There has been a continuous debate on Georgia, and whether Georgia is part of Europe or Asia. I found this interesting following our discussion of Russia, Asia and Eastern Europe and the history and cultural implications of each of these on each other over time and through migrations.
In Georgia, the dilemma persists to this day. Many elements of Georgia that are found to be charming are its “authentic vestiges of Asian-influenced cuisine, music, architecture and strong sense of ethno-religious belonging” (Pack). But the sentiment and feeling of many Georgian’s is European or striving to be European.
The former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, said “We are not only old Europeans, we are the very first Europeans” (Kucera). Georgia officially adopted Christianity in the fourth century, and was only the second country in the world to do so, after Armenia. Through maintaining their religious adoption of Christianity, Georgia was able to maintain a European identity even through subsequent centuries of Persian and Ottoman domination (Kucera).
Politically, Georgia is very European and invested in becoming more so. Georgia signed an EU Association Agreement in 2013, which expressed its clear intention to join the EU (Pack).
When Georgia attempted to join NATO, it was invaded in 2008 with its South Ossetian and Abkhazian regions being de facto annexed to Russia. Since this invasion Georgia has continued to host training exercises with the US and UK. These continued relations and pursuits may be upsetting Russia further.
As Georgia continues to lean culturally and politically toward becoming more European, so to do their foreign policies that have become more concrete through these efforts. Few Georgians define themselves as part of Asia, and are committed to being a part of Europe (Pack).
Kucera, Joshua. “What Does It Really Mean for a Country to Be European?” Slate Magazine. January 30, 2017. Accessed December 10, 2017. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2017/01/georgia_insists_that_it_s_a_european_country_what_does_that_really_mean.html.
Pack, Jason, and Jennifer Segal. “Georgia and the Caucasus: Europe or Asia?” The Huffington Post. June 01, 2016. Accessed December 10, 2017. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-pack/georgia-and-the-caucasus-_b_10240342.html.