Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Russian

First Advisor

Alyssa DeBlasio

Language

Russian, English

Abstract

This research examines Georgia’s interest in European Union and NATO membership and evaluates potential routes for ensuring progress and security while reducing Russia’s residual post-Soviet influence. While much available scholarship focuses on the prospects of Georgia’s formal integration into the Western sphere, there is far less scholarship explicitly discussing Georgia’s potential future without accession to the EU or NATO or emphasizing the significance of the EU and NATO programs with which it already cooperates. Scholarly sources, original scholar interviews and primary-source materials are synthesized in this research to reveal the complexity of Russo-Georgian relations. Russia influences not only the national security and political spheres, but also popular discourse about national identity and the Georgian Orthodox Church. In this research I argue that official membership in either the EU or NATO will not be beneficial for Georgia because of the escalated risk of conflict with Russia. Nevertheless, Georgia is committed to cooperating with the EU and NATO, and these organizations are committed to supporting Georgia’s security, democracy and economy. I conclude that Georgia can leverage its own geostrategic value to engage diverse partners for economic cooperation, democratic development and security alliances, promoting a future that does not rely on EU and NATO membership and reflects the will of the Georgian people.

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