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Reimagining Georgia: Images of Georgia Held by the Collective West, Russian, and Georgian Political Elites from 1991 to 2020
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8087-081X
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This compilation thesis examines the United States (U.S.), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), Russian, and Georgian political elites’ images of Georgia from the regaining of Georgia’s independence in 1991 up to 2020. This topic shows the significance of studying the role of the agency of individual leaders and including them as a level of analysis when analyzing different geopolitical setups. The empirical data come from the author’s 102 original interviews with political elites from Georgia, the U.S., NATO and the EU, including presidents, prime ministers, ministers, secretaries, secretaries-general, and Russian foreign policy experts. This dissertation comprises four articles, each using the same research design. 

The findings of this dissertation show that over time, external and internal political elites hold somewhat varying images of Georgia. These diverging images that mainly emerged after the Rose Revolution of 2003 have a geopolitical character and are crucial for understanding Georgia’s strained geopolitical context. In particular, they reflect a rift between the U.S., NATO, the EU, Georgia, and Russia with regard to the perception of the threat to and cultural status of Georgia. This has chiefly influenced the type of imagery of Georgia that the actors hold and has contributed to the changing geopolitical conditions. Overall, changes in internal and external political elites’ perceptions and attention to image variation help explain policy variation over time. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2023. , p. 88
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 475
Keywords [en]
Political Elites, Perceptions, Images, Policy Preferences, Georgia, U.S., NATO, EU, Russia
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-118053DOI: 10.15626/475.2022ISBN: 9789189709775 (print)ISBN: 9789189709768 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-118053DiVA, id: diva2:1721927
Public defence
2023-02-09, Weber, Universitetsplatsen 1, Hus K, Växjö, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-01-02 Created: 2022-12-23 Last updated: 2024-03-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. From failing state to strategic partner: analyzing US and NATO political elite images of Georgia and policy implications from 1991 to 2020
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From failing state to strategic partner: analyzing US and NATO political elite images of Georgia and policy implications from 1991 to 2020
2021 (English)In: Post-Soviet Affairs, ISSN 1060-586X, E-ISSN 1938-2855, Vol. 37, no 6, p. 578-599Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates U.S. and NATO political elite images of Georgia and policy implications from 1991 to 2020. The analysis relies on the author’s 44 original interviews with U.S. and NATO political elites, including U.S. Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries of States, U.S. Generals, Secretaries-General and Deputy Secretaries of NATO, and others in power in the different periods from 1991 to 2020. The study shows that three main images of Georgia have emerged over the 30-year historical period in the eyes of U.S. and NATO political elites. In the first two decades, leadership and personal connections have increased the likelihood of certain policies together with material determinants and ideational factors. In the third decade, personal ties had disappeared, but structural incentives were acknowledged by U.S. and NATO elites which impacted their policies. Moreover, results show that the U.S. relationship with Georgia has been chiefly personalized rather than institutionalized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2021
Keywords
image theory, foreign policy, political elites, NATO, US, Georgia
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-110804 (URN)10.1080/1060586X.2021.1984106 (DOI)000704544900001 ()2-s2.0-85116556903 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-03-14 Created: 2022-03-14 Last updated: 2023-01-02Bibliographically approved
2. From a willing partner to close political and economic partner: analysing EU political elites' images of Georgia from 1991 to 2020
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From a willing partner to close political and economic partner: analysing EU political elites' images of Georgia from 1991 to 2020
2022 (English)In: European Security, ISSN 0966-2839, E-ISSN 1746-1545, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 200-221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores EU political elites' images of Georgia and its evolution from 1991 to 2020. The analysis relies on the author's 25 original interviews with EU political elites, including presidents, prime ministers and ministers of EU member states and EU commissioners, alongside primary documents. By triangulating between novel interview data, document analysis and statements by EU officials, this article unpacks EU perceptions of Georgia's intentions, capabilities, threats and cultural status over a 30-year historical period. The study shows that three main images of Georgia have emerged over time in the eyes of EU and EU member states leaders: first, Georgia as a willing partner to the EU; second, Georgia as a political partner to the EU and third, Georgia as a close political and economic partner to the EU. This article, by studying the EU political elites' images of Georgia, adds knowledge to the EU's perceptions of external actors, which is an under-researched topic in the scholarship of images and perceptions in EU external relations. Moreover, it extends the literature on EU-Georgia relations, and helps to understand some of their peculiarities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2022
Keywords
Georgia, EU, political elites, foreign policy, image theory
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-108104 (URN)10.1080/09662839.2021.1987892 (DOI)000707318200001 ()2-s2.0-85117216350 (Scopus ID)2021 (Local ID)2021 (Archive number)2021 (OAI)
Available from: 2021-11-19 Created: 2021-11-19 Last updated: 2023-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Gamkrelidze, Natia

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