Originally published 04/08/2013
Stalin in 1945.During the 1990s, post-Soviet Georgia initially struggled to foster democracy. Its government was marked by former Soviet bureaucrats and widespread corruption. However, after the largely peaceful, pro-democratic Rose Revolution of 2003, Western educated Mikhail Saakashvili became president and rekindled hopes for democracy in post-Soviet Georgia. Since his inception, the new president has initiated a wave of reforms in order to bring Georgia out of Russia’s shadow and into the Western spotlight. Saakashvili’s reforms included restructuring of Georgia’s police forces, streamlining the bureaucracy, and facilitating economic growth, but also crackdowns on the separatist regions of Svaneti, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Though the latter endeavor eventually failed, Georgia under the tenure of Saakashvili accomplished a substantial rapprochement with the United States and Europe in a bid to include his country into NATO and the European Union.