Georgian Ambassador Nikoloz Apkhazava is pursuing wine diplomacy, hosting his fifth tasting event Tuesday since opening the country’s chancery in 2012.  Wine goes hand in glove in the popular imagination of diplomatic work but, for the Georgian envoy, it is also a down-to-earth policy objective of his posting in South Korea. 

Halfway through an otherwise coherent conversation with a Georgian lawyer last week—the topics included judges, the court system, the police—I was startled by a comment he made about his country’s former government, led by ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. “They were LGBT,” he said, conspiratorially.   

March 11, 2014

Recent developments in Ukraine have been nothing less than astonishing -- and that's just as true of seasoned observers of Eastern Europe as it is of everyone else. Russia's bold and illegal military intervention issues a startling challenge not just to Ukrainian independence but also to the very foundations of the post-war liberal order. 

Ukraine's Euromaidan protesters have pledged to stay the course until their political demands are met. So what are their chances? RFE/RL looks at the outcomes of two protests that achieved their aims in Georgia and Serbia -- and two, in Russia and Belarus, that didn't.

In Georgia, it's called the fall of Sukhumi. In Abkhazia, it's called the liberation of Sukhum. Whatever it's called, it happened 20 years ago, and that's about the only thing that Georgians and Abkhaz can agree on. On Sept. 27, Georgian government officials commemorated the day at Hero's Memorial, where the government of the autonomous republic of Abkhazia in exile called for a new strategy to solve the Abkhaz conflict and expressed hope that "historical justice will be restored and that Abkhaz and Georgian people will live in peace."

For more than 30 years, the hulking granite slabs inscribed with teachings in eight languages have raised profound and vexing issues: Why are they here? What do they mean? What do they say about life after Doomsday? But confronted with a deep and sustained economic slowdown, residents here in the professed Granite Capital of the World are now pondering something a bit more mundane: Is there a way to turn a mysterious 237,746-pound monument known as the Georgia Guidestones into a moneymaker?

Georgia has invented a new kind of public diplomacy - "cycle diplomacy." "The project goal: to discover a new Georgia for the Azerbaijani society, strengthen friendly ties, promote a healthy lifestyle, classical, folk and extreme sports, advertise companies, attract business partners, tourists in Georgia, etc. It is planned a reception by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Baku, meetings with the population in 26 large cities and regions," it was reported.

For instance, Russian language classes are planned to be established in Georgia and Georgian language classes – in Russia. I would like to note that in Georgia such classes have been established already. Treatment of Russian asthmatic children, ICP and musculoskeletal patients is to be provided in Georgia. Art exhibitions, festivals, and concerts are going to be organized.