The Question of Georgia’s Foreign Policy Orientation in the Parliamentary Election Manifestos of 1990 and 1992

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The experience of Central and Eastern European countries proves that in the early years of post-Communist transition, the question of foreign policy orientation occupied an important place in the countries‟ public and political discourse. Georgia has been no exception: the country‟s choice of the foreign policy orientation was actively discussed in the public and political fora in the early years of 1990s. One of the key questions in this process has been the country‟s place in the world and its role in the international system of nation states, as well as the question of Georgia‟s belonging to various geographic areas: Europe/west, Caucasus and Russia/Eurasia. Despite the practical and academic significance of this issue, the question of Georgia‟s foreign policy orientation of the early years of 1990s has enjoyed only a limited attention in Georgian and international scholarly literature. The proposed presentation aims to fill this very gap; the author will carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis of the question of foreign policy orientation in the party manifestos of 1990 Supreme Council (4 parties) and 1992 Parliament elections (18 parties), attempting to establish what role the foreign policy-specific questions occupied in overall programmatic priorities and what kind of foreign and economic policy choices were preferred by leading political parties. The goal of the presentation is to shed light on the prevailing foreign policy visions and priorities in the early years of independence, as well as to demonstrate how these positions evolved with change of government in 1992. More specifically, the author will scrutinize the following research questions: 1) How were various geographic spaces constructed and represented in the party manifestos of 1990 and 1992 elections? 2) What was the place, role and mission of Georgia in these spatial constructions? And 3) What arguments (cultural, historic, economic, security) did they employ when ascribing Georgia to a particular spatial category? In analyzing the party manifestos, the author will use the method of document analysis. Initially, the author will sum all sentences of the documents and separate those that pertain to the foreign policy orientation. This will serve two purposes: parting of foreign policy-related sentences will enable calculation of its share in the overall body of text and will also ease further qualitative and quantitative processing of data. At that stage, the author will also conduct qualitative analysis of foreign policy-related sentences. Next, he will break down the sentences into foreign policy “statements.” For instance, if a party stipulates in its manifesto that “Euro-Atlantic integration” is the party‟s policy priority, this particular constellation of words will be considered as one sentence, but two policy statements: 1) the party supports European integration; 2) the party support NATO integration. At the next stage, the author will assign the statements to specific thematic categories, for instance: west – positive; west – negative; international engagement – positive; international engagement – negative; Russian Federation – positive, Russian Federation – negative; Russian Federation – neutral; relations with neighboring countries – positive; relations with neighboring countries – negative; neutrality/balanced foreign policy – positive; general/other. After assigning of policy statements to specific categories, the author will conduct quantitative analysis of obtained data.
Georgia, Foreign policy, party manifestos, parliamentary elections