Comparison Between Russia and Georgia Essay Example
Comparison Between Russia and Georgia Essay Example

Comparison Between Russia and Georgia Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2365 words)
  • Published: October 7, 2021
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The economy of Georgia relies on a range of industries. These include agriculture, where grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts are cultivated. The mining sector is dedicated to extracting manganese, copper, and gold. Additionally, small-scale industries contribute to the economy by manufacturing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals.

Despite relying heavily on imported natural gas and oil products, Georgia has successfully addressed energy shortages and interruptions by improving its hydropower plants and reducing dependence on Russian gas imports in favor of Azerbaijani imports. This strategic shift, coupled with the expansion of pipeline and railroad infrastructure, aims to capitalize on Georgia's advantageous geographical location between Europe and Asia. As a result, Georgia is positioned as a crucial transit hub for various commodities including gas, oil, and more.

The South


Caucasus pipeline expansion, a part of the Shah Deniz II Southern Gas Corridor project, is set to bring $2 billion foreign investment into Georgia. This will be the largest investment in the country so far. It is expected that gas from Shah Deniz II will start flowing in 2019.

Georgia experienced strong GDP growth of over 10% between 2006-07 thanks to significant foreign investment and government spending. However, after the conflict with Russia in August 2008, GDP growth slowed down and decreased by 4% in 2009. This was a result of reduced foreign direct investment and remittances from workers due to the global financial crisis.

Although there was some economic recovery between 2010-13, FDI inflows - which were a major driving force behind Georgian economic growth before the conflict - have not fully bounced back. In addition to this, unemployment rates remain high.

Georgia has historically faced difficulties in collecting tax

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revenues. However, since 2004, the government has taken measures to simplify the tax code, enhance tax administration, enforce tax laws, and combat petty corruption. These efforts have led to increased revenues. To stimulate economic growth, Georgia is prioritizing the liberalization of its economy by reducing regulations, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment. The country particularly concentrates on developing its hydropower, agriculture, tourism, and textiles production sectors. The World Bank has commended the government for its anti-corruption initiatives. The current Georgian Dream-led government continues the previous administration's policies of minimal regulation, low taxes, and a free market approach while also slightly increasing social spending and strengthening anti-trust measures. Furthermore amendments have been made to the labor code to adhere to international labor standards.

The government is finalizing its 2020 Economic Development Strategy and has launched the Georgia Co-Investment Fund, a $6 billion private equity fund that will invest in various sectors including tourism, agriculture, logistics, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing. Meanwhile, Russia has undergone significant transformations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has shifted from being globally isolated with a centrally planned economy to becoming more market-based and globally integrated. However, it still retains some characteristics of a statist economy where wealth is concentrated among officials. In the 1990s, most industries underwent privatization reforms except for those in the energy and defense-related sectors. Despite these changes, property rights are inadequately protected and there is substantial state interference in the private sector.

Russia is a major global producer of oil and natural gas, as well as a leading exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. However, its manufacturing sector lacks competitiveness on the

international stage and primarily serves domestic needs. This heavy reliance on commodity exports makes Russia vulnerable to unpredictable fluctuations in global prices, resulting in cycles of economic prosperity and decline. From 1998 to 2008, when oil prices were rapidly increasing, Russia experienced significant economic growth with an average rate of 7%. Nevertheless, during the 2008-09 global economic crisis, Russia's economy suffered greatly due to plummeting oil prices and limited availability of foreign credits for Russian banks and firms.

The decline in oil prices and difficulty attracting foreign direct investment have caused a noticeable slowdown in GDP growth rates. In late 2013, the Russian Economic Development Ministry revised its growth forecast for the period until 2030, predicting an average annual growth rate of only 2.5% compared to their previous projection of 4.0 to 4.2%. The situation worsened in 2014 after Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, leading to expectations of GDP growth dropping as low as zero.


In free democratic societies, certain basic rights may be restricted during times of war, although never all of them. Governments in such societies do make efforts to influence the free press in support of their cause, but they generally do not engage in overt censorship or exert strong pressure on the media. Dictatorships exploit external threats as a justification for controlling the media, resulting in little change even during actual wars.

