About the event
In October 2012, Georgia held parliamentary elections whose outcome caught virtually all observers by surprise. Since achieving a peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections last fall, Georgia has faced difficult obstacles to developing durable democratic institutions. Despite its trials and challenges, Georgia remains an outlier relative to the Eurasian authoritarian standard, and the fate of democracy there is important for a number of reasons, including the power of its demonstration effect. The experts on this panel examined the key issues that Georgia must address in order for the country to move in the direction of greater democratic accountability.
Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr.
Hudson Institute, Ilia State University (Tbilisi)
Thomas de Waal
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
National Endowment for Democracy
International Forum for Democratic Studies
About the speakers
Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author of an article on Georgia in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Democracy. Since 2006, he has been living in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he is also professor of Soviet and post-Soviet systems at Ilia State University. Fairbanks previously served as a research professor of international relations and the director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He served as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State and a member of the department’s policy planning staff. Fairbanks has also taught on the political science faculty of both Yale University and the University of Toronto.
Thomas de Waal is a senior associate in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he specializes primarily in the South Caucasus, as well as the wider Black Sea region. De Waal is an acknowledged expert on the unresolved conflicts of the South Caucasus: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabach, and South Ossetia. His latest book is The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Miriam Lanskoy is the director of Russia and Eurasia programs at the National Endowment for Democracy. Before coming to the NED, she worked for the Institute for the Study of Conflict Ideology and Policy at Boston University, where she was awarded a doctorate in international affairs for her dissertation on the Russian-Chechen conflict. She has published articles in the Journal of Democracy, The SAIS Review of International Affairs, and The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and has appeared at numerous conferences and appeared on the PBS Newshour to discuss developments in the region. She has also testified in Congress. Her book, The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost, co-authored with Ilyas Akhmadov was published in 2010.