Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Georgian Election 2020: What to Expect and Why It Is Important

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed on YouTube Live.

Please join the Harriman Institute for a panel discussion about the 2020 parliamentary election in Georgia.

On October 31, 2020, Georgia will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. Since the last parliamentary election four years ago, Georgia has experienced a spate of opposition demonstrations, continued slow annexation by Russia into Georgian territory and, like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic. The election will test Georgia’s ability to further consolidate its democracy, give opposition forces an opportunity to strengthen and diversify their voices in parliament, challenge the governing Georgian Dream coalition to persuade the Georgian people they deserve to remain in power, and will chart Georgia’s political course for the next four years. This panel of Georgian and American scholars and activists will discuss this election and its meaning from several key perspectives.



Michael Hikari Cecire, non-resident scholar at the Frontier Europe Initiative, Middle East Institute; Director of the Eurasia Democratic Security Network

Anna Dolidze, Georgian politician, lawyer, scholar, writer and public speaker

Laura Linderman, senior fellow at the Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council

Alex Scrivener, analyst; 2019-2020 Eurasia Democratic Security Network fellow at the Center for Social Sciences, Tbilisi

Moderator: Lincoln Mitchell, political analyst, pundit, and writer; associate research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University



Michael Hikari Cecire is a non-resident scholar for MEI’s Frontier Europe Initiative and Director of the Eurasia Democratic Security Network (EDSN), an international fellowship program and research platform that examines linkages between democracy and security. Cecire is also an associate at the Institute for Middle East, Central Asia, and Caucasus Studies at the University of St Andrews, where he is also a doctoral researcher. Cecire is a member of the editorial board for the journal Caucasus Survey, and is a regular lecturer on Black Sea regional issues at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. Cecire has previously served as an international security fellow at New America, as a non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, as a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, as a policy advisor at the Georgian Economy Ministry, and in a variety of policy advisory and political risk analysis roles. He is a co-founder of the Georgian Institute of Politics in Tbilisi, and has published in a variety of international media and peer reviewed publications on issues of international security, Black Sea regional affairs, and democracy.

Anna Dolidze is a Georgian politician, lawyer, scholar, writer and public speaker who served as a member of the High Council of Justice from 2018-2020, as the Parliamentary Secretary of the President of Georgia from 2016-2018, and as a Deputy Minister of Defense from 2015-2016. From 2004-2006 she served as a Chairperson of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and led public protest campaigns in a number of high profile police violence cases. Dr. Dolidze has lectured at Duke University, Sorbonne University, the University of Berkeley, Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Queens University of Belfast and the Elmira Maximum Security Correctional Facility in New York State. In 2013, she became Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario, where she taught property law and international law. Dr. Dolidze is an author of three books as well as articles on international law and transitional justice.

Laura Linderman is a senior fellow with Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, where she previously served as its associate director. She is an observer of developments in the Eurasia region, and her analysis has appeared in Foreign Policy, The American Interest, the Atlantic Council, the Anthropology of East Europe Review, Liberty Institute, and the Global Post and broadcast by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, Huffington Post, Rustavi2, Imedi TV, and TV Pirveli. Linderman’s research focuses on Georgian politics, economics, and foreign relations. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council in 2012, Linderman was as a Peace Corps volunteer in western Georgia, where she taught English at the Pedagogical Industrial College of Ozurgeti. In 2002 to 2003, she interned at Georgia’s Liberty Institute.

Lincoln Mitchell is a political analyst, pundit and writer based in New York City and San Francisco. Lincoln works on democracy and governance related issues in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He also works with businesses and NGOs globally, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Lincoln writes and speaks about US politics as well, and was the national political correspondent for The New York Observer from 2014-2016. Lincoln was on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International Affairs from 2006-2013. He retains an affiliation with Columbia’s Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and teaches in the political science department as well. In addition, he worked for years as a political consultant advising and managing domestic political campaigns. He has written extensively about Georgian politics.

Alex Scrivener is a long time analyst and observer of the politics of the Caucasus with a focus on Georgia. He is currently a 2019-2020 Eurasia Democratic Security Network fellow, a project of the Center for Social Sciences, Tbilisi with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy. His analyses have been published in openDemocracy, Business New Europe, the London Independent, Al Jazeera, and a variety of other international outlets. Scrivener has previously worked as a researcher and analyst at the International Criminal Court, BBC Monitoring, and in Georgia at Transparency International and the Georgian Institute of Politics, among many other organizations.



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