ESI report launch in Brussels: Georgia - Has Liberalism Failed?

28 April 2010


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Social Platform, Square de Meeûs 18, 1050 Brussels


Organized by the Open Society Institute (Brussels) together with the European Stability Initiative (ESI), this lunch debate will launch the ESI report A Libertarian Revolution in the Caucasus.

After a grim, post-Soviet decade, Georgia captured the imagination of the world in November 2003 when a display of "people power" swept away the old political establishment. In its place came a new generation of leaders—young, articulate and determined to propel their small republic out of poverty and isolation and into the European mainstream.

Based on two years of research by a team of ESI researchers across Georgia, from Batumi on the Georgian Black Sea coast to the wine-growing areas of Eastern Georgia, A Libertarian Revolution in the Caucasus looks at the promises of the Rose Revolution, the way Georgia presented itself as a model for other countries, and the implications of its elites embracing libertarianism as a national ideology. 

Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Heather Grabbe, director of OSI-Brussels, will chair a discussion focusing on the economic philosophy underpinning Georgia's transition, the leaders of the intellectual movement, and the country's aspiration to become a global model. Examining Georgia's development over the last few years, panelists will assess the extent to which libertarianism, with its belief that people will be freer and more prosperous if government intervention in their economic choices is minimized, has replaced liberalism as the Georgian model. They will also address the implications for Georgia's future relations with the European Union in the wake of the 2008 war with Russia.

A Libertarian Revolution in the Caucasus is supported by the Think Tank Fund of the Open Society Institute.


  • Gerald Knaus, Chairman of ESI
  • Irakli Rekhviashvili, OSI and Former Minister of Economy in Georgia
  • Heather Grabbe, Director of OSI-Brussels (Chair)

Please RSVP to Tarana Ahmadova by 26 April 2010