The image shows the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi
Photograph: Alexxx Malev/Creative Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Competency through Cooperation: Advancing knowledge on Georgia's strategic path (GEOPATH)

2018 - 2022 (Completed) Project number: 287815
Research project
GEOPATH is a collaborative research project which aims to build competency in the Georgian research sector as well as producing new insights into the crucial question of Georgia's future strategic path between Russia and the EU.

GEOPATH revolves around a research project that will produce cutting-edge, well-informed research on the crucial question of Georgia’s future strategic path. In the context of researching Georgia's future strategic path, GEOPATH will study how four key actors – Georgia, the breakaway Abkhazia, the EU and Russia – perceive their own roles and how they relate to each other in the region. GEOPATH is lead by a tightly integrated research team consisting of scholars from NUPI, the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) and two Georgian ‘expat’ scholars who work abroad.

The project has two primary objectives, both of which are important and relevant for Georgia.

First, the project will contribute to strengthening the Georgian research sector through an integrated research project that brings together Georgian and Norwegian scholars.

Second, the project aspires to leave a lasting footprint in Georgia by funding a PhD scholarship and organizing annual publishing seminars for PhD students and junior researchers from across Georgia. The project will directly contribute to strengthening its Georgian partner institution as well as similar institutes around the country. Importantly the project aims to reach these goals through genuine research collaboration and joint work on a topic that is of great significance for the academic community as well as Georgian society as a whole.

Related events:

Project kickoff workshop and roundtable discussion The power of polarization: the ‘Georgias’ in between Russia and the West (A two-day event, including a kickoff workshop for project participants and a roundtable with Georgian experts, organized in Tbilisi, Georgia on January 24-25, 2019). 

About our partners:
The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) is a Tbilisi-based non-profit, non-partisan, research and analysis organization founded in early 2011. GIP strives to strengthen the organizational backbone of democratic institutions and promote good governance and development through policy research and advocacy in Georgia. GIP is working to distinguish itself through relevant, incisive research; extensive public outreach; and a brazen spirit of innovation in policy discourse and political conversation.

Funding program

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, NORRUSS PLUSS


Publication : Academic article
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Identification and physical disconnect in Russian foreign policy: Georgia as a Western proxy once again?

Evolving official Russian identifications of Georgia amount to a dangerous securitisation of this small neighbour – achieved through a focus not on Georgia ...
Publication : Academic article

Navigating de facto statehood: trade, trust, and agency in Abkhazia's external economic relations

What opportunities and trade-offs do de facto states encounter in developing economic ties with the outside world? This article explores the complex relationship ...

Georgia’s Europeanization challenged from within: Domestic foreign policy discourses and increasing polarization

Georgia`s foreign policy, especially the implementation of international agreements, is best understood in the context of domestic contestation among ...
Publication : Report

Trade and trust: the role of trade in de facto state conflict transformation

De facto states – unrecognized secessionist entities that eke out a living on the margins of the international system – are often heavily dependent on ...
Publication : Popular scientific article

Trade, Trust, and De Facto State Conflicts: Abkhazia’s International Economic Engagement

Does trade really foster trust? In the case of conflict-torn regions, developing trade links is often believed to contribute to transforming conflict ...
Publication : Policy brief

Russia’s view of Georgia: a NATO proxy yet again?

After the crises in Ukraine, and despite the Georgian government’s allegedly more pragmatic attitude towards Russia, official statements from Moscow ...

Project Manager

Helge Blakkisrud

Senior Research Fellow (part time)


Governance  Russia and Eurasia  The EU

Julie Wilhelmsen

Research Professor, Head of the Research group on Russia, Asia and International Trade


Tamta Gelashvili

Junior Research Fellow (part time)



External participants

Kornely Kakachia, Georgian Institute of Politics
Levan Kakhishvili, Georgian Institute of Politics
Salome Minesashvili, Georgian Institute of Politics
Nino Kemoklidze, University of Chichester
Ketevan Bolkvadze, Lund University
Pål Kolstø, University of Oslo

GEOPATH publications from our external partners: 


Bandwagoning by stealth? Explaining Georgia’s Appeasement Policy on Russia, European Security. Article by Bidzina Lebanidze and Kornely Kakachia, January 2023.

