Georgia was in a state of conflict was the Russian Federation.[61] The second direction was gaining the attention and support of the international community.

On October 1, 2008, the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) was officially sent to Georgia, consisting of about 200 unarmed civilian observers.[62]

On October 15, international negotiations in the 3 + 3 format started in Geneva, uniting absolutely all parties around the table. Representatives of the European Union, the United Nations, and the OSCE were appointed co-chairs of the meeting, while Georgia, Russia, and the United States were included as participants. The Head of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Head of the Interim Administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Region, as well as representatives of the de facto governments of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, were allowed to take part in the talks. Russia's proposal to included the latter in the discussions on equal footing with other participants was unacceptable to Georgia, and, in the end, an adjusted model was approved, according to which one formal and two unofficial formats were created: Plenary session where mediators would meet with Georgian, Russian and American delegations and two parallel working groups with informal, neutral status.[63] The first of these two groups discusses reaching a non-use of force agreement between Russia and Georgia and establishing international security mechanisms in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, while the third addresses the issue of the return of internally displaced persons and various humanitarian issues.[64] The commencement of Geneva international talks was the foundation of the first official peace mechanism in the postwar period.

In February 2009, at the 4th round of the Geneva talks, an additional format called the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) was established to stabilize the situation in the conflict regions.[65] The platform, which was launched in the direction of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, aimed to address day-to-day incidents on the ground and ensure an operational response. Over time, the IPRM has become a really important mechanism, as in the post-war years, armed provocations and kidnappings have not stopped near the villages of Gali and the Tskhinvali region.

Despite the commencement of the official talks, it became clear that Russia was not going to implement the six-point plan, namely the entry of the EU Monitoring Mission in the conflict zone and the withdrawal of its troops from there. Russia began to deploy new military bases in the occupied territories, and by the fall of 2009, it had fully operationalized a direct line with de facto regimes via the so-called embassies. In addition, to gain additional legitimacy at the international level, Russia has begun to expand the list of partner countries of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In response to these challenges, the Georgian government, on the one hand, launched the so-called policy of non-recognition, aimed at preventing the international recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, through close cooperation with the UN member states.[66] On the other hand, it developed a state strategy for the occupied territories - "Involvement through Cooperation" [67] and a corresponding action plan.[68] The strategy noted that Georgia chose to pursue a "human-centered, proactive policy." Most of the initiatives outlined in the document proved difficult to implement, mainly due to the antipathy of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali towards the new strategy. At the same time, the growing Russian influence on the ground has significantly weakened the political, economic, and psychological ties of these regions with the rest of Georgia.

Consequently, within a few years of adopting the strategy and action plan, it became clear that only a few aspects of the engagement action plan were working. In addition, in 2010, the Georgian government approved the State Referral Services Program, which allowed citizens living in the occupied regions to receive free medical care in the rest of Georgia.[69] Despite the activation of social services to a certain extent, complete stagnation was observed in the political aspect of the peace process. As a result, after the 2012 parliamentary elections, the government, which was given numerous chances to resolve the conflicts in 2004-2006, ended its rule with frustration and antagonism.

 

Georgian Dream peace policy

The victory of the Georgian Dream coalition in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections gave Georgia a chance to reconsider its policy on resolving the conflicts. Even before coming to power, the Georgian Dream understood that the situation after 2008 could not be changed easily, which was reflected in a less ambitious but pragmatic pre-election program.[70]  

Paata Zakareishvili, a long-time participant in the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian dialogue, took over the post of State Minister for Reintegration in the new Cabinet of Ministers. Irakli Alasania, well known to Abkhazians and Ossetians, was appointed Minister of Defense. At the same time, in the view of the Georgian Dream, it was imminent to start sorting out relations with Russia, for which it became necessary to develop a new format.[71]

Given its limited scope, the new government aimed primarily to stimulate bilateral ties with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, which would weaken Russia's political influence in the region and change the discourse of a "single conflict" in the country. In the first year after coming to power, the Georgian Dream took several quick steps in this direction. However, despite new initiatives, it soon became clear that Georgia's peace policy could not be significantly changed at the systemic level, as a further intensification of Russian occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region kept the Georgian government in the reactionary and crisis mode. In January 2013, under the demarcation of the "border" of South Ossetia, the Russian military launched a so-called process of "borderization", which was followed by the seizure of numerous new residential and agricultural lands.[72] In addition, kidnappings and illegal detentions from the areas close to the dividing line have increased significantly.[73] This was compounded by the weak team consolidation in the Georgian Dream and the unwillingness to take bold steps, which led the new government to rely entirely on maintaining the status quo, which again included the implementation of a non-recognition policy and engagement strategy action plan.

