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Unreal behaviour creates unreal alienation

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 6
Russia’s aggressive policy towards Georgia since the collapse of the USSR has resulted in the alienation of two neighbouring countries sharing the same religion and a long history of common values. The August invasion further increased the gap between the nations, causing unlimited damage to their mutual relations.

Imperialistic Russia has blocked all the roads to reconciliation by occupying Georgian provinces and recognizing the “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. So far greedy Moscow is “enjoying the dividends” of its aggressiveness, but already hints of more negative results are becoming visible. The world saw the real face of the Kremlin and the separatist mood Russia fostered and partly propagated in Georgia has taken root in Russia itself, with uncertain consequences.

The Gorbi polling agency regularly asks Georgians how much confidence they have in the leaders of different countries. In 2003 54% of respondents to one of these polls trusted US President Bush and 43% Russia’s Putin. After the Rose Revolution however the hopes of improving relations with Russia and starting everything again with a blank sheet were frustrated. In 2005 Putin was trusted only by 15%. Trust in Bush also decreased in that year, though not as dramatically, to 43%. But after the August aggression trust in Putin fell as low as 4%, whereas Bush was trusted by 68%. In December President-elect Obama was added to the question and received 61% trust from Georgian respondents.

In the post-Soviet period Georgia’s number one priority in foreign policy has become resisting Russia’s imperialistic ambitions towards its tiny southern neighbour. In the 90s of the last century the idea that there were ‘two Russias’ gained wide acceptance. The concept was so simple: there was a neo-imperialistic and aggressive Russia, but also a democratic and friendly Russia. The two were thought to exist side by side. However it gradually became more and more difficult to identify any citizen of the second Russia. Today such people are very few, unfortunately.

The process of mutual alienation of these eternal neighbours started as soon as Georgia regained its independence early in the 90s and was completed during the August aggression. Some Georgian NGOs and politicians and the Georgian Orthodox Church are trying to establish a mode for resuming dialogue. But so far all their efforts have been in vain because Georgia has one, vitally important precondition for the reestablishment of relations – recognizing the territorial integrity of our sovereign country. Russia stubbornly and arrogantly insists on ‘accepting the existing reality,’ which means recognizing parts of Georgia as “independent states.” This is absolutely unacceptable for any Georgian, and thus Georgian-Russian relations reach deadlock.

Russian imperialist-oriented political analysts cynically assert that through recognizing the independence of the breakaway regions the conflict is now over. Stalin/Beria used to say – No man, no problem. Luckily times have changed. The world is not blind any more. Russia has invaded almost one quarter of Georgia and cannot disguise this, or itself, forever.