Georgia’s Velvet Revolution

Interim Georgian President Nino Burdzhanadze has announced that she intends to hold new elections within 45 days after the Georgian coup that ended this weekend.

Burdzhanadze appears to be on the up-and-up with her call, and the protestors do seem legitimately interested in a restoration of democracy. Their calls against the widespread corruption of the Shevardnadze regime were based on legitimate political grievances, and the bloodless nature of this revolution speaks to the way in which the opposition leaders deliberately avoided conflict. If anything, this is reminiscent of the “Velvet Revolution” in the former Czechoslavakia in which the Communist regime was swept away in favor of a free and democratic government.

Burdzhanadze has pledged to continue many of Shevardnadze’s foreign policies including cordial relations with the US and Russia and an increasing reliance on the free market. These are all positive signs that the Georgian revolution will produce a more stable and less corrupt government without engaging in the kind of isolationism that could Georgian into an Albania on the Black Sea.

Hopefully the new government can lead Georgia into better times and work to minimize corruption in the Georgian government while rebuilding the tattered Georgian economy. It will be a difficult job, but this new government has the support of the people, which will make their job somewhat easier.

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