Comment articles from our contributors

Maestro – the channel that doesn’t lie

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

It might sound like stating the obvious when a TV company markets itself by saying 'we are the ones who don't lie to you'. But in Georgia, it is not a given that TV don't fabricate news. It is actually the easiest way to set yourself apart from the current national networks. Georgia has in recent [...]

Reasons Behind Unjustly Low Monetary Compensation for Victims of Soviet Era Repressions

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Monetary compensation, awarded to victims of Soviet political repressions and/or their heirs through national court proceedings, has remained one of the most widely discussed issues in Georgian society for more than a year. Not long ago, even “Rustavi 2,” Georgia’s most watched TV network, dedicated a special report to the subject during one of its popular [...]

The new political centre and the new chance

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The autumn of 2011 was marked with increased political activity in Georgia. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a wealthy Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s emergence on the Georgian political scene as a major opposition figure was widely regarded in Georgia as an event of the same magnitude as the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. [...]

Neo-patrimonial Society and Hybrid Regime in Georgia

By | November 22nd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

On Monday, November 21, 2011, in the conference hall of the Georgian Parliament Library, I was to hold a presentation on the topic: “Government’s Dilemma in a Neo-patrimonial Society: Institutionalisation of Democracy or Destruction of Clientelism?“ The presentation was blocked by an invisible hand phone call - one of three invited members of parliament or the [...]

Guarantees of Impartiality for Georgian Juries

By | November 21st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nowadays, in Georgia jury trials are the hot topic. The first ever jury trial in Georgian legal history has returned a guilty verdict in an aggravated murder case in Tbilisi City Court. Even this first practice with jury trials has revealed some legislative flaws relating to outside influence on the jury, which most definitely comes from [...]

Election-year budget or election budget?

By | November 20th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

An election year budget is seen by economists is significantly different from a non-election year budget. In this regard, the budget expenditure is very interesting, which represents the government expenditure policy in the forms of various activities. In the budget expenditure part we see expenses, which can be directly or non-directly considered as to increase the [...]

Proactive Transparency in Georgia

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

The “Institute for Development of Freedom of Information” has been conducting monitoring the level of informational transparency of the official web-pages of public institutions of Georgia for already a few years, starting from 2009. The results of the 2010 study, the evaluation parameters and the methodology are placed on the web-site of the institute:  http://www.idfi.ge/?cat=monitoring_2010_new&lang=en It [...]

We and the conflict regions population

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

"Disobedient Satellites" First tour of the presidential elections was held in the former South Ossetia on November 13. Kremlin candidate Bibilov, who was openly supported by the Russian Presidential administration and Prime Minister Putin, not only failed to gain a convincing victory, but gathered only 25% of the votes. Not even a speech of Konstantin Kasachov, [...]

Employment and Unemployment Trends in Georgia

By | November 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

In order to assess the economic condition of a country, economists look at a various number of statistics. Besides the level of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that measures the country’s economic output, one statistic that attracts attention from the economists as well as the general public is the unemployment rate in the country. Unemployment imposes [...]

Judiciary’s Inadequate Level of Transparency as an Intended Governmental Policy

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

The judiciary’s inadequate level of transparency remains both a main issue and challenge in Georgia. Though the judicial system has undergone numerous reforms in recent years, these reforms did not preserve or promote a more open judiciary, and in fact, judicial transparency was targeted most effectively by the establishment of a closed court system. As a [...]

Georgian Competition Way to EU

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

  “Antitrust laws … are the Magna Carta of free enterprise. They are as important to the preservation of economic freedom and our free-enterprise system as Bill of Rights is to the protection of our fundamental personal freedoms.” (The Supreme Court, United States v. Topco Associates, Inc. 1972)   Georgia heads towards integration into the EU, [...]

Strictest Punishments for Minor Violations and Ignored Human Rights

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Around 4 000 people are sentenced to administrative imprisonment in Georgia every year. Administrative imprisonment is a purely Soviet mechanism, which remains in effect only in some post-Soviet countries (with the exception of Germany and Austria, where it operates in a different way) and which is broadly used and utilized to the full extent in Georgia. [...]

Waiting for the next exam

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Neither the government, nor the opposition, nor civil society passed the democracy exam on November 7, 2007.  I’m not writing memoirs about November 7, 2007; nor am I writing a requiem for the young Georgian state. I don’t even want to remember the government's hot-headed actions – how they showed no mercy to citizens or even media equipment. [...]

Legal review of the case of Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ekaterine Khvedelidze

By | November 5th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The reason of writing this article is an unstoppable speculation of the government representatives regarding the revocation of citizenship of Bidzina Ivanishvili and his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze and the allegations that the revocation was a result of obtaining French citizenship and thereby violating the Georgian constitution by both of them. I have already noted a number [...]

