The Challenges of Post-Soviet Transformation in Georgia: Democratization and its External and Domestic Rivals

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The research will uncover main challenges of democratization, being the pre- requisite of Europeanization in Georgia, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union through looking at it via the prism of triple (Claus Offe) and quadruple (Taras Kuzio) transition models under the problem of fragmentation of [political] public sphere in Georgia, referring to the political public sphere (Jurgen Habermas) in particular. The research claims that the aspects of quadruple model (politics, economics, culture and state/nation) highlight much on the post-Soviet and emerging challenges of Georgia setting problems to democratization process in the country resulting in democracy decay or regression, influenced either by the trap of modernization vs. democratization or the rise of populism and illiberalism of different kinds. The paper reflects on the division between state and nation via juxtaposing and comparing the state-building and nation-building processes as a problem of democratization vs. modernization in Georgia through path- dependence and path-contingency approaches of the post-Soviet/Socialist transformation(s). The process of state-building and nation-building will be explained through application of the quadruple model, which highlights cracks in political, economic, cultural and national aspects of democratization in Georgia. These aspects will be deconstructed through juxtaposition of the external security vs. domestic security issues – influencing on the behavior of the local actors (political elites), therefore on the nature of domestic regime. The research relies on qualitative analysis and employ the discursive approach (speech act analysis in particular) to highlight the narrative strategies of the pro-Western and pro-Russian actors through uncovering and deconstructing their strategies in politics, media and civil society as the reactions to pressing external and domestic security challenges, which cause the fragmentation of the [political] public sphere in the country.
Democratization, Public Sphere, Transformation/Transition, Georgia