Political Economy of Civil Wars in Georgia: Impact on Conflict Resolution

Led by Pavel K. Baev

Jan 2002 – Dec 2004

External Consultant

Dr. Christoph Zürcher, Institute of East European Studies, Free University Berlin.


The project was initiated in early 2001 as a case study for the Research Group of World Bank research program 'The Economics of Civil War, Crime and Violence'; its outline was presented at the June 2001 Oslo conference. The first draft of the study was presented at the April 2002 workshop 'Case Studies on Economics and Politics of Civil War' at the Department of UN Studies, Yale University.

Aim & Goals

The project seeks to establish to what degree the eruption of three interconnected civil wars in Georgia in 1990-1993 was caused by economic factors and whether these factors could explain their relatively short duration. This aim involves three specific goals:

  • to apply to the Georgian case the 'Collier/Hoeffner' model ('greed-grievance'), and to test its parameters;
  • to examine to what degree the economic factors of civil wars are hampering the resolution of the 'frozen conflicts' in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and determining the continuing state weakness in Georgia;
  • to develop comparisons with other violent conflicts in the Caucasus (Chechnya, Nagorno Karabakh) as well as with the conflict situations where violence has not occurred (Adzhriya, Daghestan).

Organization & Financing

The project is linked to long-term research at PRIO on civil wars and conflict management in the Caucasus. The most recent direction of this research involves participation in the Task Force on South Caucasus at the EU Institute for Security Studies (16 May 2003 workshop in Paris). The World Bank project is co-authored with Chrostoph Zürcher and Jan Koehler (Institute of Social Anthropology, Free University Berlin).

Progress in 2003

Networking was developed with the EU Institute for Security Studies; a draft chapter was presented at the workshop ‘Security and Insecurity in the Southern Caucasus’ (Paris, 16 May) and published in December as a part of the Challiot Paper. One book chapter was produced (Pavel Baev, ‘Civil Wars in Georgia: Corruption Breeds Violence’, pp. 127-144 in Jan Koehler & Christoph Zürcher (eds), Potentials of (Dis)Order. Manchester: MUP, 2003), another one, after a new revision, is accepted for publication in the volume resulting from the World Bank research program ‘The Economics of Civil War, Crime and Violence’ (editor Nicholas Sambanis). Baev acts as a consultant on Georgia for the Conflict Research Unit at the NIIA Clingendael.


The project will continue throughout 2004.

One forthcoming event is the 13th PfP International Research Seminar 'The South Caucasus: Promoting Values Through Cooperation', jointly organized by the NATO Defense College and the Ministry of Defense of Finland, 12-15 May, Helsinki. My paper is on 'Russia, Turkey and Iran: The Regional Actors and Their Respective Security Policies in the South Caucasus'.

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