Georgia’s Pro-Western Policy Looks to Weather Government Shakeups

Georgia’s Pro-Western Policy Looks to Weather Government Shakeups
The newly appointed Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili at a news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, Nov. 5, 2014 (AP photo by Shakh Aivazov).

The abrupt firing of Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania last week has triggered the country’s most serious political crisis since the Georgian Dream-led coalition government came to power in October 2012. The departure of Alasania, popular at home and widely respected abroad, has raised questions about the durability of Georgia’s pro-Western foreign policy. But although Alasania spearheaded badly needed reforms in the Defense Ministry and was regarded as a guarantor of pro-Western policies within the coalition, his departure is unlikely to disrupt Georgia’s foreign policy—for now.

The immediate origins of the crisis were the arrests of senior Defense Ministry officials in early November on corruption charges. Alasania, who was on a working trip to Europe at the time, strongly backed his subordinates and criticized the arrests as an “attack on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic choice,” implying that they were motivated and orchestrated by anti-Western forces within the coalition. In response, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili sacked Alasania while reiterating the government’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration.

Alasania’s firing only deepened the crisis. Euro-Atlantic Integration Minister Alexi Petriashvili and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, both members of Alasania’s Free Democrats party, announced their own resignations, followed by a slate of other officials. On Nov. 5, the Free Democrats formally exited the coalition, throwing Georgian Dream’s parliamentary majority into doubt.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.