Interviews

Paul Goble: I fear that Trump will largely ignore countries like Georgia

by | January 22, 2017
Paul A. Goble (VoA)

To assess the latest developments in the domestic and foreign affairs of Georgia, Voice of America’s (VOA) Anna Kalandadze interviewed Washington-based long-standing Eurasia observer Paul Goble. The Georgian-language interview first appeared on VOA.  Here is an English version: VoA: Split and demise of the Georgia's National Movement, or/and in other opposition parties, is this normal and whose responsibility is it, in fact?  Paul Goble: I would not lay responsibility on anyone in particular either inside or outside of Georgia. It appears to be that this simply reflects the weakness of political parties in the republic, a weakness that is based on the fact that they have been formed from the top down rather than the bottom up and so are overly linked to the changing kaleidoscope of leaders. VoA: Gazprom's latest deal with Georgia - is Tbilisi losing effectively its sovereignty by this? What is the real problem besides the lack of transparency? Paul Goble: The absence of transparency about this is worrisome. At the same time, if Georgia continues its other policies, this need not represent a surrender of sovereignty, although it certainly would ...

Interviews

Atlantic Council Vice-President: Perhaps it’s time to go on the offensive

by | January 9, 2017
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To assess the visit by three top US Senators, John Mccain (R- AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Amy Klobucher (D-MN) to Georgia and Ukraine, Voice of America’s (VOA) Anna Kalandadze interviewed  Washington-based Damon Wilson, Executive Vice-President of US Atlantic Council.

Interviews

Yalowitz: No radical changes in US-Georgia relationship under Trump

by | December 7, 2016
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DFWatch recently had a Skype interview with Kenneth Yalowitz, former US Ambassador to Georgia (1998-2001). Mr. Yalowitz emphasized that Georgia is a country which expects problems and delays on the way toward democratic reforms, while firmly moving forward

Interviews

William Courtney: It won’t be easy for Trump to make big changes in US policy towards Russia

by | November 28, 2016
william courtney

William Courtney, Former US Ambassador to Georgia and currently with the RAND Corporation in Washington DC, shared his views on the US President Elect Donald Trump's foreign policy agenda with Anna Kalandadze of Voice of America's Georgian service. 

Interviews

Linderman: GD will have a tendency to consolidate power into one-party rule

by | October 17, 2016
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Anna Kalandadze of Voice of America's Georgian service discusses results of Georgia's Parliamentary elections, and its importance for country's future dynamics with Laura Linderman, of US Atlantic Council in Washington. Parts of this interview ran on VOA program.

Interviews

NATO expert: Georgia is in a much closer to Alliance now than it was in 2008

by | September 12, 2016
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Voice of America's (VOA) Anna Kalandadze spoke to George (Jorge) Benitez, Senior Fellow at the US Atlantic Council in Washington and NATOSource director, to discuss the North Atlantic Council's latest visit to Georgia and other important aspects in bilateral relations.  Excerpts of this interview ran on a VOA's program.  Here is the full interview: 

Interviews

Russian-Turkish détente nothing that Americans should be concerned about: Former US Ambassador to Turkey

by | August 30, 2016
Ross wilson cropped

Ross Wilson, former US Ambassador to Turkey, currently Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC summarizes latest developments in the Turkey-US and Turkey-Russia relations. The interview excerpts ran on the Voice of America’s program. Below is a transcript as recorded by Anna Kalandadze of VoA’s Georgian service.  What are some of the concrete results in US-Turkey relations after the Vice-President Biden’s latest trip to Ankara, has it resolved some of the difficulties in the bilateral context and will it solve the remaining ones? Ross Wilson: From the press accounts, it appears that the VP’s visit has helped to diffuse the idea in Turkey that US was somehow involved with the coup attempt.  Also, it seems it has helped with the Gulen issue - how specifically, I cannot really tell. But it’s important to me that the US Justice Department officials have met with the Turks several days ago to engage with them on the issue of Gulen and hopefully look forward to resolving that problem.  And third, on Syria, the visit has helped to clearly ...