In June 2014, there was a new hope for energizing the peace process when Georgia and the European Union signed an Association Agreement. The Georgian side also offered Tskhinvali and Sokhumi all the important privileges granted to the country by this agreement.[74] Instead of a positive reaction, Tbilisi received another diplomatic blow. Moscow has signed an "Alliance and Strategic Partnership" agreement with Sokhumi[75], and an "Alliance and Integration" agreement with Tskhinvali.[76]

The situation created after the destructive step by Russia on this scale was further aggravated by the realization that the Geneva international discussions were completely eroded. Often, instead of talking about the topics on the agenda, much of the two-day meetings were devoted to politicizing technical issues. Despite some positive steps in this situation, the process of restoring trust in Abkhazians and Ossetians has stalled.

As a result, the Georgian Dream's peace policy is proceeding without large-scale results. Its main achievement is the implementation of the "program minimum", which is manifested in the so-called negative peace, i.e. de-escalation of tensions and prevention of new conflicts. This minimal achievement points to two new circumstances: the solution of Georgia's territorial problem becomes practically impossible in the current peace format, and Georgia's peace policy has shifted to a broader geopolitical context and has become increasingly alienated from Tbilisi.

Footnote and Bibliography

[1] Jones S., "Georgia: Political History after the Declaration of Independence." Center for Social Sciences; Tbilisi, 2013

[2] Зантариа В., Наш Владислав, Сухум, 2010, С. 34.

[3] Жирохов М., Семена распада: войны и конфликты на территории бывшего СССР, БХВ-Петербург, Санкт-Петербург, 2012, С. 392.

[4] Agreement on the Principles for the Settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict of June 24, 1992. https://old.civil.ge/geo/_print.php?id=19346

[5] Turmanidze Tornike, A Brief History of the South Ossetian Conflict Resolution Mechanism: 1992-2008, BTCK - Policy Research Group, 2009, p. 2-3

[6] On January 1, 1995, it was renamed the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

[7] Birch Julian, Ossetia – land of uncertain frontiers and manipulative elites, Central Asian Survey, 18:4, 1999, p.509.

[8] South Ossetian administration, from agreement to recognition, 30.08.2013. http://www.soa.gov.ge/

[9] Вечерний Тбилиси, Эдуард Шеварднадзе: Я думаю, что все могло сложиться по-другому, 07.08.2010. http://vechernitbili-si.ru/item.php?id=592

[10] Turmanidze Tornike, A Brief History of the South Ossetian Conflict Resolution Mechanism: 1992-2008, BTCK - Policy Research Group, 2009, p. 8

[11] Eiff Hansjörg, The OSCE Mission to Georgia and the Status of South Ossetia, OSCE Yearbook, 2008, p. 41

[12] Eiff Hansjörg, The OSCE Mission to Georgia and the Status of South Ossetia, OSCE Yearbook, 2008, p. 41

[13] De Waal Thomas, The Caucasus: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 145

[14] Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflicts in Georgia (in Georgian), Volume II, p. 127

[15] Parliament of Georgia, Information Note on the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict, 2006, p. 15. http://www.parliament.ge/uploads/other/18/18511.pdf

[16] Human Rights Watch, Up in Flames: Humanitarian Law Violations and Civilian Victims in the Conflict over South Ossetia, 2009, pp. 18-19. https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/georgia0109web.pdf

[17] Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (in Georgian), Volume II, p. 133

[18] International Crisis Group, Georgia: Avoiding War in South Ossetia, Report N°159, 26.11.2004, p. 14

[19] International Crisis Group, Georgia: Avoiding War in South Ossetia, Report N°159, 26.11.2004, p. 14

[20] König Marietta S, Not Frozen but Red Hot: Conflict Resolution in Georgia Following the Change of Government, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg/IFSH (ed.), OSCE Yearbook 2006, Baden-Baden 2007, p. 87

[21] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/59/statements/geoeng040921.pdf

[22] https://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/PA-Sessions/janv-2005/saakashvili.pdf 

[23] South Ossetia Roadmap Presented by Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on October 27, 2005. https://www.gfsis.org/media/download/GSAC/resources/South_Ossetia_Road_Map.pdf

[24] Turmanidze Tornike, A Brief History of the South Ossetian Conflict Resolution Mechanism: 1992-2008, BTCK - Policy Research Group, 2009, p. 20

[25] Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (in Georgian), Volume II, p. 141

[26] Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (in Georgian), Volume II, p. 142

[27] International Crisis Group, Georgia’s South Ossetia Conflict: Make Haste Slowly..., p. 6.

[28] International Crisis Group, Georgia’s South Ossetia Conflict: Make Haste Slowly, p. 8.

