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Experts on “Brave New World”

By Temuri Kiguradze
Thursday, June 25
Russian and Georgian political and economic analysts discussed perspectives of global development in the light of the new realities which have emerged in recent years in a video bridge between Moscow and Tbilisi on June 24.

“Now we live in an essentially new world order, where the time has come for small countries to play an important role,” stated Nikolay Zlobin, head of Russian and Asian Programmes at the Washington-based World Security Institute. Zlobin underlined that countries like Georgia and Ukraine which were considered to be minor in previous periods may now influence the policy of superstates like Russia and the USA. “If before the fall of the Soviet Union we were talking about a bipolar world, now the world has no pole at all. It’s a world where the economy defines the relations between states which are considered partners. During the days of the bipolar world it was more or less clear what to expect from the main players – the USA and the USSR, who were considered to be enemies. Now the situation is totally unpredictable,” stated Zlobin.

Another Russian expert, Ruslan Grinberg, head of the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, stated that the situation after the global economic crisis will pose the need for a “global regulator” of economic and political processes, but the appointment of such a regulator would “never happen” due to differences in position between states.

“Not military power but economics will define the world order now,” underlined Zurab Noghaideli, the former Georgian Prime Minister now head of the opposition “Movement for Fair Georgia,” who represented the Georgian side at the discussion. He also noted that the economic crisis has created more problems inside countries than it has influenced their foreign relations.

Speaking on the future of the region and the relations between post-Soviet countries the experts noted that these relations will in future be based on regional unions. “The CIS [Commonwealth of the Independent States] was unsuccessful because Russia was the dominant force in it and the political issues created after the fall of the Soviet Union dictated the relations between its members, in contrast to the successful EU, in which the economic interests of the partner countries were its basis,” Noghaideli said. The ex-Georgian PM agreed that the importance of smaller countries has risen and added that the global economic crisis, despite its obvious negative aspects, could also bring some good to some states. “The affected countries should reform their economies and use the global crisis to create a more powerful system which will allow them to even gain things from the crisis.”

Answering The Messenger’s question on the future perspectives of Georgian-Russian relations in the “new world,” the experts stated that restoring these will be a “long and difficult” process dependent on the goodwill of the two countries. “It seems less than likely that Russia will initiate dialogue with Georgia while Mikheil Saakashvili is in power,” stated Grinberg. Nikolay Zlobin added that sooner or later an improvement in relations will occur “because Russia needs Georgia as a partner and losing it was a great mistake of the Kremlin’s.” Replying to the Russian analysts Noghaideli stated that one of the main goals of the Georgian opposition is the improvement of relations with Russia.