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Possible foreign policy development

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, October 30
Analysts and journalists are curious whether there will be any changes or deviations in Georgia's foreign policy now that the Georgian Dream (GD) has taken over the government. Most commentators believe that Ivanishvili will carry out a balanced model of foreign policy, because before the elections, he promised several times that Georgia would simultaneously maintain its Western orientation and will try to regulate its relationship with Russia. How this will be accomplished was not specified until recently, but the declaration is here.

Saakashvili and his team before the elections labeled the GD as a Russian project in an attempt at frightening the Georgian population, and suggested that Ivanishvili’s coming to power would result in him leading the country back into the Russian orbit. To demonstrate his commitment to the Western direction, Ivanishvili refused to cooperate politically with the forces and the politicians who are directly involved in contacts with Russia like Kakha Kukava, Nino Burjanadze and so on. Moreover, one of the leading powers in the GD became the Republican Party, which traditionally was associated with Western orientation and values.

Ivanishvili’s coalition can openly fulfill its claims, but the question remains: how can Georgia continue its way towards NATO and the EU and simultaneously manage to restore its territorial integrity and regulate relations with Russia? How can Tbilisi persuade Moscow that Georgia’s joining NATO will not harm Moscow’s interests? It is hardly possible to find someone in Georgia currently who will provide definite and precise answer to this question. Nobody denies however, that Ivanishvili will try to normalize relations with Russia instead of aggressive rhetoric, which was exercised by the Saakashvili administration; a moderate common sense position should be utilized.

Some analysts remember that when Shevardnadze was Georgia’s president, Georgia made its first application towards NATO and he was the one who managed to persuade then Russian president Yeltsin to sign the agreement on the withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Georgian territory. This was a result of the so-called balanced politics. Of course the situation is much more complicated today. Though separatists even then controlled certain territories of Georgia, Russia recognized Georgia’s sovereignty of the territories, while today the breakaway territories have declared independence. Russia recognized this and now holds embassies in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. Today, Russian president Putin does not only want Georgia outside NATO, but it wants Georgia back to the CIS and possibly into the Eurasian Union. Russian leadership has declared several times publicly that this country is not going to reconsider a new reality in the S. Caucasus. Russia is not going to recall its recognition. How under these conditions is Georgia going to establish a mode of dialogue with Moscow is unclear. Will there be concessions from the Georgian side only? The recent position of the Minister of Reintegration, Paata Zakareishvili, was already declared, when he stated that Tbilisi is prepared to sign an agreement of the non-use of force with Tskhinvali and Sokhumi without recognizing their independence. It should be noted that Moscow wants such agreement to be signed not because it is really concerned of a possible attack by Georgia, but because such a step would be partial recognition of these entities. The situation is still unclear because the new ruling power has just been established and has not made too many steps as of yet.