Visa free for Abkhaz and Osset Geo passport holders, Court about to decide wether to silence Rustavi 2 special clip, OSCE chair in town Janelidze DC trip, Tibilov furthers Alaniazation, Russian troops in S Ossetia inspected, Batumi Gulen school shut down because Erdogan said so, Maglaperidze kills Public Broadcaster, Kobakhidze on Constitutional Court, Ugulava interview, trans murderer gets 13 years, trans attack in nightclub, Imedi consolidates control of news, Azoti strike, Russian abduction, inflation 4, new hotels, labor problems at Fresco, Geo wine in France, Riga tourism, Glurjidze movie new heights, Rachvelishvili award, veto override judicial law, pedestrians, Muradashvili on Rustavi 2, Navarro on Misha

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  1. The MEME this week is a clip from the Imedi program Risk Factor, where their reporter gets up close and personal with the truly awful situation facing pedestrians in Tbilisi. It’s something we’ve all seen before, but the clip is worth checking out, anyway.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2k7TbKT


    Luis Navarro writing for the Atlantic Council has a fantastic piece on the rise and fall of Misha, who will probably never get another chance in Georgia and whose Ukrainian project is unlikely to get anywhere. The National Movement now has only seven current MPs, and Misha is barred by residency requirements from running for Ukraine’s presidency in 2019. His only chance is to try for prime minister with his new political party, New Force for Ukraine, but by all accounts, they aren’t very popular, and they’re really just a personal vehicle for Misha. In Navarro’s view, Misha’s greatest enemy has always been the same as his greatest and only interest: himself.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kMfBmS

    Michael Cecire writing for Foreign Affairs discusses the peculiar motivation behind Russia’s recent foreign adventures: state branding. Russia is less concerned with concrete interests and more concerned with looking and acting like a superpower with a global reach, both in front of foreign and domestic audiences. Case in point is the August War, when Russia quickly and easily achieved its stated goal of defending South Ossetia from Georgian aggression. Opening a second front in Abkhazia and penetrating deep into Georgian territory weren’t necessary to achieve that goal, but did send a message about Russia’s renewed military might.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kqFkQO

    Lincoln Mitchell has a new Georgia Analysis, this one devoted to a new security strategy for Georgia. With Trump in the White House and the high likelihood that NATO loses its relevance or at least refuses to let in any new members, Georgia should stop viewing foreign policy in terms of a US-Russia binary. A new national security strategy needs to take a more global perspective. Hedging is important, so deeper ties with China are a good idea. Most importantly, though, Georgia needs to send a message to Russia, the West, and elsewhere, that it has more value as a functioning sovereign state than as a conflict region.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2luZKsE

    Giorgi Lomsadze writing for EurasiaNet covers Georgia’s promise to extend visa liberalization benefits to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. That hasn’t been popular with the de facto authorities or Moscow, who instead want the EU to start accepting visa applications from the breakaway territories. That’s unlikely to happen.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kqCsmN

    Liz Fuller for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty covers the name change referendum in South Ossetia, in particular taking a close look at how the name change is related to the politics of unification with Russia.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kqpyW8

    BBC looks at Georgia and its quixotic quest to be accepted into the Rugby Six Nations. Georgia has outgrown its outsider status, having won the Rugby Europe Championship six times and performing well at the most recent World Cup. They’re also ranked higher than Italy, which is in the Six Nations. Unfortunately, the organization has ruled out any promotion or relegation, at least anytime soon.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kSSYzP

    Judy Dempsey writing for Carnegie Europe discusses the attraction of Trumpism and Putinism in Europe. Trump views NATO and the EU as useless, obsolete organizations that weaken their member states. Putin sees them as exactly the opposite, which is why he’s so opposed to them. The biggest threat to both organizations is that their members start looking to make bilateral deals with either the US or Russia. The answer? European leaders need to come up with a serious agenda for dealing with Trump and providing tougher resistance to Putin.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kXgqLG

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