Russian Economic Footprint and the Impact on Democratic Institutions in Georgia
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 19, Issue 4, p.39-58 (2020)
Keywords:economic footprint, economic infiltration, Georgia, political institutions, Russian Influence, state capture
This article reexamines the infamous concept of the “Energy Empire,” formulated by Anatoli Tchubais, and makes an attempt to reveal the instruments and ways of Russian economic influence in Georgia that lead to the formation of the so-called Russian economic footprint in the country, which in turn is effectively instrumentalized by Kremlin as a powerful tool for malign political influence and pressure. The problem is very much related to the ability of young and fragile democracies to develop resilient political systems and institutions, to withhold the pressure, and uphold the irreversible process of democratic transformation. The analysis of the major sectors of the national economy in Georgia reveals the critical dependence of major sectors on Russian operated companies as well as the growing aggregated weight of Russia’s influence in the entire national economy. The preliminary results drawn from the sectoral analysis are augmented by a regression model applied to verify the interrelation between the dynamics of democratic institutional development and a selected economic variable, i.e., exports to Russia.