Foreign policy analysis of Georgia (2016-2023) - what explains the shifts in Georgia’s foreign policy directions? A two-level analysis



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Tartu Ülikool


Georgia, the eastern European country situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, has often been praised for its ambitious democratic reforms, fighting corruption and developing economy during the last two decades. The Western community has broadly recognised Georgia’s democratic achievement. Against the background of Russia’s aggressive policy, Georgia’s foreign course has sharply been directed to alignment policy toward the West, particularly aspiring to NATO and EU integration, to secure itself from the hostile neighbour, which occupies nearly 20% of Georgian territories. Georgia has reached significant practical achievements in the Euro-Atlantic integration process under the incumbent government since 2012. Georgia was the leader in its democratic achievements among the Eastern-Partnership countries. However, the Georgian government’s latest practical action, statements, and anti-Western rhetoric, has questioned its existing Western-oriented foreign policy direction. Furthermore, Georgia deepened its ties with Russia, and the ruling party’s authorities avoided its criticism publicly. The fact that the alleged shift in Georgia's foreign policy direction is relatively new refers to the lack of academic literature that seeks to study this shift comprehensively. Therefore, this thesis addresses the research puzzle and asks two questions: How has Georgia's foreign policy changed from 2016 to 2023, and which factors are behind it? For this aim, primary and secondary sources will be analysed through the explanatory outcome process tracing method, allowing us to answer the research questions. Hermann’s theory of redirection and Holsti’s theory of restructuring will enrich the analysis to detect the level of the change and identify the critical triggers behind it on a domestic and international level.