GEORGIA: DEVALUED PUBLIC CAPITAL AND THE THIRD SECTOR AT THE CROSSROADS

Beka CHEDIA


Beka Chedia, Bachelor of Political Science (Tbilisi, Georgia)


In the last ten years, civil society institutions in Georgia have been gradually gathering momentum even though the process has been somewhat lopsided. The very idea of civil society was misinterpreted from the very beginning along with the natural and traditional institutions of civil society, such as the media, the Church, trade unions, and higher educational and academic institutions. In recent years, the term has been appropriated by a narrow circle of the Georgian political community, which did not add popularity either to the term itself or to the phenomenon. It should be said, however, that the impact of civil society institutions on all aspects of the countrys public life and the political processes in particular is still felt. The term civil society can hardly be described as popular with the Georgians mainly because of the politically engaged NGOs that have remained on the scene long enough to become associated with certain political forces. This gave Georgia its Third Sector, which can only be described as an imitation of the true thing: everything that was done, and is being done, in the country in its name (in the name of NGOs) merely imitates civil society. This radical assessment has become even more applicable after the Rose Revolution, which revealed all the institutional shortcomings and even digressions from democratic values of those local NGOs that posed as the vanguard of the democratic developments in the republic.

Civil Society Institutions: Typology

Civil society institutions were set up under Eduard Shevardnadze; the process accelerated in 1995 after the civil war ended and all the paramilitary structures operating outside the legal field were disbanded and the country acquired its first post-Soviet constitution. This was when the edifice of non-state institutions (in the form of nongovernmental organizations) was built along with the..


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