10 years after the “Rose revolution” Georgia’s parliamentary elections came to set an end to president Saakashvili’s pro- western policies. 2 years after the Georgian- Russian war, the Russian backed tycoon Ivanishvili lead the newly formed “Georgian Dream” coalition to win elections on October 1st. While most of western governments welcomed the first democratic transfer of power in Tbilisi, it is clear that NATO, EU and US are alarmed by Ivanishivilli’s Russian background. With his $6.5 billion made in Russia as the largest single shareholder in Gazprom, Georgean Dream leader sets improving ties with Russia as one of his priorities.
During George W. Bush era, the west managed to surround Russia with colored revolutions: rose, orange and purple. It seemed for a while that post soviet republics are starting to escape the grip of Russian influence. US and NATO military bases were crawling nearer to Russia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia). Post-revolution governments obviously failed to satisfy the dreams of democratization, reform and freedom that initially led thousands of people in demonstrations and massive street protests to overthrow heirs of the soviet regime. An example of such failures is the scandal that caused the resignation of Georgian minister of internal affairs on the eve of elections: an opposition TV station showed videos of brutal treatment of young prisoners. This shows that the system remained soviet despite Saakashvili’s efforts of reform. Such disappointments opened doors for Russian supported opposition to make a breakthrough.
Though Ivanishvili says he is not willing to change Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration policy, he sees the near future of Georgian economy in the Russian market where Georgia’s main export products are now banned. Normalization of relations with Russia will mean the west will have to deal with a new Georgia, the second post-soviet republic, after Ukraine, to leave the heritage of its colored revolution behind and walk back to embrace Putin’s Russia. Ivanishvili, on the other hand will have to deal with the problem of his Russian allies still occupying two self-proclaimed independent regions of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia).
On the global map, Georgian elections seem more a part of international new cold. Russia is trying to minimize its losses, regain power over the post-soviet space and confront western tide.