From Carnegie Endowment analyst Thomas de Waal comes a new report on Georgia worth a read for anyone interested in where this experimenting Caucasus country is headed politically, economically, culturally.
In a nutshell:
*The Georgian government's fascination with capitalism, in its pure, unregulated form, may have improved the country's investment environment quite a bit, but has yet to prove of real worth in pulling Georgians out of poverty.
* Georgia's political system has modernized, but has not necessarily democratized. A clique of intellectuals, the brains behind President Mikheil Saakashvili administration, did push through many key reforms, but continues to place itself above public checks and balances. Political groups come hungry for reforms, but low on experience, with plenty of "improvisation and missteps" amidst their successes.
Georgia's current key choices are presented as a triangle with the European model (regulations, strong democratic accountability) at the tip, and the Old Georgia model (family values, patriotism, religion) and so-called Singapore model (everything is for sale, government is minimal) on the sides. While the piece tends to favor the Europeanization option, it provides all the shades of grey associated with these choices.