Georgia’s Foreign Policy Discourses and Fragmented Political Public Sphere: A Pro-European Course on a Rocky Terrain?

David Matsaberidze

Abstract


The paper analyses prospects of popular perception and acceptance of the pro-European discourse in Georgia under fragmented public sphere due to contradictions between the pro-Western and pro-Russian foreign policy and cultural orientations. The pro-Russian camp promotes the idea of orthodox unity, portraying Russia as the key to restoration of country’s territorial integrity. The pro-Western camp, referring to the negative past experience of Georgia’s relations with the Tsarist, Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia considers the Euro-Atlantic integration as a security guarantee of Georgia and a precondition of its return into the European family from cultural and political point of view. Analysing various public opinion polls, policy papers and comparing them with the Index of the Kremlin influence in Georgia, the study juxtaposes Russia’s soft-power incursion vs. local responses through deconstructing the three main clusters of actions: politics, media and civil society. The study uncovers the extent to which soft-power policy of the EU could be gradually undermined through collision of historical-religious (Russian Orthodoxy) and cultural-value (liberal conception of the West) driven agendas in Georgia. Methodologically paper contrasts transformative positions of political actors on the one hand and tools and strategies of Kremlin’s dis-information incursion on the other hand, which lead to fragmentation of the public sphere. The research employs methods of qualitative analysis, namely the discourse-historical approach and process tracing, in its causal inference line, to reconstruct the changing social and political tendencies. Theoretically paper refers to Habermas’s elaborations on public sphere and to the concept of political public sphere in particular.

Keywords


Georgia, Pro-Western and Pro-Russian Discourses, Foreign Policy, Public Sphere

Full Text:

PDF

References


Beasley R, Snarr M (2013) Domestic and International Influences on Foreign Policy: A Comparative Perspective. In: Beasley R, Kaarbo J, Lantis JS, and Snarr M.T (eds) Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective – Domestic and International Influences on State Behaviour. CQpress, Sage Publications, 313-338.

Bennett, A. (2010) Process Tracing and Causal Inference. In: Brady H and Collier D (eds) Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards.2nd edition, Lanham, MD. Rowman and Littlefield, 207–219. http://polisci.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/people/u3827/Understanding%20Process%20Tracing.pdf (Accessed February, 2016).

Buzan B. (1998) Security, the State, the "New World Order" and Beyond, Columbia University Press, New York.

Buzan B, Waever O and Wilde J (1998) Security, A New Framework for Analysis, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Cecire MH (2013) Security and Symbolism: Georgia’s NATO Aspirations in Perspective. In: Kakachia K and Cecire M (eds) Georgian Foreign Policy – The Quest for Sustainable Security. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 111-124.

Connaway L, Powell R (2010) Basic Research Methods for Librarians, 5th edn; Santa Barbara, California; Denver, Colorado; Oxford, England. Greenwood Publishing Group.

CRRC-Georgia. (2010) Public Attitudes towards Elections in Georgia – survey conducted by the CRRC (Caucasian Research Resource Centres) under the order of the NDI (National Democratic Institute) https://www.ndi.org/files/Georgia_Public_Opinion_0410.pdf (Accessed December, 2016).

CRRC-Georgia. (November, 2012) Public attitudes in Georgia: Results of a November 2012, survey conducted by the CRRC (Caucasus Research Resource Centres) under the order of the NDI (National Democratic Institute). https://www.ndi.org/files/Georgia-Nov-2012-Survey-ENG.pdf) (Accessed December, 2016).

CRRC-Georgia. (2015) Public Opinion Survey Residents of Georgia February 3-28, survey conducted by the CRRC (Caucasian Research Resource Centres) under the order of the NDI (National Democratic Institute). http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/iri_georgia_public_2015_final_0.pdf (Accessed December, 2016).

