Georgia, Elections, & the Great Game

by Nathan Hamm on 4/1/2004

There were, um, these big important elections and stuff in Georgia on Sunday. Because of all that’s gone on in Uzbekistan, I’ve failed to really say anything about what happened. Luckily, other fine folks (one in particular) are doing that for me. Sean-Paul has a superb article making the point that Georgian events might as well be considered a continuation of the Cold War.

Call me a heartless bastard if you will, but I’m not one to argue for purity in our foreign relations, so let me just say that, all things considered, I’m a fan of today’s Great Game as I’d rather have US than Russian influence in the Caucasus. We’re no angels, but honestly, it’s us or them. Not that Russians are hideous or anything, they’re just a whole lot better at turning a blind eye to tyranny and human rights abuse. And judging from the shoddy workmanship of Soviet infrastructure development in the Republics, I’d rather not have Russian companies building things like oil pipelines and whatnot [though I am an admitted ignoramus about the quality of current Russian construction projects].

Anyway, Saakashvili’s party has prevailed and the only thing I’ve seen that jumped out as interesting is that Abashidze wants to hold a referendum in Ajaria to see who the people really voted for. Why? His party didn’t make the threshold to get into parliament. I think this is a case of “Do-over! I didn’t get to fix the vote well enough!”

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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