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Big world and little Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 17
During his November 12 speech at the federal session discussing foreign policy Russian President Medvedev did not miss the chance to brand Georgia as an aggressor. Russia insists on distorting reality, and as the best form of defence is attack it is trying to put onto Georgia all the sins Moscow itself has committed.

The major message Medvedev sent the world was Russia’s claim to be a country of world importance. This status was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union, because the Russia left behind was only a source of raw materials, not a developed industrial country. But Medvedev highlighted far-reaching plans. He stated that in the 21st century Russia needs full scale modernisation and this should be backed up by democratic values which according to him are now being adopted for the first time in the history of Russia. However Medvedev is lying when he talks about the ‘democratisation’ of Russia. The Medvedev-Putin tandem is not building a democratic state, it is building an authoritarian regime far removed from a liberal democracy.

Medvedev stressed that the cornerstone of Russian foreign policy is the creation of a multipolar world. He mentioned that a significant sign that this was bearing fruit was the G20 replacing the G7. However he then went off at a tangent by raising the issue of spheres of interest. Moscow wants the West to acknowledge that Russia has a sphere of interest in the former Soviet territories, thus somewhat restricting the number of poles that can coexist as equals in his multipolar world. The August 2008 aggression also contradicted Medvedev’s present argument, as it was an attempt at fleshing out Russia’s imperialistic dreams, made simply because since the collapse of the Soviet Union Georgia has been desperately trying to get away from Russia. Unfortunately for Georgia however Western support does not neutralise Russian aggression, as is clearly shown by the fact that 1/5 of Georgia’s territory is occupied by its northern neighbour.

Relations between the two countries are in deadlock. There are only two ways out of this situation: first, Russia becomes a democratic state and gives up its claims against sovereign Georgia and second, the Russian empire collapses as it did 90 years ago and as the Soviet Empire did 20 years ago. The hope that Russia will become democratic is very naive, but Russia becoming a leading world power is also unrealistic. Russia cannot develop in the right direction unless the West helps it to by making huge investments in technology, industry, and presumably democracy as the price for its assistance. Medvedev says that Russia’s foreign policy should facilitate modernisation and be pragmatic, but Russia’s claim to be a world power could have very dramatic consequences for everyone else, because the essence of all Russian policy, either foreign or domestic, is hypocrisy. If Russia cannot go forwards, it will inevitably go backwards, meaning that Georgia is more likely to escape Russia’s malign influence because it has collapsed rather than because it has become democratic.

However Russia will continue to try and cover its deficiencies with aggression, as the worst Soviet leaders were fond of doing. Its primary targets will be the former Soviet nations which have not only declared their independence and sovereignty but aligned themselves with the West. Georgia and Ukraine are top of this list. What part these countries play in Russia’s schemes we will see in the near future. The Ukrainian Presidential elections are approaching, which provide one test. Let’s see what we can work out, before it comes knocking on our door.