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Nobody is going to confront Russia for the sake of Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, December 14
Sometimes analysts, but more often members of the Georgian public, express the wish that the West provide more radical support for Georgia in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Even the Georgian Parliament recently sent a statement to Western countries concerning Russia’s increasing aggression against Georgia. This asked Western countries to exchange the policy of making verbal condemnation and passing paper resolutions for one of imposing sanctions. However it is unlikely that such kind of appeals will yield any significant results as nobody will confront Russia for the sake of Georgia.

The West does not condone the Russian aggression against Georgia or its consequences. It does not recognise 'Abkhazia' and 'South Ossetia', concoctions supported and promoted by Russia, as independent states. It has demanded that Moscow repudiate its illegal recognition of these entities but that is all it has done. It has not gone further. Russia simply ignores the West demands because it knows perfectly well that they will not be followed by sanctions. Moscow is pretty sure that nobody will confront Russia for the sake of Georgia.

Many Georgian analysts agree that nobody wants to complicate their relations with Russia. On the contrary, the West is trying to reconcile with Russia after the tension which had developed because of its aggression against Georgia. The West is realising that there are more important issues than Georgia, such as Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. Georgian analysts think that the West will consider confrontation only if Moscow takes further aggressive steps, such as attacking Ukraine. But at present The Kremlin is concentrating on digesting the Georgian territory it has already swallowed and undermining Ukraine from the inside to ensure its smooth transition from pro-Western independent state to satellite country indistinguishable from a province of the Russian Federation. Consequently cooperation is the current watchword, and the West is even recommending to Tbilisi that it start a dialogue with Moscow.

The Georgian leadership, while still demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory, is prepared to reestablish certain relations with Russia. For instance, it is prepared to reopen the Larsi checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border and thus restore transport communication, saying that Armenia will be the biggest beneficiary of this. Of course from an economic point of view normalising relations with Russia will be beneficial for Georgia but how about the occupied territory? Any warming of relations between the two countries will make Russia think that Georgia is prepared to accept The Kremlin's "new reality", the Russian occupation of the 1/5 of Georgia it regards as two independent states, at least indirectly.

Georgia is busy with internal matters, the forthcoming elections, the race for Mayor of Tbilisi, etcetera. These are more trivial issues, but taking peaceful steps makes the current Georgian administration more attractive for Westerners as well as for Russia. One issue which might cause them to think hard however is the search for ‘Russian agents’. It has become a tradition in Georgia to call your opponents this at election time, and we expect both sides to do so. However this does not actually win anyone any friends, as people believe these allegations to different degrees and we have heard them all before.

One way or another the Russian factor is influencing Georgia’s internal situation to a greater degree. We should not forget that much of Georgia's internal investment and business activity is also connected with Russia, meaning that the old Soviet-era dependence on Moscow, which Georgia once sought to eradicate, will probably still be here at least in near future.