Interviews

Interview: ‘Thinking Citizen’ and ethnic Azerbaijani activism in Georgia

by | June 17, 2016
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Ruslan Asad is an Azerbaijani civil society activist and a co-founder of the Thinking Citizen (Düşünən Vətəndaş) project, which brings together young representatives of Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijani community. He told DF Watch about the project’s aims, successes, and future plans in the context of issues faced by the community.

Interviews

Interview: Thomas de Waal on Georgia’s policy on Abkhazia

by | April 30, 2016
tom de w

The senior associate with Carnegie Europe specialising in the Caucasus region, the author of books Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War and The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas de Waal discusses the need for nuanced approaches in Georgian policy towards Abkhazia and the future of Abkhaz–Georgian relations.

Interviews

Unchallenged stereotypes blight Georgian–Armenian relations

by | October 18, 2015
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DF Watch discusses roots and manifestations of the anti-Armenian sentiment in Georgia with director of Cultural, Educational and Youth Centre Hayartun, Levon Chidilyan. DF Watch: Mr Chidilyan, how representative is Hayartun for Georgia’s Armenian c

Interviews

What was lost when a mining company destroyed the ancient Sakdrisi site?

by | September 8, 2015
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In December, 2014, an archaeological site in southern Georgia was destroyed by the Russian mining company RMG Gold. What was lost in the blasts at Sakdrisi? Professor Thomas Stöllner at the University of Bochum in Germany is one of the people

Interviews, News

Boris Iarochevitch: Georgia’s on track

by | August 24, 2015
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"I think that Georgia is almost there when it comes to fulfilling the visa liberalization action plan. Now it is up to the member states of the EU to decide. I think that people in Georgia deserve visa-free regime. I see no reason now to delay it further,'' says Boris Iarochevitch, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union since 2011, said.

Interviews

Activist: Russia stepping up anti-EU, pro-Eurasian Union efforts in Georgia

by | August 21, 2015
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has stepped up efforts to use 'soft power' in Georgia through state-sponsored non-governmental organizations and it would be difficult for the Caucasus nation to fend off pretensions of its assertive neighbor, the head of a Russian NGO says.

Interviews

Europe Needs a New Narrative

by | July 25, 2015
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New Eastern Europe A Bimonthly Dedicated to Central and Eastern Europe An interview with John Kornblum, American diplomat, businessman and former US ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. Interviewer: Matthew Luxmoore. Interview was

Interviews

Interview: Kenneth Yalowitz on how Georgia is developing

by | July 20, 2015
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DFWatch recently had a Skype chat with Kenneth Yalowitz, former US Ambassador to Georgia, to discuss current events in Georgia, its Euro-Atlantic integration and issues in the region. Yalowitz extended his condolences to the victims of a recent flood in Tbilisi

Interviews

Sleazy 90s transition – Paul Manning on “Shevardnadze Era” in Georgia

by | July 6, 2015
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TBILISI, DFWatch--When I heard Paul Manning, an anthropologist from Trent University (Canada) is visiting Tbilisi, I knew I had to meet him. Not only because of his papers on  toasts and supra culture, cartoons during the Rose Revolution, notion of terror in Pankisi,

Interviews

Interview: How has Georgia changed since 2012?

by | July 3, 2015
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Lincoln Mitchell, Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, recently visited Georgia to attend a conference in Batumi from 18th to 19th June Georgia’s European way. After arriving in Tbilisi Mitchell, who is a Georgia-analyst, met with us

Interviews

World famous game designer gets inspired by Georgian myths

by | March 1, 2015
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TBILISI, DFWatch--“Amirani is the legendary first Zombie, some worship him. Legend has it that he is the original Prometheus and still chained to the Caucasus Mountains, he brought fire to humans and half life to us. Three Angels made him

