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How to understand good neighborly relations?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, December 23
Georgian leadership currently has been repeatedly stating its readiness to start dialogue with Russia, while the Kremlin continues to ignore these announcements. However we can expect that sooner or later Russia will be forced to start dialogue with Georgia. So it is interesting to imagine how Moscow and its leaders see the possibility of conducting dialogue. In this regard it is important to recall once again, the December 21st opening of a particular memorial in Moscow. As it is widely known, on December 19, 2009 the Georgian government destroyed a memorial for WW2 victims in Kutaisi. As a result of the explosives used to destroy it and the technician's negligent behavior, a mother and her child were killed. Obviously this careless activity was criticized both inside and out of the country, particularly in Russia, where it was used as a propaganda tool against Tbilisi. Eventually Moscow decided to spite Georgia by building a replica of this memorial in Moscow. The opening ceremony was held on December 21st 2010 and was attended by some leaders from the Georgian opposition such as Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Noghaideli. Both these leaders are labeled as pro Russian in Georgia and are therefore criticized by the Georgian ruling administration. Both leaders were separately received by Russian PM Putin though details regarding their talks are not known. However, both highlighted that relations between the two neighboring countries should be normalized and that such a situation would be in both of their interests.

Nobody doubts that it is better to have good neighborly relations between Georgia and Russia rather than confrontation and fighting. However there are different ideas about how these good neighborly relations could be achieved and what each side would have to observe under such relations.

Moscow understands good neighborly relations between Georgia and Russia on the basis of accepting a so called new reality with two independent states within Georgian territory headed by puppet regimes. The Georgian side meanwhile thinks of good neighborly relations on the basis of recalling recognition of both breakaway states and restoring the territorial integrity of sovereign Georgia.

For the time being neither side is prepared to make any concessions, so any progress of concocting a formula for good neighborly relations remains at a standstill. Georgian officials and even some opposition representatives criticized the position of Burjanadze and Noghaideli, calling them collaborationists who accept Russia's position and justify the Russian occupation. It is insult to Georgian society said Irakli Alasania, one of the opposition leaders.

Since the collapse of Soviet Union, Moscow has used conflict in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as a lever to put pressure on Georgia. This pressure eventually culminated into a military assault launched by Moscow against Georgia. It is obvious that Moscow’s step to recognize the Georgian breakaway territories as independent states was a mistake and one can assume that some thoughtful politicians in Russia are beginning to understanding this. But for the time being, Russia is not prepared to stand down, which is largely do to the leadership of Putin, Medvedev and the current ruling elite. So, Georgia must remain consistent and continually attract international attention towards the issue, thus promoting its position. All the while it must hope that in the near future, Russian leadership will change and people with logic and common sense will come to power in the Kremlin, hopefully those who would be willing to take a few civilized steps.