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2011: The Nations in Transit – Gerogia Review

Executive SummaryFreedom House

Georgia was one of the first Soviet republics to declare independence and introduce a multiparty system in 1990. However, the country’s rapid political emancipation coupled with slow institutionalization led to various serious problems. The first non-Communist president Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s loss of power triggered a civil war, and two secessionist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke out. Later, President Eduard Shevardnadze managed to restore a limited degree of stability, which soon ended in a fragile, corrupt, and inefficient system of governance.

In 2004, the new government launched profound reforms aimed at modernizing the state, the economy, and society. In some respects, these reforms tangibly increased the capabilities of the Georgian state, resulting in better public protection and services. In other areas, such as democratic participation and conflict resolution, the new administration has failed to adequately address the complexities of the issues. Marginalization of the political opposition triggered a political crisis in 2007 that continued throughout 2008 and 2009. Russia and Georgia fought a war in 2008 that ended in occupation and formal recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia.

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Electoral Process 5.00 5.25 5.25 4.75 4.75 4.50 4.75 5.25 5.25 5.00
Civil Society 4.00 4.00 3.50 3.50 3.50 3.50 3.50 3.75 3.75 3.75
Independent Media 3.75 4.00 4.00 4.25 4.25 4.00 4.25 4.25 4.25 4.25
Governance* 5.00 5.50 5.75 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
National Democratic Governance n/a n/a n/a 5.50 5.50 5.50 5.75 6.00 6.00 5.75
Local Democratic Governance n/a n/a n/a 6.00 5.75 5.50 5.50 5.50 5.50 5.50
Judicial Framework and Independence 4.25 4.50 4.50 5.00 4.75 4.75 4.75 4.75 4.75 5.00
Corruption 5.50 5.75 6.00 5.75 5.50 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 4.75
Democracy Score 4.58 4.83 4.83 4.96 4.86 4.68 4.79 4.93 4.93 4.8

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2006: Report to Congress Pursuant to the International Anticorruption and Good Governance Act

Government Efforts: The fight against corruption has been a major area of focus for the Saakashvili government and a major area of assistance for USG programs. Georgia is one of four countries to sign a “Compact to Promote Transparency and Combat Corruption” with the G-8 at the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit. Government of Georgia (GOG) initiatives, including the prosecution of corrupt officials and businessmen combined with continued deregulation and customs and tax reform, supported by USG technical assistance and programming, have created a more transparent business climate with less opportunity for corruption in government institutions. According to a recent EBRD/World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey, the percentage of firms that identified corruption as a significant obstacle fell from 60 percent in 2002 to 39 percent in 2005. Increased compliance with financial structures and better participation in the formal economy have increased public trust and confidence in the government, and contributed to a nearly five-fold increase in the State Budget, encouraging GDP growth of between 6-8 percent in 2004 and 2005.

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2002-2003: Report to Congress Pursuant to the International Anticorruption and Good Governance Act

Government Efforts: A major thrust of Georgia’s Rose Revolution in November 2003 was to break the status quo of rampant and systemic corruption. Since taking office in January, President Saakashvili has clearly announced that combating corruption is a priority, and the new Government of Georgia (GOG) has begun a number of initiatives to decrease incentives for corruption. For instance, President Saakashvili has reaffirmed a commitment to draft amendments to the criminal procedural code in order to bring greater transparency to the criminal procedure process. The new Prosecutor General is reforming the Procuracy to emphasize the fight against corruption, and in this regard has already initiated cases against several high-level officials of the former regime. The GOG launched a new Anti-Corruption Policy Coordination Department at the National Security Council. In an effort to streamline investigations into economic crimes, the Minister of Finance has begun to consolidate agents into a dedicated financial crimes unit. USG assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has helped this Ministry to create an Internal Control Service to carry out internal inspections. The GOG has also begun to address corruption in the Georgian Railways Administration. The GOG is a member of the Group of States Against Corruption, a party to the Council of Europe (CoE) Civil Law Convention on Corruption (CLCC), and has signed but not yet ratified the CoE Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (CRCC) and UNTOC.

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