CRRC-Georgia. (2016) Public attitudes in Georgia Results of a June 2016, survey conducted by the CRRC (Caucasian Research Resource Centres) under the order of NDI (National Democratic Institute). https://www.ndi.org/files/NDI_June_2016%20poll_Public%20Issues_ENG_VFF%20(1).pdf (Accessed December, 2016)

CRRC-Georgia. (2017) Public attitudes in Georgia (April), 2017 survey carried out for NDI by CRRC Georgia April, 2017, survey conducted by the CRRC (Caucasian Research Resource Centres) under the order of NDI (National Democratic Institute). https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI%20poll_April%202017_Foreign%20Affairs_ENG_vf.pdf

Dayan, D. (2001), The Peculiar Public Television, Media, Culture Society, 23(6), Sage Publications, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi, pp. 743-765.

Dayan, D. (2013), Overhearing in the Public Sphere, in Deliberately Considered – Informed Reflection on the Events of the Day, 24 February. (Retrieved from http://www.deliberatelyconsidered.com/2013/02/overhearing-in-the-public-sphere/ 02.08.2017)

Dayan, D. and Meyrowitz, J. (2000), Defining Media Events. High Holidays of Mass Communication, in Newcomb, H. (ed), Television: the Critical View, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 401-420

Detector Media (2017). Kremlin Influence Index, 2017. (Retrieved from http://mdfgeorgia.ge/eng/view_research/5 17.12.2017)

Dzvelishvili N and Kupreishvili T (2015) Russian Influence on Georgian NGOs and Media. Tbilisi. Available at: www. damoukidebloba.com, with support of IDFI, June

European Parliament – At a Glance: Understanding Propaganda and Disinformation, European Parliament, November, 2015. (Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2015/571332/EPRS_ATA(2015)571332_EN.pdf 16.12.2017)

European Initiative – Liberal Academy Tbilisi [EI-LAT].(2016) Threats of Russian Hard and Soft Power in Georgia, Tbilisi. Available at: http://www.ei-lat.ge/images/doc/threats%20of%20russian%20soft%20and%20hard%20power.pdf (Accessed August, 2016)

Erikson J Noreen E (2002) Setting the Agenda of Threats: An Explanatory Model.Uppsala Peace Research Papers, Uppsala University.

Falkowski M (2016) Georgian Drift – The Crisis of Georgians Way Westwards. Centre for Eastern Studies, Working Paper 57, Warsaw.

Gordadze T (2014) Georgia, LSE IDEAS, Reports, June 27. Available at:http://www.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/pdf/SR019/SR019-Gordadze.pdf(Accessed August, 2016)

Habermas, J. (1992), Further Reflections on the Public Sphere, in: Calhoun, C. (ed), Habermas and the Public Sphere, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, pp. 421-461.

Habermas, J., Lennox, S., Lennox, F. (1974) The Public Sphere Encyclopedia Article (1964), by Jurgen Habermas, in New German Critique, N3, (Autumn), pp. 49-55.

(IFES, 2014). Elections in Georgia 2014 Local Self-Government Elections Frequently Asked Questions. Europe and Asia International Foundation for Electoral Systems. June 9. (Retrieved from https://www.ifes.org/sites/default/files/2014_ifes_local_elections_georgia_faqs.pdf 25.06.2018).

ISGP (2007). Inauguration Speeches of the Presidents of Georgia [ISPG] (1991-2004), Institute of Political Science, Publishing House “AkhaliAzri,” Tbilisi. (in Georgian Language).

Jones S, Kakhishvili L (2013). The Interregnum: Georgian Foreign Policy from Independence to the Rose Revolution. In: Kakachia K and Cecire M (eds). Georgian Foreign Policy – The Quest for Sustainable Security, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 13-40.

Kaarbo J, Lantis JS and Beasley R (2013) The Analysis of Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective. In Beasley R, Kaarbo J, Lantis JS and Snarr MT (eds)Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective – Domestic and International Influences on State Behavior. CQpress: Sage Publications, 1-21.

Kakachia K (2013) European, Asian, or Eurasian?: Georgian Identity and the Struggle for Euro-Atlantic Integration. In: Kakachia K and Cecire M (eds) Georgian Foreign Policy – The Quest for Sustainable Security. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 41-52.

