The messenger logo

Waiting for what we all know Russia won’t do

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, October 6
On October 1 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to give Russia until January 25 to comply with previous PACE resolutions. Everyone who either supported or opposed this decision knew a priori that Russia is not going to do this. Therefore the decision was hailed in Moscow as a victory and in reality it is a Russian victory. Such pointless delays in taking sanctions against this country merely help it move towards achieving its goal of establishing a new imperialistic reality, new rules of the game and a new world and European order. Whether we like or not this is a fact. No other country in the world would dare to do what Russia is doing, much less expect the rest of the world to tolerate it.

No one was actually expecting that Russia would be deprived of its PACE voting rights as Georgia had demanded. Even the Georgian delegation was sure that this proposal would not be supported. But former Georgian Foreign Minister and now political analyst Irakli Menagarishvili has stated that the reason for this is that Europe has not learnt the language it must speak to Russia with. Russia may not be the direct enemy of the West, as in Cold War times, but it acts contrary to the accepted rules and principles of the international community, ignoring its demands, he thinks.

Once again the Council of Europe has refrained from taking any principled position on Russia’s conduct. This was clearly admitted by one of the authors of the resolution ultimately adopted, Andreas Gros, who admitted that it was true that Russia had violated EU demands, but said that depriving it of its voting rights would not solve the problem at all, but on the contrary complicate it. Gros suggested that dialogue would solve this problem and as Russia would boycott PACE sessions, and the Council of Europe as a whole, if it lost its vote this would not facilitate such dialogue. This position was supported by the majority of members, as expected, and member of the Georgian delegation Akaki Minashvili remarked that although Gros was insisting on dialogue this resolution was actually a deal with Russia, although this comment was not very much appreciated by the Chair of the session.

In Georgia the decision was met with much disappointment. The population expects objective conduct from European structures. The Georgian media shared this disappointment, one newspaper writing that the European position did not go beyond the expression of concern. We understand here in Georgia that Europe is concerned very deeply but does not know what to do, and therefore seeks to gain time in the hope that over the next three months things will become clearer.

It would be interesting to know what contingency plan the Council of Europe has for when January comes and Russia has ignored a PACE resolution once again. The resolution demanded five things: that EU observers be allowed into the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that the return of IDPs be facilitated, that people be allowed to cross the administrative borders without problem, that an investigation into the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population be started and that the Venice Commission be asked to review the new Russian law which specifies the grounds on which its armed forces could enter the territories of other countries. We can say with the utmost confidence that Russia will not fulfill any of these demands.

Maybe Russia will start talking about these demands to create the illusion that it is committed to democratic development, but even this is unlikely. What is more likely is that Russia will further aggravate the strained situation around the occupied territories. The deployment of the Russian Navy in ‘Abkhazian territorial waters’ is a clear sign of Russia’s continued addiction to aggression, a disease which unbalances the Black Sea military configuration. We are obliged to wait and see what Russia will do, but it will not do anything good unless it is forced to.