The Police System Reform in Georgia (Informal Power its Forms, Types and Spheres of Influence)

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It is a widely accepted notion that the major change brought by the 2003 November revolution in Georgia was the reform of the public services. Two major tasks were to be achieved for the state institutions: to monopolize the use of legitimate power on the state territory and to start providing services to the citizens. Police reform was at the heart of both these objectives. The major obstacle identified on the way of this reform was corruption. Indeed it was widely known that posts in police forces were to be purchased; policemen were involved in organized crime, extortion, and other illegal pursuits. But the corruption itself was the effect of the broader system in which patrimonial system of not distinguishing between the public office and private sphere was hybridized with the legal-rational rule, having its origin in the Soviet Union. The main subject of our research is to analyze the model of informal power network in Georgian police, to describe its configurations and identify its social actors.

For the theoretical approach in our study we will use different theories describing informal institutes and the reasons of their existence. One of the main theoretical sources for our analysis will be the theoretical concept of Helmke and Levitsky. Helmke and Levitsky are describing four types of informal institutions which we plan to apply to Georgian police system and identify which of them is more relevant for Georgian reality. Also we will refer to such theories as: Mark Granoveter's strength of week ties and social “embeddedness” of economic action; Mars and Altman's Cultural Basis of Soviet Georgia; Ledeneva's theory of “Blat”, which is one of most popular analytical theory about informal relations in post-Soviet countries.

The main methods we have used are in-depth and narrative interviews. The interviews have been conducted with policemen currently working in different police departments, policemen no more working in this structure, expert and NGO representatives.

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