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Georgia – Russia have close to zero relations

By M. Alkhazashvili
Monday, September 1
It is difficult to understand now what the plan of the Russian political leadership concerning Georgia was. Has it achieved its goals? What were the gains and losses?

O.K., now it has “independent states” next to it, populated by people of another ethnicity holding Russian passports, so what’s next? How far can this “independence” be prolonged? Will it prove an extra pain in Russia’s neck? How soon will this act backfire in the autonomous regions of Russia itself?

Future developments will demonstrate the wisdom or otherwise of Russia’s decision. If we remember how quickly these things can develop (remember the collapse of the Soviet Union), the breakup of Russia might happen in less than a decade. One result of Russia’s actions is already clear, however. Tbilisi and Moscow will not have normal relations for a long period. To restore them, either the Kremlin will retreat and reverse its decision to recognize the separatist regions, which is unlikely, or we will have to await the collapse of the Russian Empire, which is, however, inevitable.

Everything has happened in the twinkling of an eye. On August 25 the two chambers of the Russian Duma unanimously recognized breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia and submitted their document saying so to the man who works as a President at Prime Minister Putin’s office.

The West thought, naively as always, that Medvedev would not agree with the decision, or at least think twice, or bargain, or just try to create the illusion of doing so before taking such an earth-shattering decision. But the next day he signed it, because it looks as if the decision was actually taken long ago. The Kremlin was just waiting for a “good” chance to formalize what had already been decided.

Hopefully Russian politicians realize that under the current circumstances Russia and Georgia cannot continue normal diplomatic or other relations. But Moscow does not care. Sometimes, or rather very often, the Kremlin believes its own propaganda since it listens to it too often. “Georgia is a threat to Russia,” the Russian media kept saying, brainwashing the population. “Georgia is an aggressor, it attacked Russia,” and so on and so forth. It is enjoying the euphoria of its “glorious victory” over its small neighbour. It has long dreamed of creating two new states at the expense of Georgia. What more do you want to see?

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Permanent Representative at the UN, is most hypocritically assuring the world that Russia feels sympathy and friendship towards the Georgian people, and has aired the Kremlin’s hopes that sooner or later they will have a worthy leadership which will develop respectful, equal and neighbourly relations with the peoples of the Caucasus. Moreover, Russia will facilitate that. Having plenty of experience of Russian “assistance,” we can easily imagine how “well” it could give it.” Thank you Russia”, but keep it for yourself.

Georgia cannot do much against Russia. It has so far taken diplomatic and legislative steps. On August 28 Parliament unanimously approved the draft law entitled “Occupation by the Russian Federation of Georgian Territories.” These regions of Georgia are thereby declared occupied territoties, all the armed forces there are treated as illegal forces, and Georgia has renounced all legal agreements concluded with Russia before the aggression. The only legal document Georgia will recognize in its future relations with Russia is the Sarkozy-brokered ceasefire plan, which both countries have signed.

There is a fear among the people that breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia will be detrimental to Georgians living in Russia . MP David Darchiashvili, commenting on this concern, told Akhali Taoba newspaper that in 2006 Georgia had diplomatic relations with Russia, but this did not stop the latter expelling and deporting people of Georgian ethnicity from Russian soil. Nevertheless, the General Prosecutor’s Office has been ordered to gather evidence of ethnic cleansing of Georgians, and if enough is found Moscow will be liable to pay Georgia compensation. MPs are also demanding that Russia be charged with ecological terrorism. But at the end of the day, the condemnation of Russia will reflect how consistent and united the West will be in doing it.