[29] http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/tran-scripts/24034

[30] Mikheil Saakashvili – South Ossetia is a matter of months. Civil.ge, 04.12.2017. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=16864 

[31] Cornell Svante & Starr Frederick , The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia,Routledge, 2009, p. 149

[32] BTCK - Policy Research Group, Analysis of the Conflict Resolution Framework in Abkhazia, 2008, p.4

[33] Cohen Jonathan, (ed.), A question of sovereignty: The Georgia-Abkhazia peace process, Accord, Vol. 7, Conciliation Resources, 1999, p. 66-69

[34] United Nations Peacekeeping, United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia, https://peacekeeping.un.org/mission/past/unomig/

[35] Kolbaia Vakhtang, Guarantees of Non-Resumption of Military Operations: Expectations of Threat in the Context of Georgian-Abkhazian Relations, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Tbilisi, 2009. p. 10

[36] Cornell Svante, Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, RoutledgeCurzon, London and New York, 2001, p. 174

[37] Gegeshidze Archil, The isolation of Abkhazia: A failed policy or an opportunity? Accord, Vol.19, Conciliation Resources, 2008

[38] Draft Protocol on Measures for the Settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian Conflict. 18.06.1997. http://rrc.ge/law/MorigAfxProt_18_06_1997_Q.htm?lawid=2074&lng_3=ge 

[39] Kolbaia Vakhtang, Guarantees of Non-Resumption of Military Operations: Expectations of Threat in the Context of Georgian-Abkhazian Relations, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Tbilisi, 2009. p. 12

[40] Anchabadze George, Georgia and Abkhazia: Lost opportunities up until 2008. In EU-Caucasus Dialogue on Georgian-Abkhaz Relations, International Alert, 2010, p. 9

[41] Stewart Susan, The Role of the United Nations in the Georgian-Abkhazian Conflict, Journal on ethnopolitics and minority issues in Europe (2003) 2, p. 16

[42] Liklikadze Koba, The End of the Myth of Emzar Kvitsiani, Radio Liberty, 30.07.2006. https://www.radiotavisupleba.ge/a/1548096.html  

[43] Georgia Helicopter Shooting Still Shrouded in Mystery, Eurasianet, 07.12.2001. http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/qanda/articles/eav120801.shtml  

[44] Boden Dieter, 10 years after the peace plan, Democracy&Freedom Watch, 20.10.2011. http://dfwatch.net/10-years-after-the-peace-plan-95247-894

[45] Haindrava Ivlian, Conflict resolution policies before August 2008. In Transformation of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict: rethinking the paradigm, 2011, p. 15

[46] http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=11403

[47] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 13.07.2005

[48] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 26.06.2006

[49] http://www.kapba.de/KeyToTheFuture.html

[50] Tbilisi publishes basic principles of Abkhaz peace plan, Civil.ge, 09.06.2006. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=12847

[51] http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=14564

[52] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 28.09.2006

[53] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 11.01.2007

[54] Saakashvili Promises Return of IDPs to Abkhazia in 'Coming Months', Civil.ge, 28.11.2007. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=16818

[55] International Crisis Group, Georgia and Russia: Clashing over Abkhazia, Europe Report N°193 – 05.06. 2008, p. 2

[56] Germany plays a leading role in resolving the Abkhaz conflict, Civil.ge, 17.07.2008. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=18817

[57] A six-point plan prepared on the basis of EU mediation,Civil.ge, 17.08.2008. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=19157

[58] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 03.10.2008

[59] UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, 03.10.2008

[60] Georgia launches mechanisms to end Russian peacekeeping operations, Civil.ge. 29.08.2008. http://www.civil.ge/geo/article.php?id=19345&search=

[61] Gegeshidze Archil, New realities after August 2008. In Transformation of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict: rethinking the paradigm, 2011, p. 34

[62] https://eumm.eu/data/image_db_innova/EUMM%20Factsheet%20GEO%202017%20NOV.PDF

[63] Macharashvili Nana, Basilaia Ekaterine, Samkharadze Nikoloz, Assessing the EU’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions in Georgia, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, 2016, p. 29.

[64] http://mfa.gov.ge/Occupied-Territories/Jeneva-Talks.aspx

[65] http://mfa.gov.ge/Occupied-Territories/Jeneva-Talks.aspx

[66] https://www.radiotavisupleba.ge/a/diplomatic_relations/24558388.html

[67] http://smr.gov.ge/Uploads/__7db17f7a.pdf

[68] http://smr.gov.ge/Up-loads/__94d96fb2.pdf

[69] http://www.ombudsman.ge/uploads/other/3/3372.pdf

[70] http://www.ivote.ge/images/doc/pdfs/ocnebis%20saarchevno%20programa.pdf

[71] MacFarlane Neil S. Two Years of the Dream: Georgian Foreign Policy During the Transition, Chatham House, 2015, p.12

[72] Boyle Edward, Borderization in Georgia: Sovereignty Materialized, Kyushu University, 2016, p. 2

[73] Boyle Edward, Borderization in Georgia: Sovereignty Materialized, Kyushu University, 2016, p. 2

[74] http://www.interpressnews.ge/ge/politika/285992?ar=A

[75] http://kremlin.ru/supplement/4783

[76] http://kremlin.ru/supplement/4819

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