The Import of Speaking Publicly About Democracy in Georgia


For most of the time since Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003, concerns about the increasingly less democratic nature of Georgia’s regime, which people in Washington began to notice sometime around 2008, were always raised privately. A trip to Tbilisi by a visiting U.S. official would include public congratulations to the Georgian government for its democratic credentials, while concerns about the lack of media freedom, recent electoral or legal shenanigans, or the growing centralization of political power were made privately and discreetly. Similarly, Georgian officials visiting Washington were publicly greeted with platitudes about the strength of Georgian democracy, while concerns were, again, raised privately These warnings were generally politely ignored by the Georgian government who continued doing as it pleased while seeking to persuade the Georgian people that Saakashvili was uniquely able to win financial and political support for Georgia.