In 2003, the bloodless Rose Revolution ushered in an era of unprecedented reform in the Republic of Georgia. Widespread dissatisfaction with the undemocratic and corrupt post-Soviet regime culminated in the 2004 election of Mikheil Saakashvili as president. Riding a wave of popular support and eager to act before the political winds shifted, Saakashvili immediately targeted the corrupt police service, seen by many Georgians as the epitome of state dysfunction. By the end of 2006, his administration had abolished a KGB-style security ministry and its related police unit, dismissed every member of the country's uniformed police and created a new police force from scratch. By 2009, it was clear that the reformers' strategy-capitalize on public support, think boldly, act quickly and fix mistakes as they arise had produced significant progress.
Matthew Devlin drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in the Republic of Georgia during May 2009. Case published May 2010.