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Abkhazia and Tskhinvsli Region are Russian occupied territories

By M. Alkhazashvili
Monday, August 18
Georgian officials have stated that Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region are “occupied” by Russia. Parliament is discussing adopting a special law which would deprive the occupying forces of the status of a “peacekeeping mission” which they were granted during Shevardnadze’s era.

In the nineties of the last century Moscow created separatist enclaves in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and maintained them as such, thus undermining Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. In fact this was a disguised form of Kremlin aggression and constituted an attempt to eventually annex these territories.

During Shevardnadze Tbilisi agreed to the Russian rules of the game and granted it a peacekeeping mandate in its enclaves. Shevardnadze had no choice. The Russians could otherwise have dethroned him, and if Georgia followed Moscow’s instructions it might be supposed that Russia was more likely to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity. Georgia entered the CIS – The Commonwealth of Independent States, and thus agreed to stay within the Kremlin’s orbit. The past fifteen years have proved to Tbilisi and to the whole world how devoted Russia is to its commitments. Even today, when Moscow is involved in a full scale aggression against our sovereign country, it shamelessly claims to be conducting a peacekeeping mission.

As a result of the aggression separatists have increased the area of the territory under their control. The presence of Russian peacekeepers was the guarantee that this would happen. The Georgian government made several statements and the international community and the major powers confirmed again and again the territorial integrity of Georgia but the “peacekeepers” think and act differently.

Now Georgia’s Parliament is working on the draft law on leaving the CIS and declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be occupied territories. This should be done as soon as possible. When these laws are adopted Russia will have no grounds to claim to be acting as a mediator or peacekeeper.

Now the time has come for the world to wake up and open its eyes wide. Russia still wants to be the sole player in the Caucasus region .The world has to decide weather it agrees with that or not.

Some Georgian analysts think that declaring the Russians as occupiers might accelerate the process of freeing the territories from their control, but others doubt it. Henceforth, however, at least things will be called by their real names.