Georgia’s Foreign Policy Discourses and Fragmented Political Public Sphere: A Pro-European Course on a Rocky Terrain?
Keywords:Georgia, Pro-Western and Pro-Russian Discourses, Foreign Policy, Public Sphere
AbstractThe paper analyses prospects of popular perception and acceptance of the pro-European discourse in Georgia under fragmented public sphere due to contradictions between the pro-Western and pro-Russian foreign policy and cultural orientations. The pro-Russian camp promotes the idea of orthodox unity, portraying Russia as the key to restoration of country’s territorial integrity. The pro-Western camp, referring to the negative past experience of Georgia’s relations with the Tsarist, Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia considers the Euro-Atlantic integration as a security guarantee of Georgia and a precondition of its return into the European family from cultural and political point of view. Analysing various public opinion polls, policy papers and comparing them with the Index of the Kremlin influence in Georgia, the study juxtaposes Russia’s soft-power incursion vs. local responses through deconstructing the three main clusters of actions: politics, media and civil society. The study uncovers the extent to which soft-power policy of the EU could be gradually undermined through collision of historical-religious (Russian Orthodoxy) and cultural-value (liberal conception of the West) driven agendas in Georgia. Methodologically paper contrasts transformative positions of political actors on the one hand and tools and strategies of Kremlin’s dis-information incursion on the other hand, which lead to fragmentation of the public sphere. The research employs methods of qualitative analysis, namely the discourse-historical approach and process tracing, in its causal inference line, to reconstruct the changing social and political tendencies. Theoretically paper refers to Habermas’s elaborations on public sphere and to the concept of political public sphere in particular.
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