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No Russia-Georgia Dialogue Forthcoming in Near Future

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 13
The west is currently urging Georgia to open dialogue with Russia. This was the message of President Nicholas Sarkozy's speech in Tbilisi. So far Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has made several attempts to invite his Russian counterpart for a dialogue. However the current Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and the de facto ruler of Russia Vladimir Putin ignore Saakashvili’s attempts stating that they will not negotiate with Saakashvili personally.

As has become clear, Putin will become Russian president again and Saakashvili wants to continue as the number one in Georgia presumably moving into the PM’s armchair. So for now dialogue looks a long way off. Moreover, there were controversial results in a recent NDI poll in Georgia concerning Georgian-Russian relations. Of the respondents, 46% think that Georgia’s current policy against Russia is unacceptable and 79% think that Saakashvili’s willingness to conduct a dialogue with Russia is positive. On the other hand, 63% of those asked think that Russia’s current policy is threat to Georgia’s sovereignty.

Of course, Georgia’s attitude towards Russia is very careful and the Georgian leadership understands that confrontation with this giant will not yield any positive results and therefore it is entirely in its interest to express its readiness for a dialogue. Moreover, it placates that part of the population that would prefer to see Georgia on friendlier terms with Russia by showing them that the Georgian leadership is trying but is blocked by the Russians themselves as Russia stubbornly keeps up its aggressive politics. Despite this, a certain segment of Georgia's population are fully aware that if it were not for Saakashvili then Russian policy towards Georgia would be more flexible and positive.

Due to this, it is easier to deteriorate relations with Russia, keep it as the enemy and discredit anybody and any force in Georgia which expresses any kind of positive sentiments towards Moscow. This has already become a tradition in Georgia. Recently when Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili made his proposal to participate in the elections and outlined his anti-United National Movement stance he was immediately labeled as pro-Russian by the UNM leaders. This is an attempt to discredit Ivanishvili. Most probably the ruling administration will conduct the entire election campaign with anti-Russian slogans, trying to create an anti-Russian mood in the population, a type of a Russophobia. This will further deepen rift between Russia and Georgia and will delay for time unknown the possibility of constructing dialogue between the two countries.