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Russian-Georgian war and EUís eastern policy

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, August 19
Polish political analyst Marek Chikhotsky thinks that if there is another war in Georgia the EU will conduct itself as it did last year. Chikhotsky suggests that certain aspects of the EUís eastern policy have changed since Russian-Georgian war. The rhetoric of many Western political analysts changed radically at that time, as they began to be more critical of Russia and said that a new Western policy towards Russia needed to be elaborated. The new Eastern Partnership Programme is welcome, Chikhotsky says, because it envisages the facilitation of close relations with six post-Soviet countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which were under the Russian influence for a long time.

Chikhotsky thinks that the war in the Caucasus created criticism of Kremlin energy policy in the region. The world has started searching for alternative routes to counter the Russian monopoly on natural gas supply. This has resulted in the development of the NABUCCO project, which has now been agreed after being much speculated about before August 2008.

The analyst thinks that Russiaís war with Georgia has not weakened Russiaís position in dealing with the West. Russian-German Cooperation has increased, the USA supports intensive dialogue with Moscow, a new stage of Russian-NATO relations is being discussed, but the war in Georgia showed that Moscow will use military force in the region without hesitation to protect its interests, including Eastern Europe, which is more important to EU than the South Caucasus. This gives a very important hint to Poland what challenges lie ahead in eastern policy.

Chikhotsky says the conflict in the Caucasus should be a lesson for Poland. Before the war Georgia could boast about US support but during the conflict itself Tbilisi did not receive adequate support. He suggests that in crisis situations, either political or economic, European countries look for a solution outside the EU by asking the USA to help. This diminishes the EUís role.