The Mighty West, Two Empires, and the Lost Glory of Caucasus: Foreign Policy Visions in President Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Rhetoric, Journal of Young Researchers. Article by Tornike Zurabashvili, Tbilisi State University, October 2021.

Towards a two-dimensional analytical framework for understanding Georgian foreign policy: how party competition informs foreign policy analysisPost-Soviet Affairs. Article by Levan Kakhishvili, Georgian Institute of Politics, January 2021

Europe in Georgia’s Identity Discourse: Contestation and the Impact of External DevelopmentsCommunist and Post-Communist Studies. Article by Salome Minesashvili, Georgian Institute of Politics, June 2021.

Sons of the Soil or Servants of the Empire? Profiling the Guardians of Separatism in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Problems of Post-Communism. Article by Christopher Berglund and Ketevan Bolkvadze, Malmö University and Lund University, August 2022.

Policy briefs and policy memos:

Georgian party political discourse on foreign policy non-alignment: How has the meaning changed since 1992? Policy memo by Levan Kakhishvili, Georgian Institute of Politics, October 2020

Should Georgia Apply for EU Membership in 2024? Expert comment #15, Georgian Institute of Politics, February 2021

Governmental Entities of Abkhazia and the Former Autonomous District of South Ossetia in Tbilisi: Power and Legitimacy in Exile, working paper by Tornike Zurabashvili, Georgian Institute of Politics, March 2021

Protecting National Interests or Abandoning Strategic Partners? The Georgian Government’s Position on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Policy memo by Levan Kakhishvili, Georgian Institute of Politics, March 2022

Creeping Finlandization or Prudent Foreign Policy? Georgia’s Strategic Challenges amid the Ukrainian Crisis, Kornely Kakachia and Shota Kakabadze, Georgian Institute of Politics, April 2022

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy, Kornely Kakachia and Bidzina Lebanidze, Georgian Institute of Politics, May 2022

Rule of Law as Political Insurance: why pro-European reforms are in the GD’s best interest, Perspective by Ketevan Bolkvadze, Lund University, July 2022.

GEOPATH events:

How to get published? – Two-day master class for PhD students and junior researchers. NUPI og Georgian Institute of Politics, 7-8 Oktober 2020.

How to get published? – Two-day master class for PhD students and early career researchers. NUPI og Georgian Institute of Politics, 29-30 Mars 2021.

How to get published? – Master class for PhD students and early career researchers. NUPI og Georgian Institute of Politics, 2 April 2022.

GEOPATH events from our external partners: 

Virtual Round Table Discussion: Georgia's EU Membership Ambitions: Expectations and Challenges. Georgian Institute of Politics, 25 February 2021, 18:00.

Seminar: Creeping Finlandization or Protecting National Interests? Georgia’s Strategic Dilemmas Amid Ukrainian Crisis. Georgian Institute of Politics, 1 April 2022.

Fri 14 Oct 2022
Time: 09:00 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

Georgia at a Crossroads: Is Tbilisi losing its strategic compass?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has changed the security of the Black Sea region forever.

Wed 14 Oct 2020
Time: 10:00 Europe/Oslo
Location: Webinar

Georgia’s strategic choices after the elections

Georgia wants closer integration in Western institutions and is also Russia's neighbour. How does this affect Georgia’s foreign policy?

Sun 11 Oct 2020
Time: 10:00 Europe/Oslo
Location: Webinar

Europeanization of Georgia and the Eastern Partnership: Perceptions of Internal and External Actors

How do Georgians themselves, Russia, and the rest of Europe view Georgia’s goal of closer integration with the EU and NATO?

Tue 14 May 2019
Time: 13:30 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

The International Criminal Court and the 2008 Russo-Georgian War

What is the impact of the International Criminal Court's investigation of Russia and Georgia?