- Medea Turashvili, EDSN 2021
- Archil Gegeshidze, Levan Mikeladze Foundation
- Chaired by Aleko Scrivener, Executive Director, Democratic Security Institute
Date: 21 December, 2022, 18:00 Tbilisi time
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For over a decade, Georgian policy on its Russia-occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has remained in stasis on the assumption that no realistic chance of reintegration exists in the context of overwhelming Russian military superiority. But as the war in Ukraine continues to go badly for Putin, and the prospect of a total Russian defeat is no longer the realm of science fiction, we ask, is it time to reassess and take re-engagement with these regions seriously again?
This scenario is but one among many that could emerge from the battlefields of Ukraine. But any outcome will have a great impact on Georgia and its occupied territories. The questions for Georgian (and international) policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia are many and answers so far few:
- Does Georgia still have a coherent policy vis-à-vis the occupied regions now?
- In the event of a crisis-imposed relative Russian disengagement from the Caucasus, how should Georgia react – not only regarding its own occupied regions but also in the North Caucasus?
- Can ‘status-neutral’ forms of engagement offer an alternative to full Russian domination?
- How does Georgia deal with the reality that even without Russian occupation, decades of segregation and tension have meant that there is little appetite amongst ethnic-Abkhaz or Ossetians for any kind of shared future?
- In a political reality where the poles of Abkhaz and Ossetian politics are ‘pro-independence’ and ‘pro-Russian integration’, is there utility for Georgia in encouraging the former over the latter?
- And could Georgia – ironically – be these regions’ best hope for genuine self-determination?
The Democratic Security Institute (DSI) is an independent, non-partisan thinktank based in Tbilisi, Georgia. We are a team of policy and civil society professionals who are passionate about the power of democracy to bring security, social justice and prosperity to people living in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Growing out of the Eurasia Democratic Security Network (EDSN) project as part of the Center for Social Sciences, DSI was established in 2022 as a separate organisation.