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Some challenges of Georgia’s north Caucasus politics

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 4
After the Russian aggression of August 2008, the Georgian government, as soon as it became possible, started engaging actively in the politics of the North Caucasus. On one hand, this irritated Russia and on the other hand it caused concern for the west. Some Georgian analysts are rather critical about Georgian North-Caucasus politics but, officially, Tbilisi looks unlikely to change its direction.

Georgia’s new North Caucasus policy focuses on different issues. The first is the genocide of different North Caucasus nationals, like Cherkezians, Chechens and Ingushians. The second is the boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, then comes the establishment of a Russian language TV channel transmitting in the north Caucasus, providing a simplified visa regime for north Caucasus inhabitants and putting forward the topic of United Caucasus on an international level

In return, Russia responded by accusing Georgia of masterminding terrorist acts targeted against Moscow. Georgia’s moves were causing concern to Georgia’s western friends. Some Georgian analysts think that this kind of activity has no future as westerners will not approve because the Kremlin’s irritation could burst out into something really dramatic. However, Georgian officials, in particular Foreign Minister Vashadze, recently stated in his interview that he is indifferent to the others' opinions in particular when statements are made unofficially. Of course on one hand Georgia’s moves to ease the visa regime for the north Caucasus inhabitants as well as organizing Russian language TV channel transmission to the region has a humanitarian motive and Tbilisi can claim that it wants thus to facilitate the peoples’ diplomacy, through deeper involvement between the populations of the two countries and so on. But in reality the situation is much more complicated and everybody knows what Georgian politics mean and that Russia is seriously concerned about the matter.

On one hand, Georgia has always asked if Russian citizens of the north Caucasus can enter Georgia in a simplified visa mode. But how could terrorists enter Russia via Georgia when the Russians control the border in such a strict manner?

TV transmission of Russian language channel is also a voluntary option; this is the choice of the individual. There are many ways for Georgians to tune in to Russian channels. But the case is different concerning Moscow, the complex of guilt forces the Kremlin to be more radical and try to prove to the world Georgia's alleged connection with terrorists. Therefore it cannot be excluded that at any moment Moscow can make unpredictable steps and use military force against terrorists outside Russian territory. As it is known, Moscow has this clause in its legislation. And in this case nobody in the world will protect Georgia despite its introduction of obligatory English language classes at schools or sending Georgian soliders to Afghanistan to fulfill international missions or anything of this kind.

So it is better not to tease a bear especially when you know how fierce it could be when it wakes up from it's winter doze.