Karaganov, S. (2014), The Watershed Year: Interim Result – A Chance for a Fundamental Renewal, Russia in Global Affairs, 12(4), pp. 8-19

Lebanidze B (2016) Democracy under Stress: Western Fatigue, Russian Resurgence and Their Implications for Democratic Processes in Georgia. Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) Policy Paper, February, Tbilisi.

Lutsevych, O. (2016). Agents of the Russian World - Proxy Groups in the Contested Neighbourhood. Research Paper, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House. April. (Retrieved from https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/publications/research/2016-04-14-agents-russian-world-lutsevych.pdf 30.06.2018)

[MSR] Munich Security Report: Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order? 2017. (Retrieved from http://espas.eu/orbis/sites/default/files/generated/document/en/MunichSecurityReport2017.pdf 15.12.2017)

NDI (2015). Public Attitudes in Georgia, August. (Retrieved from https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI_August_2015_Survey_public%20Political_ENG_vf.pdf Accessed January, 2018)

NDI (2015). Public Attitudes in Georgia, November. https://caucasusbarometer.org/en/downloads/ (Accessed December, 2016)

NDI (2016). Public Attitudes in Georgia, Results of a June survey carried out for NDI by the CRRC Georgia https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI_June_2016%20poll_Public%20Issues_ENG_VFF%20%281%29.pdf (Accessed January, 2018)

NDI (2016). Public attitudes in Georgia Results of a November survey carried out for NDI by CRRC Georgia https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI_November%202016%20poll_Issues_ENG_vf.pdf (Accessed January, 2018)

NDI (2017) Public attitudes in Georgia. Results of April survey carried out for NDI by CRRC Georgia https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI_April_2017_political%20Presentation_ENG_version%20final.pdf (Accessed January, 2018).

NDI (2017) Public attitudes in Georgia Results of a June survey carried out for NDI by CRRC Georgia. https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI%20poll_June_2017_Political_ENG_final.pdf (Accessed January, 2018).

Nodia G (2013) Divergent Interests: What Can and Cannot be Achieved in Georgian-Russian Relations. In Kakachia K and Cecire M (eds) Georgian Foreign Policy – The Quest for Sustainable Security, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 81-110.

Nilsson, N. (2018). Russian Hybrid Tactics in Georgia, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program. http://isdp.eu/content/uploads/2018/01/Russian-Hybrid-Tactics-in-Georgia.pdf (Accessed June, 2018).

Norman, F. (1995). Critical Discourse Analusis: The Critical Study of Language. Longman.

Polyakova, A. (2016A), Putinism and the European Far Right, Institute of Modern Russia, 19 January. (Retrieved from http://imrussia.org/en/analysis/world/2500-putinism-and-the-european-far-right 01.03.2016)

Raines, T., Goodwin, M., and Cutts, D. (2017). The Future of Europe – Comparing Public and Elite Attitudes. Research Paper. Chatham House – The Royal Institute of International Affairs, June (Retrieved from https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/publications/research/2017-06-20-future-europe-attitudes-raines-goodwin-cutts-final.pdf 26.12.2017)

[RNSS 2015]. Russian National Security Strategy, Russian Federation Presidential Edict N683 approving appended text of “The Russian Federation’s National Security Strategy,” December 2015. http://www.ieee.es/Galerias/fichero/OtrasPublicaciones/Internacional/2016/Russian-National-Security-Strategy-31Dec2015.pdf (Accessed December, 2017)

Sharashenidze T (2015) A Dangerous Vacuum in Georgian Politics, European Council on Foreign Relations. Available at: http://www.ecfr.eu/article/a_dangerous_vacuum_in_georgian_politics3056 (Accessed August, 2016)

Thomas G (2016) Western Invasion? Inside Georgia's Battle against the Gay Agenda, CBN News, November 05. Available at: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2016/may/pumpkinflowers-a-soldiers-unflinching-look-at-modern-war (Accessed December, 2016).

Weaver, O. (2011). Politics, Security, Theory, in Security Dialogue, Vol. 42, Issue 4-5, August-October, pp. 465-480

Walker, C. (2017), A New Era of Competition – The Growing Threat from Authoritarian Internationalism as a Global Challenge to Democracy, in The Fight for Democracy – International Reports, Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, N2, Vol. 33, Berlin.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.