President Putin - more of the same
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 10For the third time, Vladimir Putin has been sworn in as the President of Russia - through the power of manipulation and a four-year job swap with Dmitry Medvedev. Understandably, the Georgian media and its political analysts are actively speculating over the consequences of his return, especially for Georgia.
For sure, Putinís presidency does not bring any positive prospects. This was stressed during his inauguration speech on May 7, when he mentioned strengthening support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is obvious that Russia will never renege on its recognition of Georgiaís breakaway regions as independent states. And such a decision will definitely never happen under Putin's leadership. This leaves little room for the next Georgian President, who will have to cope with the reality that there may be no diplomatic breakthrough between the countries for many years to come. This is partially why the current Georgian administration tries to discredit certain opposition forces in Georgia by labeling them as "pro-Russian".
As some analysts suggest, a major source of irritation for Russia is Georgiaís Western orientation; specifically, its efforts to integrate into NATO. Russia is trying to restore its dominance in the region, and institutions like NATO and the EU - and the countries that aspire to join them - are a roadblock to this goal.
Presumably, Russia will wait for the outcome of the parliamentary elections in Georgia this autumn and adjust its policy accordingly. The West is unhappy with Russia's harsh treatment of Georgia, and is regularly critical of Moscow. Yet the Russian position may become more aggressive if the Saakashvili administration stays in power. It doesn't help that the attitude of the Georgian leadership and our President in particular is very provocative, creating further tension and straining the already strained relations between the two countries.