Russia’s coronavirus spike threatens the whole region

bne IntelliNews October 20, 2021

Vaccine scepticism means just under a third of the Russian population is vaccinated and the government admitted last week that it had “lost the information campaign” to persuade its people to take the pandemic seriously.

Saakashvili’s return: more shrewd than it seemed?

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi October 18, 2021

The need to refocus the Georgian opposition around both the UNM and – perhaps more importantly – himself, seems to have played a major role in Saakashvili’s return.

Georgia’s domestic exports strengthen on high metal prices

bne IntelliNews October 14, 2021

Compared to the pre-crisis period January-September 2019, Georgia’s exports increased by 9% to $2.98bn, while imports advanced by only 3.3% y/y to $7.03bn.

Russia proposes “3+3” format to unlock economic and transport communications in Caucasus

bne IntelIiNews October 6, 2021

Moscow’s move comes amid high tensions as Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey flex muscles with military exercises.

Inflation in Georgia eases to 12.3% y/y in September after eight months of gains

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest October 6, 2021

Central bank sees 10.6% by Q1 next year.

Threat of new EU travel restrictions looms ahead of Western Balkan summit

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow, Ben Aris in Berlin October 5, 2021

Ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit on October 6, a leaked EU document revealed that several EU member states are seeking to restrict visa-free travel for some nationals from the region as well as other East European countries.

Quantifying the Caucasus’ gains from BRI trade

Eurasianet September 28, 2021

Two new papers find that Georgia and Azerbaijan would gain more from improving trade with their neighbours than pursing a place on the Belt and Road.

New study adds to Caucasus’ brag sheet: Cradle of lettuce

David Trilling for Eurasianet September 23, 2021

Geneticists say the popular vegetable was first domesticated in the region.

Georgia flooded with leaked surveillance recordings of clergy

Tornike Mandaria for Eurasianet September 20, 2021

The massive release of “kompromat” focused on the country’s powerful church but also provided evidence of state snooping on journalists, politicians and diplomats.

BUCHAREST BLOG: Romania’s anti-corruption struggle still inspiring its neighbours

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow September 19, 2021

With relatively few true success stories in the fight against corruption in emerging Europe, the efforts of the Romanian DNA to bring corrupt officials to book remain one of the few shining lights of the anti-corruption struggle in the region.

Georgian tourism struggles to recover

Manana Vardiashvili for IWPR September 16, 2021

Once a key economic driver, the sector has been hard hit by COVID-19 and political turbulence.

Memoir | 9/11 shifted the world. In Central Asia, diplomatic frenzy ensued

Richard E. Hoagland for Eurasianet September 10, 2021

Behind the scenes with an American negotiator who helped forge a radical new level of US engagement in Central Asia after 9/11.

As Georgia rebuffs the West, investors reconsider

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi September 10, 2021

Country's image as a business haven seems to have reached its limits. Raft of scandals, major failed investment deals and a corrupt, unreformed judiciary have nearly ground investment to a halt.

Unpacking Eurasia’s role in the Afghanistan evacuation

Eurasianet September 3, 2021

Most of the countries Eurasianet covers were involved in the airlift. Some even contributed troops during the 20-year war.

Kazakhstan wheat redirected away from Afghanistan

Almaz Kumenov for Eurasianet August 26, 2021

Iran and Georgia considered as alternatives.

500 sheep killed by lightning strike in southern Georgia

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi August 24, 2021

More than 500 sheep were killed after being hit by a lightning strike at a pasture in the Ninotsminda region in southern Georgia.

Baltic states ‘block Georgian PM’s official visit plans amid Tbilisi failure to crack down on far right’

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi August 5, 2021

Report says officials upset by perceived unwillingness of Tbilisi to punish those responsible for violence against journalists and LGBTQ activists that resulted in cancellation of Tbilisi Pride event.

COLCHIS: Where is Strategic Communications Headed in Georgia?

Mariam Takaishvili of the Eurasia Democratic Security Network August 5, 2021

Dramatically rising prices, rioting over the Tbilisi pride and protests against the ruling Georgian Dream party are undermining the country’s reputation as a liberal reformer and weakening the government’s ability to communicate with voters

Georgia’s Western honeymoon – coming to an end?

Neil Hauer in Tbilisi August 4, 2021

For the Georgian Dream government, its failure to respond to far-right mobs hunting LGBTQ activists and beating journalists was a PR disaster. Critics say it’s time for US and EU to wake up to its shift towards illiberalism.

Chunky inflation growth takes Georgia’s headline rate to 11.9% y/y in July

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest August 4, 2021

Arguments in favour of a rate hike have accumulated.