Press Release

American Academy Releases New Volume on Democracy and Security in Post-Soviet Georgia


CAMBRIDGE, MA – In November 2003 the people of the former Soviet state of Georgia forced a revolutionary change in leadership to establish a new government under President Mikhail Saakashvili. Statehood and Security: Georgia after the Rose Revolution, a new book from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, analyzes the security problems that confront this new government and the greater Caucasus region. The book considers what Georgia, Russia, the surrounding region and the West can and should do to secure Georgia’s new democracy and strengthen international security.

“Georgia’s security challenge is large, dramatic, and complex,” according to co-editor Robert Legvold, Academy Fellow and professor of political science at Columbia University. The book depicts a fragile Georgian state beset by internal conflict and threatened by regional violence spilling over its borders. Georgia’s internal and external vulnerabilities, writes Legvold, produce “the kind of security dilemma endured by only the most endangered countries.”

As the essays in Statehood and Security indicate, the threats to Georgia’s security reflect the region’s tumultuous history and precarious present. The contributors to the volume examine the many dimensions of Georgia’s struggle for security, including its divided national identity, the effects of corruption, criminal activity and paramilitary groups on state institutions, the challenges presented by breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the role of the U.S. and Europe in the Caucasus region.

“Little study is given to the impact of external and internal forces on the security of the post-Soviet area,” said Leslie Berlowitz, Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “This book analyzes the complicated choices that Georgia faces in its domestic and foreign security policy and provides a case study for the security challenges in the region.”

The collection of essays is co-edited by Legvold and Bruno Coppieters, associate professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The volume includes pieces by Georgian and non-Georgian authors ranging from David Darchiashvili (Open Society Georgia Foundation), Jaba Devdariani (United Nations Association of Georgia), Ghia Nodia (Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development) and Oksana Antonenko (International Institute for Strategic Studies) to Christopher Zürcher (Free University Berlin), Thomas de Waal (Institute for War and Peace Reporting), Giorgi Gogia (International Crisis Group) and Damien Helly (formerly of International Crisis Group).

Statehood and Security: Georgia after the Rose Revolution, published in English by MIT Press and Russian by Interdialect+ (Moscow), is the fourth of a series of books from the project on International Security in the Post-Soviet Space, which is directed by the Academy’s Committee on International Security Studies. Other volumes assess the evolving stakes of major powers like the United States, Europe and China in Central Asia; the impact of economic factors on the national security policies of Ukraine and Belarus; and the role of contemporary Russia as a military actor. The project is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. More information about the project and about the Committee on International Security Studies is available online at

Reviewer Comments on Statehood and Security: Georgia after the Rose Revolution

"Balanced, insightful, and authoritative – this examination of a strategically important nation at a crucial moment in its emergence as an independent democracy could hardly be timelier. Georgia's attainment of stability, security, and successful statehood matters not just to its own people but to its neighbors (including Russia) – and to the entire international community. This book explains why and elucidates the complexities of the challenge."
– Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution

“The need for a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the security challenges facing Georgia today is finally satisfied by this superb volume. A distinguished group of Georgian and Western authors offer subtle treatments of the broad range of internal and external threats to Georgia's security, including excellent treatments of Georgian-Russian relations, the conflict over Abkhazia, and the importance of Georgia for regional stability. It is hard to imagine a more timely contribution to this critical subject.”
– Gail W. Lapidus, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for International Studies

About the American Academy

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on: science and global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs from around the world. (