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Rumours of South Ossetia de-occupation

By Messenger Staff
Monday, February 7
Official Moscow assures the world community that it will not renounce its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. However certain sources in Russia have started to spread other news, in particular that there is a possible option of returning South Ossetia to Georgia. On February 3 in a programme on Ekho Moskvi TV Russian journalist, writer, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zavtra and devoted Russian chauvinist, Alexander Prokhanov criticised liberals from the Kremlin (as he called them) who according to him were considering the possibility of returning South Ossetia to Georgia and furthermore even separating the Caucasus from Russia. Prokhanov gave his version of possible developments – according to him presidential elections will be held in South Ossetia in November and the Kremlin will promote a very mild mannered person to that position who will eventually agree to sign a confederative relations agreement with Georgia.

Prokhanov suggested that implementation of the project will start this summer; the project also envisages President Saakashvili being replaced by a representative of the opposition. Of course so called Russian patriots (chauvinists) do not like this possible development.

Prokhanov’s appearance caused controversial reactions in Georgia. Some analysts think that his claims are impossible – that Russia will not return anything to Georgia, while others believe it was deliberate leak to test the reaction of the regimes in Tskhinvali and Tbilisi. Analyst Paata Zakareishvili think the latter is unrealistic and suggests that any possible discussions of the issue could perhaps start in 5-10 years when Russia eventually realizes that it cannot control situation. Meanwhile Russia has made no contact whatsoever with Saakashvili; it is building up its military power and will no doubt ask for some big concessions from Georgia in return.

Analyst Mamuka Areshidze thinks that possibly Moscow really thinks it necessary to change something in the Caucasus region. The Kremlin realises that if it wants to calm the situation in the northern Caucasus then it needs stability in the South Caucasus. Forceful moves are unacceptable so something should be done peacefully. So perhaps the Kremlin is considering such a possibility so this information was leaked to obtain people’s reaction. So if one listens to Prokhanov’s prediction the in just 3-4 months the situation will be resolved. But one thing is for certain – Russia needs stability in Georgia to promote its interest in the region.

Maybe there is another danger for Georgia establishing confederative relations with South Ossetia, for it to do so, it must recognise it as an equal entity and maybe it is a trap. Clearly, as always Georgia once again faces very serious challenges.