The recent parliamentary election in Georgia saw the ruling United National Movement (UNM) party defeated by the opposition Georgian Dream (GD) coalition led by new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. This election has been variously described as evidence of the strength of Georgian democracy, a turn toward Russia by Georgia, a victory which Ivanishvili bought by spending lavishly in the United States, Europe and Georgia, the end of UNM domination, and more or less everything in between. It is still too early to know the real meaning of this election, but it is possible to make some observations, and raise some questions.
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Lincoln Mitchell is an Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. He is a frequent commenter on political development in the former Soviet Union and is currently writing a book on the Color Revolutions. During the parliamentary election campaign, he served as an informal advisor to the Georgian Dream coalition.