Risk of corruption in Georgia

By | November 4th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

“Georgia is number one country fighting corruption”- we frequently hear this message from Georgian Government. Government representatives talk about the achievements in fighting corruption but their opponents underline number of failures in this regards. There are also talks about elite corruption as well and some people think such kind of corruption exists in the upper bureaucracy [...]

Open Government Partnership Initiative and Georgia – New Challenges

By | November 1st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

On August 30, 2011, Georgia responded to the invitation of the President of the United States Barack Obama and the Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and officially expressed its readiness to actively participate in the Open Government Partnership initiative as “a regional leader” and to address the challenges of open governance in the 21st century http://www.opengovpartnership.org/countries/georgia . [...]

Should we expect more unexpected initiatives regarding party financing?

By | October 31st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

On 22 October, local non-government organizations met representatives of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Justice. At the meeting, the Ministry declared that it intends to present legislative initiatives regarding party financing to the parliament of Georgia which would reflect the recommendations offered by local and international organizations (GRECO, CoU) meant to deal with corruption [...]

Drawbacks of a speedy legislative process

By | October 31st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

After the “Rose Revolution” a period of numerous reforms started in Georgia. Mostly, reforms required to amend legislation and thus, to hold parliamentary discussions. Unfortunately, the Parliament of Georgia step-by-step lost a role of a place, where professional discussion should take place on every presented amendment. First reason of that is an ownership of constitutional majority [...]

“We Are Unafraid of Saakashvili’s Attempt at a Pre-Halloween Massacre”

By | October 31st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

More than a decade ago, Mikheil Saakashvili got his start in Georgian politics in the Tbilisi city council – before the Rose Revolution and the toppling of Eduard Shevardnadze that brought Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) to power. Despite all the changes Georgia has witnessed since that time, back then the capital [...]

The 2011 political wine season

By | October 27th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|

The year 2011 proved itself strange. Saakashvili’s government had long been creating many difficulties for its citizens – economic, legal, political. Unhappy people hoped for the opposition. The opposition split into two parts; one focusing on protest rallies, the other on improving the election environment. Neither was able to undermine or even shake Saakashvili's government. People [...]

If Georgia wants to have fair elections…

By | October 24th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

A number of circumstances determine fairness of elections in Georgia. Among them are the electoral system, transparency of political party financing, the scale of the use of administrative resources for the purpose of party campaigning, accuracy of the voters’ list, the level of civic education, the existence of free media, independent judiciary, active civil society and [...]

“Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood”

By | October 24th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

How Will Saakashvili Chart His Path Into the History Books? The last couple weeks have probably not been fun ones for Georgia’s government, or, more aptly, the political machinery that has long ensured its lock on power. Until now, with comfortably high poll ratings from 2008 to the present, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement didn’t [...]

Access to public information in Georgia

By | October 22nd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

“According to the survey, which was carried out in 80 counties of the world, Georgia is the first country after New Zealand in terms of the most effective and transparent functioning of the state office. Nothing to say about Russia, Venezuela and other countries, even France, Germany and Japan are behind us in the list of [...]

State of the Judiciary in Georgia

By | October 21st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The quality and degree of democracy and freedom in a state, among some other factors, depends on the level of judicial independence. The principle that the judiciary must be independent from both legislative and executive branches of government is built in a constitutional idea of the separation of powers. Furthermore, judicial independence is one of the [...]

10 years after the peace plan

By | October 20th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , |

Almost 10 years have passed since the UN, in an attempt to help solve the Abkhaz conflict, launched the Document on "Distribution of Competences between Sukhumi and Tbilisi". Basically, this was an effort to have the Abkhaz and the Georgian sides to the conflict sit down at the negotiating table and work out modalities for a [...]

Myths about the Georgian Economy

By | October 18th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

During the reforming of post-revolutionary Georgia’s economy, significant experience has been accumulated in this field, both positive and negative. A plethora of myths about post-revolutionary Georgia have been created. The most accepted myths about Georgia’s economy need to be debunked. Myth 1: “Georgia—A Country of Neo-Liberal Reforms” Georgia received this status thanks to the enumerated successes [...]

Improving the election environment in Georgia

By | October 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Georgian society has a history of discussions, disputes, criticism and disagreements around the election environment and election legislation. As an new election approaches, the Parliament of Georgia starts a process of amending the Election Code, and as a rule, a few months prior to the elections significant amendments are made to the legislation. Again the county [...]

Disenfranchisement of a Georgian Tycoon: Was It Lawful?

By | October 12th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In just a couple of days after Bidzina Ivanishvili, a Georgian billionaire known internationally as Boris Ivanishvili, had announced his plans to establish his own political party, to run for the parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013, to win decisively both elections, and to set up a new one-party government, the Georgian authorities [...]