THE THIRD SECTOR THAT STOOD NO CHANCE: COLLAPSE OF GEORGIAN CIVIL SOCIETY, OR ELITISM VS. VALUES

Beka CHEDIA


Beka Chedia, Ph.D. (Political Science), Head of Publishing Projects at the Tbilisi School of Political Studies (Tbilisi, Georgia)


ABSTRACT

The author analyzes the prerequisites and specifics of the development of civil society in Georgia, as well as the contradictions between society and the state and between society and NGOs. He looks at how the attitude of the people in power toward the electorate changes after elections, as well as at the populations feelings about the state and political elites. He also identifies the factors that interfere with the development of real civil society in Georgia and the methods used to shape public opinion.

He focuses particular attention on the intelligentsia as a social phenomenon and describes in detail its involvement in political life and in shaping civil society and public opinion.

Keywords: Georgia, the state, civil society, elections, intelligentsia, elites, NGOs, the media.

Introduction

Throughout the twenty-two years of Georgias independence, civil society has been taking shape along with the new state institutions; not infrequently the civil sector, as an entity of social policy, outstripped the state institutions, however, the country has still not acquired a civil society.

Sustainability of civil society depends on the level of state development; in Georgia, however, the picture was different. Under Eduard Shevardnadze, the Georgian state was weak (or even failed), which explains why civil society looked strong. Under Mikhail Saakashvili, the state gained more strength; after the parliamentary elections of 1 October, 2012, which changed the political regime, the civil sector regained its former vigor.

Meanwhile, the civil sector of Georgia does not express (and has not been doing this for a long time) the interests of


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