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Medvedev comments on Georgia, or maybe himself

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 30
US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Georgia and the statements he made here have triggered different speculations in the Russian media and in its official circles. Some of the remarks being made are very aggressive, expressing threats to Georgia, while others are more moderate. But is this apparent moderation genuine?

Recently President Medvedev spoke to NTV about future perspectives of Georgian-Russian relations. The Russian President insisted that in the near future the relationship with Georgia will be restored with the ‘new realities’ as its background. To put it simply, behind a friendly and reconciliatory tone President Medvedev is attempting to extract the indirect consent of Georgia to Russia’s occupation of the lost territories and its approval and recognition of the two quasi- states it has put there. In fact Russia is trying its utmost to achieve a breakthrough in this direction and persuade at least somebody to follow in its footsteps and recognise the puppet regimes. Medvedev’s pseudo-friendly intonation was a disguised attempt to provoke people in Georgia to recognise the ‘Russian reality’.

So far even Russia’s closest allies in the CIS, which are practically vassals in Russia’s opinion, have not obeyed Moscow’s orders in this matter. Therefore Medvedev is making himself look rather comical when he invites the puppet regime leaders to semi-official events in Moscow or visits occupied Tskhinvali to inspect the soldiers there. This is an attempt to give Russia more confidence its own behaviour and satisfy its imperialistic appetite. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are the first territories which have been regained by Russia though military aggression since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a collapse the present Russian leadership regards as ‘tragic’. Medvedev received official response to his actions from Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Davit Jalagonia, who stated unequivocally that diplomatic relations with Russia will be restored only after it pulls out of the Georgian territories it has occupied.

Russia does not expect any recognition of its ‘new realities’ from the current Tbilisi administration. It completely excludes having any kind of diplomatic relations with the Saakashvili administration. But what is ridiculous is that Medvedev calls Saakashvili an aggressor, putting all the blame for the atrocities Moscow committed last August on Tbilisi. The conclusions of the EU fact finding commission studying the August war will be published in exactly two months time. But without waiting for any independent conclusions, what can we already see? Russian soldiers crossed the Georgian border, occupied Georgian territory and are continuing to do so, Russia has recognised two separatist regimes in the occupied territories and is building up its military presence in these territories with demonstrably aggressive intent! One has to blame the Georgian leadership, of course, for getting trapped into such a situation, but the trap should not have been there to fall into in the first place.

Medvedev’s hopes that any Georgian leadership will recognise Russia’s ‘new realities’ will be frustrated by every possible administration in Tbilisi. Not only official Tbilisi but the entire Georgian population have said this again and again. As for the ‘warm’ words of President Medvedev towards Georgians, this is another vivid example of the ‘steak and cake’ policy. While certain Russian dignitaries, on this occasion the Russian President, express their cordial attitude to the Georgian people others send clear messages to Georgia about possible punitive measures it can take if Georgia continues to try and integrate with NATO and the Western political-military bloc and strengthen its defence capacity or democratic institutions. In parallel with this the entire Russian propaganda machine is brainwashing its population to create anti-Georgian phobias in Russia. The banning of Georgian agricultural products, inhuman deportations of Georgian citizens and other actions are undertaken for this purpose alone, a strange way of expressing in practice the cordiality which Russian mouths are so keen to profess when it suits them.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union Georgia has had three leaders, Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze and now Saakashvili. None of these leaders or their administrations have satisfied Moscow. We can therefore assume that it’s the general orientation of the country rather than the person in power at any one time which bothers Moscow. The Kremlin does not want Tbilisi to remove itself from its orbit because it knows that the country plays an extremely important role as a transit route which can frustrate Russia’s long-matured plans to create a monopoly on energy supplies to Europe. Russia wants to create an energy monopoly to influence European policy. We should ask whether Russia is actually capable of conducting a policy of any value, even if it had the chance to impose it on Europe, if the presence of tiny Georgia is seen as such a threat to it.