The way wars are reported in the media is influenced by the political climate of a particular country. However, it's not just censorship or government influence that shapes press coverage. The lack of comprehensive empirical evidence on media coverage of wars is another important factor. For example, Gelb and Zelmati conducted a

thorough study on how "elite media" covered the US-led war in Iraq, but this wasn't done until 2008.

The New York Times (NYT), Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek failed to fulfill their important role as the "ultimate centurions of our democracy". Instead, they mainly conveyed the Administration's statements and justifications without offering much critical analysis. In times of war, it seems that the government easily persuades the public. The question is why these supposedly independent and free press outlets supported a deceitful government in gaining backing from democratic institutions and international organizations. However, this can be reasonably attributed to the shock that engulfed the US after 9/11. What is more interesting is examining how reputable and discerning press outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post covered the Georgian war and whether they have learned from past mistakes. Only partial investigations into media's role in the Georgian-Russian War have been conducted. Dennis Liechtenstein and Cordula Nietsch compared European and Russian media (including print media and web blogs) from Germany, Great Britain, and France.

Roman Hummel conducted interviews with journalists on the ground during the conflict (Klapper, pg. 3904-3923), discovering a significant contrast between the "global players" equipped with extensive technical support and the independent war reporters. Furthermore, there is a debate surrounding the victor of the media war on Georgia. Although many believe that the Western press initially supported the Georgian government's position and only became more critical over time, it is widely agreed that the Georgian government effectively utilized technical capabilities to manipulate public opinion. The Georgian government had enlisted the services of Aspect Consulting, a PR firm that also serves Exxon

Mobile, Kellogg's, and Procter & Gamble.

Additionally, President Saakashvili possesses a Columbia University education and is well-versed in Western culture. He made efforts to project himself as a credible Western democrat. The Russian PR firms GPlus and Ketchum were unable to counter the effect of the Georgian president, who successfully defended European values and was skillfully depicted as a symbol of democracy. It is important to distinguish between the winner of the media war and the search for truth, legitimacy, and justification. Perceptions often overshadow facts, leaving room for doubt.

Regardless, it is reasonably apparent that the Georgian army initiated shelling on Tskhinvali on the night of 7/8 July 2008, potentially before Russian regular troops crossed the Roki tunnel. Leaked documents obtained by Der Spiegel reveal that the majority of the EU's independent international fact-finding mission("Truth Commission") concluded that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili instigated the war by attacking South Ossetia on 7 August 2008. This contradicts Saakashvili's assertion that his country became an innocent victim of "Russian aggression" on that day. The circumstances surrounding whether the attack on Tskhinvali was a necessary response to the shelling of Georgian villages and if it was allowed, aided, or simply not prevented by the Russian peacekeepers (composed of detachments from the regular 58th Army stationed in the region), as well as the extent to which Moscow had preplanned the war, constitute an entirely separate narrative. The EU's "Truth Commission" will present its own edited account of the events leading up to the war. This research project does not concern uncovering the "true" facts.

The text aims to analyze the coverage of the war by media outlets in Russia, Georgia, and the

West. It specifically aims to identify key moments where there was a shift in the arguments and perspectives presented by these media sources (Otiashvili, pg. 566-572). Surprisingly, it did not take long for the opposition media in Georgia to openly acknowledge that the country had suffered a military defeat and to turn against the president. This might suggest a considerable level of press freedom in a young democracy. However, there is also a deep skepticism towards both media and politics, which means that encroachment on government-controlled media space is not seen as a major threat.

Georgian citizens have experienced various governments and leaders since the breakup of the Soviet Union. They are accustomed to changing narratives, and the brief war did not significantly impact their situation. The breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia had already been de facto independent for an extended period, which the general population was aware of despite how officials portrayed events. In contrast, Novaya Gazeta, a prominent Russian opposition newspaper, maintained a balanced perspective. In its first edition following the conflict's start on August 13, 2008, Pavel Felgenhauer, a military expert for the paper, stated that the war was not spontaneous but planned. He believed it began due to a joint provocation by South Ossetia and Russia.


The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new nation-states from the union Republics provide a solid test of resilience.

