Georgia: A True Democrat?

La Russophobe says that the decision by Mikhail Saakashili to hold an early presidential election is sign that the Georgian president is a “true democrat.” The blog argues that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, would not have done the same under similar circumstances.


  • The flip side is that Russia is more stable than Georgia, because the former’s population doesn’t have as many gripes against its government when compared to the ongoing post-Soviet chaotic conditions in Georgia.

    Remember those Latin American despots who blamed the Commies as cover for their own negative aspects?

    A number of Cold War era client states would go thru periodic regime changes, with US media being at times overly optimistic about the newly installed figure.

    Saakashvili continues to blame Russia for his problems. After awhile, this claim wears off.

    In some circles, Saakashvili is now being spun as a disappointment, as if there were no prior signs of his flaws. Saakashvili has been a fairly frequent guest on Charlie Rose, where he has received carte blanche.

  • And let’s not forget that the term “true democrat” is an extremely relative one when applied to any of the post-Soviet states — or even Russia itself, which has consistently tinkered with the realities of what democracy requires, to the point where many (at least in the US) would argue that it is closer to neo-authoritarianism than it is to liberal democracy. The smaller states of the old USSR have it even worse in many cases, as it is with Georgia. Not to make any excuses, but it is difficult to run democracy by the book when you have ongoing ethnic conflicts within your borders, battles back and forth over regions such as South Ossetia, Abkazia and Ajaria, and economic battles with Russia over wine and gas.

    Saakashili seems to have pulled the trigger on martial law wayyyy too soon, but beyond that, I’ve not seen a whole lot of evidence of his lack of a commitment to democratic reforms. I admit I’ve not followed the Georgia-Russia relations closely since I finished some graduate coursework in Russian politics two years ago so I’ll ask: what’s the evidence that Russia is fomenting these protests?

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