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EU pressure confounds Russia

By Messenger staff
Friday, September 12
Very slowly and unwillingly Russia is giving up the territories it occupied during the aggression, thanks to the pressure of the international community and in particular the uncompromising position of the current EU President, French President Sarkozy. Of course the US position is also a most solid back up.

Sarkozy came to Tbilisi twice and on both occasions he achieved serious results. On August 12 the ceasefire agreement was brokered and on September 8 it looked as if Moscow had started withdrawing its troops from Georgia. In drawing up the agreement for the latter Sarkozy was categorical, insisting on fixing exact withdrawal dates and timetables. He did this because the delay, playing with words and misinterpretation of the clear text exercised by the Russian leadership were indeed irritating to honest and fair Europeans.

The documents now in force and to be followed are far from ideal for Georgia, but our country was defeated and occupied by the monster. We were not left with much choice in the matter.

Moscow is now forced to give up its buffer zones and checkpoints which were nowhere allowed in the original ceasefire agreement. These zones were extremely dangerous for Georgia. Their continued presence would have negatively influenced the economy and scared away investors, thus undermining the political and ideological stability of the country. Russian occupiers in the buffer zones were carrying out subversive activities, telling the people of Samegrelo that they were not Georgians and offering people near the Tskhinvali conflict zone Russian passports.

As soon as there is no Russian soldier on Georgian territory, other than those in the conflict zones, a second set of moves will become necessary.

Russia will continue shamelessly asserting that it is following a bilateral agreement with an “independent state” on protecting its “sovereignty.” The rest of the world has to prove to Moscow that if it wants to be the part of civilized community it has to play fair game and follow the rules.

Very much depends on how firm and consistent the Western position will be: how methodically it will defend its position on protecting a young and fragile democracy. Moscow so far recognizes only one principle: Might is Right. It should be taught that someone is right when the rule of law determines so, and that international laws are superior to local ones, in particular when those local ones are based on criminal principles. The international community should force Russia to let the refugees return to their original dwelling places safely and with dignity, and to observe human rights, not intimidate and humiliate people.

The world’s fight for Georgia is not over. According to a Georgian folk tale the cruel giant has many heads. The hero has to behead them all, one by one.