Despite facing similar challenges in establishing a nationalist program, Georgia and Russia experienced drastically different outcomes. In the case of Georgia, democratic elections led to violent rebelions within the country and a series of wars between Georgians and minority groups. These minority groups, although

smaller in number, held significant power as the "titular" nationality that the republic was named after, and they received most of the central resources. Within the Soviet Union, minority groups in union republics were protected by Moscow and individuals from these groups had opportunities for advancement within the union's hierarchy.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic minorities in the newly independent republics had to choose between aligning themselves with their respective republic or the union. However, these minorities ended up being controlled by dominant groups known as 'titulars', which resulted in potential conflicts. For example, in Georgia, Armenians, Jews, and Russians began leaving the country from 1959 onwards. Consequently, Georgians now constitute almost 70% of the population while Armenians and Russians make up 9% and 7.4%, respectively. The majority of other minority populations are situated near Turkey's border or reside in mountainous regions along Russia's border within Caucasus areas. Ossetians frequently move between Georgia and Russia; North Ossetia is an autonomous republic while South Ossetia has a lower status as an autonomous oblast.

Both the south Ossetians and Georgians had different perspectives on the dissolution of the union. The south Ossetians were cautious and desired to unite with their northern counterparts, while the Georgians believed that the Ossetians had migrated to South Ossetia in recent centuries and should go back to Russia. This disagreement had the potential for violence in post-soviet Georgia (Rogovskaya, pg. 46-58).

In northwest Georgia lies Abkhazia, an Autonomous Republic situated on a crucial rail link to Russia. The Abkhazis make up a small minority, comprising only 17 percent of the population. Among them are various groups such as Adigei, Abaza, Ingush, Kabardians,

and Chechens. These groups are mostly followers of Islam, and conflicts among them have been frequently observed in recent political history. However, these conflicts have mainly occurred within Russian Federation borders. By late 1994, there was already an ongoing invasion by Russia into Chechnya.

Georgia, which shares a border with Turkey, is facing a potential breakaway from the Adzharis. The Adzharis are ethnically Georgian but practice Islam. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, numerous Russians found themselves in the minority within Georgia. Though many Russians returned to Russia during the 1990s, sizable Russian communities still exist throughout most parts of Georgia. These Russian populations in Georgia share certain similarities with their counterparts in other regions: they primarily inhabit urban areas (GROUPCON = 1) and lack a strong ethnic organization. Since gaining independence from Georgia, they have not encountered any communal conflicts (INTERCON01-06 = 0) or systematic repression.

The fate of Russians in Georgia heavily relies on the relationship between the different governments of Georgia and Moscow. In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, regions that have declared independence, the safety of Russians depends on the goodwill of the local de facto governments and the Russian peacekeepers who oversee fragile peace agreements. These separatist governments seem to court Moscow's favor, thus Russian minorities in Georgia have not faced significant discrimination in politics, economy, or culture. Within Georgia itself, there are also significant Russian minorities who are represented by cultural organizations but not explicit political parties. None of these organizations have a presence in Georgia's parliament. Following the "Rose Revolution" in 2003, there was a more assertive pro-Georgian political and cultural policy implemented, which led some minorities to voice complaints

about discrimination. However, these complaints appear to come from the Azeri and Armenian communities rather than the Russian community. As a result, there is no evidence of political or economic discrimination against the Russian community anywhere in the country.

Work Cited

  1. Klapper, Leora, Annamaria Lusardi, and Georgios A. Panos. "Financial literacy and its consequences: Evidence from Russia during the financial crisis." Journal of Banking ; Finance 37.10 (2013): 3904-3923.
  2. Aaltonen, T., et al. "Measurement of the Difference in C P-Violating Asymmetries in D 0? K+ K? and D 0? ?+ ?? Decays at CDF." Physical review letters 109.11 (2012): 111801.
  3. Otiashvili, David, et al. "Access to treatment for substance-using women in the Republic of Georgia: Socio-cultural and structural barriers." International Journal of Drug Policy 24.6 (2013): 566-572.
  4. Rogovskaya, Svetlana I., et al. "Human papillomavirus prevalence and type-distribution, cervical cancer screening practices and current status of vaccination implementation in Russian Federation, the Western countries of the former Soviet Union, Caucasus region and Central Asia." Vaccine 31 (2013): H46-H58.
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