Aggression provoked by Georgia’s transit function
By Messenger Staff
Monday, September 14From the end of the twentieth century until now Georgia has been an energy corridor connecting Asia and Europe, largely as a result of its geographical location and political will. Being such a strategically-important corridor has had both positive and negative aspects. Many of Georgia’s current problems, particularly those of its territorial integrity, have been caused by this. Although Georgia’s importance as a transport corridor should in theory secure its safety it has been attacked by Russia for that very reason.
Economic analyst Davit Ebralidze suggests that the corridor has more of a security than an economic function. After the collapse of the Soviet system Georgia could have either stayed in Russia’s orbit as a satellite or taken a Western orientation and an independent stance. It chose the second option, not only leaving Russia’s sphere of influence but competing with it as an east to west energy supplier, while Russia claimed it had the sole right to fulfil this function. Of course Moscow reacted to this and started taking all possible and impossible steps to damage Georgia’s image as a transit country.
Russia realises that it might lose control of Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and others if these countries no longer need Russia to send their principal export, energy, to Europe. It is in their best interests, and in Europe’s, that Georgia provide an alternative route from east to west. However at the critical time last August the West did not show enough courage to protect its own interests by protecting Georgia. It is therefore asked: will Georgia’s Western orientation yield benefits for Georgia or is this country doomed to be sacrificed in the great international relations chess game?