Since 2012 Caucasian House, through the financial support of The British government started a project “Georgian-Russian Dialogue for Peace and Cooperation”. There are several factors that Caucasian House decided to start Georgian-Russian civil dialogue:
- Absence of communications between societies; (the visa regime introduced in 2000 was followed by a transportation blockade and economic embargo from Russia, accompanied by the deportation of tens of thousands of Georgian citizens from Russia).
- Violence in August of 2008; (following the termination of war and the cessation of diplomatic relations, the governments of Georgia and Russia communicate via a third party – Switzerland, a direct result of this is the absence of communications between societies.)
- Propaganda and the “enemy image” as means of rallying society and distracting people from domestic problems.
- Change of generations (in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, generations that have no experience of living together have become politically active both, in Georgia and in Russia).
The project aims to contribute to the transformation of the Georgian-Russian conflict:
1) through supporting the Georgian government in developing relevant policies for avoiding further escalation of the conflict and deepening the normalization process;
2) through promoting dialogue and cooperation among Georgian and Russian mid-career policy analysts and practitioners. Within the project 10 groups from Russia visited Georgia and in February 2013 and 2014 group of young Georgian scholars visited Moscow. The project encompasses the following activities.
Study-visit component– This component covers meetings with governmental and non-governmental bodies within Georgia. This component aims to provide project participants (mainly the Russian ones) with the major political and social trends in Georgia. The meetings are usually held in several ministries and other governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Office of State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, PM’s Special Envoy in Relations with Russia, the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development and etc.
Analytical component – Within this component Georgian and Russian mid-career specialists have an opportunity to meet with their counterparts, share information, listen to presentations conducted by the participants on Georgian and Russian relations and other related topics, as well as to initiate joint proposals regarding developing policy documents. Up to date, Caucasian House has published five publications that cover various issues related to Georgian-Russian relations. The publications are available here: http://caucasianhouse.ge/en/publications/