Civil Society in Hybrid Regimes: The Challenges of Democratization in Georgia

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The nowadays established term “Hybrid Regime” combines a broad group of states and covers the elements of democracy and authoritarianism. The hybrid regime is generated by the democratization of the authoritarian regime. The prospect of its transformation into an electoral democracy depends on many factors, and first of all on the development of a civil society. Totalitarianism causes the collapse of civil society and its restoration in post-totalitarianism conditions is a very difficult process. The stimulation of civil society is conducted by the non- governmental sector, although this is not a perfect civil society. The goal of this work is to determine the role of civil society in the ongoing process of democratization in Georgia. The democratic transformation of the hybrid regime is associated with the development of civil society. The special focus is made on the concept of civil society, because if it has only a facade nature, then it has no value for democratic transformation. According to the research hypothesis, in countries where a clientelistic / elite civil society was formed, democratization was impeded, which caused stagnation. In the 1990s the stimulation of civil society formation in Georgia had been carried out by a creation and activation of nongovernmental organizations, but these organizations were funded from the West. The NGO sector, which acted on behalf of the civil society, played a significant role in the “Rose Revolution.” A precedent of cooperation between the newly formed government and civil society was created, but this happened only at the initial stage. As during Saakashvili governance also in subsequent years, the civil society was opposed to the government. Civil society in post-soviet Georgia was not distinguished by a high level of development, which negatively impacted on the democratization process of the country. The building of democracy in post-soviet Georgia is the main statement of any government, however the country couldn’t go beyond the status of a hybrid regime. Georgia belongs to the countries which didn’t incline to the democratization or to authoritarian governance. The main challenges of Georgia are the rule of law, the election process and the state functions. The authoritative organization “Freedom House” called such governance “Outlaw Democracy”. The last ten years were a turning stage for Georgia, not only due to the Historical and Political processes, but also in terms of democratization. It is interesting, that from 2008 up-to-date the different indicator of democratization changed its position, however the civil society firmly kept an average indicator. A qualitative method is used in the research, such as in-depth, interviews with experts.
Georgia, democratization, hybrid regime, civil society