Interviews

Chemtai Yegon – a Kenyan woman living and teaching in Georgia

by | January 10, 2015
chemti tserakvi

When Chemtai Yegon, a young woman from Kenya, came to Georgia a few years ago to teach English and study Georgian, she faced a lot of challenges, like her first real winter with frost and snow, 'no one speaking English', and some encounters with aggressive

Interviews

Caucasus is caught between two ambitious powers

by | November 21, 2014
ronald_suny

Ukraine and the Caucasus countries are caught between two ambitious powers: Russia, which wants to have hegemony in the former Soviet space, and the United States, which wants global hegemony, according to Ronald G. Suny, professor of political science and history

Interviews

Interview: Francis Fukuyama on the war in Ukraine and NATO expansion

by | September 3, 2014
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Many Georgians are discussing how far Mr Putin will go in his attempt to subdue his neighbor Ukraine. Maybe he will take this important seaport of Mariupol and go to Odessa or even Kiev? What’s your opinion about the outcome of this conflict? I don’t really have a prediction about this

Interviews

Interview with Kenneth Yalowitz, former US ambassador to Georgia

by | August 24, 2014
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DFWatch: What’s your prediction, how will the situation around Ukraine evolve? Kenneth Yalowitz: What worries me is that you have a situation where the Ukrainian side is doing better militarily in Eastern Ukraine and we don’t know how the Russians are going

Interviews

German film director Stefan Tolz on living in Georgia

by | August 15, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--"Full Speed Westward" (Vollgas gen Westen) – this is the title of a new movie by German film director Stefan Tolz.  The movie opened in Georgia a few months ago and was well received. It is a documentary about Georgian reality, which shows

Interviews

Russia might intervene in Ukraine if major violence

by | June 21, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Right now we have a civil war in Ukraine, says peace researcher Johan Galtung. He warns that Russia might intervene with a 'short sharp shock' if ethnic Russians are subject to widespread violence in eastern Ukraine. Russia is deploying troops

Interviews

David Lidington explains the UK’s view on the Ukraine crisis

by | April 12, 2014
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TBILISI, DFWatch--We sat down with David Lidington, UK Minister for Europe, who visited on April 1-2, and asked him about Georgia's association agreement with the EU and whether NATO should set it on course for membership. Is it possible that Russia will bring pressure

Interviews

What is being discussed at the Geneva talks?

by | December 20, 2013
keti_tsikhelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The talks between the parties in the 2008 Georgia-Russia war will meet in Geneva for another round of talks on March 25-26. It is known that the OSCE heads of the meeting this time will be from Switzerland. The last round of Geneva talks was held

Interviews

Post-election talk with Georgia-analyst Lincoln Mitchell

by | November 25, 2013
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DF Watch talked with Georgia-analyst Lincoln Mitchell, Associate Professor at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. DFW: What has changed since July, when we last talked?L.M: The euphoria of winning an election, of unseating Saakashvili, of getting rid of

Interviews

Interview with the UK Ambassador to Georgia

by | October 24, 2013
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DF Watch sat down for talk with the recently appointed Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Georgia, Alexandra Hall Hall. DF Watch: The political situation in Georgia is interesting now, especially since we have presidential elections coming. What are your expectations?

Interviews

Ambassador Yalowitz: Georgia is moving in the right direction

by | August 30, 2013
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DFW: Almost eleven months have passed after Georgia’s parliamentary election of October 2012 when the Georgian Dream coalition defeated United National Movement and the entire politics changed. It led to a mixed response from the US. Now almost a year after the elections, what

Interviews

Ukraine and Georgia went different ways

by | July 10, 2013
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Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has made Georgia more free, while President Viktor Yanukovich made Ukraine less free when he came to power in 2010. Although the West's "golden kid" lost the election both places, and former officials have been prosecuted, what happened in the two countries is different,

