The former Soviet state of Georgia threw off its corrupt and undemocratic government in the "Rose Revolution" of November, 2003. Today, the new government under President Mikheil Saaskashvili faces complex security problems both within and outside Georgia's borders. Statehood and Security looks at the many different layers of these challenges and explores the complicated ways they intersect and influence one another. It argues that Georgia's problems need to be taken seriously by the rest of the world and considers what Georgia, its regional neighbors, and the West can do—within the realm of the politically feasible—to improve the situation in ways that enhance the security of all concerned.
For Georgia, as for the other post-Soviet states, security begins at home. Internal conflicts, including the intractable issue of the reintegration of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, threaten Georgia's territorial integrity. Regional conflict—including the quasi-state of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the effect of the ongoing Chechen insurgency on Russia—defines Georgia's relations with its neighbors and distracts it from its internal problems. The chapters in Statehood and Security, written by both Georgian and non-Georgian authors, examine such topics as Georgian national identity; the inefficacy of state institutions because of corruption, criminal activity, and paramilitary groups; Georgia's troubled relationship with Russia, including Russia's role in Abkhazia; and the role of the West.
About the Editor
Bruno Coppieters is Associate Professor of Political Science at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
"Balanced, insightful, and authoritative—this examination of a strategically important nation at a crucial moment in its emergence as an independent democracy could hardly be timelier. Georgia's attainment of stability, security, and successful statehood matters not just to its own people, but to its neighbors (including Russia), and to the entire international community. This book explains why and elucidates the complexities of the challenge."
—Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution
"A fragile state in a dangerous neighborhood, the fractured Republic of Georgia faces serious security problems and foreign policy challenges. In this unique volume, editors Bruno Coppieters and Robert Legvold have gathered the leading regional experts to explore how this ancient state might deal with its uncertain future. Georgia could well be the next international flashpoint between a post-imperial Russia looking longingly at the remnants of its former empire and the United States extending its influence into a troubled area far from home."
—Ronald Suny, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Chicago
"The need for a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the security challenges facing Georgia today is finally satisfied by this superb volume. A distinguished group of Georgian and Western authors offer subtle treatments of the broad range of internal and external threats to Georgia's security, including excellent treatments of Georgian-Russian relations, the conflict over Abkhazia, and the importance of Georgia for regional stability. It is hard to imagine a more timely contribution to this critical subject."
—Gail W. Lapidus, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for International Studies