Last month, massive protests erupted in Tbilisi against a so-called foreign influence bill that many argued would restrict media freedom and jeopardize Georgia’s EU aspirations. The bill was withdrawn, but the divisive issues it raised will remain salient and could further complicate Georgia’s efforts at European integration.
If Iran’s moves over the past couple months are any indication, Turkey’s growing influence in the South Caucasus, especially its alliance with Azerbaijan, has heightened Tehran’s sense of unease. Iran now sees the prospect of an arc of Turkey-aligned states emerging as a powerful Turkic alliance along its northern borders.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two successive waves of Russian “war refugees” have descended upon countries in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. The response from the receiving countries to date has been mixed, ranging from a welcoming attitude to downright hostility, in part due to the economic impact of the new arrivals.