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro about the latest survey

by | April 18, 2013
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DFWatch: What was the methodology of your latest survey? Were there any changes compared to the previous surveys that you’ve done in the past year? Luis Navarro: The methodology that we use is consistent. We use random route sampling; we use a Kish table

Interviews

The UK’s position on current developments in Georgia

by | March 15, 2013
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DF Watch spoke to Simon Fraser, the United Kingdom's Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, and David Moran, the UK's Ambassador to Georgia, about the current situation. DF Watch: What is the view of the UK of our domestic processes as we for the

Interviews

The world’s busiest interior minister

by | February 7, 2013
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TBILISI, DFWatch -- One would think Georgia’s fresh interior minister would have his hands full, as his government has enforced a mass amnesty which has freed more than three thousand prisoners, but Irakli Gharibashivli says the crime situation in the country hasn’t

Interviews

Georgia received complaint from another country about corruption

by | January 4, 2013
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Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze confirms in an interview with DF Watch that she has received a two page letter from a foreign country complaining about one of its citizens having been subjected to pressure from the previous Georgian government. She said a high

Interviews

How Ivanishvili will reform Georgia’s courts

by | January 2, 2013
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Deputy Minister of Justice Alexandre Baramidze says that there are many regulations in the current judicial system which contradict the Georgian constitution and international human rights principles. The reform of the court system which the Ministry of Justice has

Interviews

Ivanishvili says his focus is on the economy

by | December 21, 2012
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Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the main goal of the new government is to improve the economic situation and to strengthen the course of Euro-integration in the foreign policy, as well as to make certain steps to improve relations with Russia. DF Watch spoke with the

Interviews

Interview with Irakli Alasania

by | December 7, 2012
irakli alasania - candidate for defense minister

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania sat down with DF Watch to talk about the bilateral security and defense cooperation with the US which he said has already started. A few days ago bilateral consultations were held in Tbilisi

Interviews

What now for Georgian politics?

by | October 8, 2012
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A new coalition called Georgian Dream won a clear victory in the parliamentary election last week. Georgia-expert Lincoln Mitchell interprets the result. Did you expect these results?I believe last time we spoke, and certainly last time I was here, I mentioned that the NDI

Interviews

Likely scenarios for the election aftermath

by | September 17, 2012
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TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia expert Lincoln Mitchell sees several possible outcomes of the election, and explained to us his assessment of the situation. DFWatch: Your prognosis, your predictions about these elections, its outcomes are interesting.Lincoln Mitchell: Well, we don't know for sure

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro on the latest poll

by | September 8, 2012
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What are the main differences which occurred for the last survey compared to the last two surveys conducted by NDI?Most notable change since our last poll is that people's attitudes about Georgian democracy improved. So what we have seen over time is that people's

Interviews

Saakashvili is not indispensable to the United States

by | February 27, 2012
Lincoln_Mitchell_frontpage

What is most valuable to the U.S. in regards to Georgia is to have a leader who is supportive of the U.S., but also has democratic legitimacy. And there are plenty of politicians who could fulfill that precondition, according to Lincoln Mitchell, Associate at Columbia

Interviews

Too little transparency at the top

by | November 17, 2011
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The DFWatch interview: Mark Mullen In an interview with DFWatch, Mark Mullen notes that the main problem in Georgia is a lack of transparency at the senior levels. In terms of corruption, he thinks that there is no so-called elite corruption in Georgia, but still there is less transparency ‘at the top’. Regarding the media, he says that both government controlled and other channels have the same problems: there are  many important issues they don’t cover. The main problem with online media, as he sees it, is that they often fail to give the source of information. Mark Mullen has been living in Georgia since the late 90s. Comparing the Shevardnadze period with today’s situation he thinks that it’s much better now than it was before 2003. The government has done a lot of good things, but a there are still problems in the country. In his opinion, a Georgian billionaire’s sudden appearance is very good for the country. It’s a chance to have real political competition, which is good. Corruption DFWatch: You have been at Transparency International Georgia for many years, and this organization ...

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