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Drawing the red line in Georgian-Russian relations

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, December 13
Georgia’s new government is taking its first steps in building a new relationship between Georgia and its northern neighbor. However, opinions vary on the likelihood of its success. Some analysts predict that the dialogue between Moscow and Tbilisi will be very modest and will be limited to improved economic, trade and cultural relations. Others believe that the new Georgian government will make significant concessions in this pursuit to achieve its goals. The Georgian Dream however, believes that it will successfully manage a deal with Russia.

Possible concessions from the Georgian side were highlighted by former US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter – Zbigniew Brzezinski, who suggested that Georgia could become Russia’s ally only at the expense of its friendship with the United States.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also very critical of Russia’s latest attempts to encourage unity among former Soviet republics by advocating on behalf of a customs union or “Eurasian Union.” As such, several analysts who strongly supported the former Georgian leadership have been noticeably more critical of Georgian policy under the Georgian Dream and are altogether less confident in Georgia’s ability to resist such membership offers.

Georgian Dream coalition members clearly state that Georgia will not deviate from its current course and repeatedly claim its intention to join Western-oriented alliances like NATO and the EU. On the other hand, the normalization of relations with Russia has always been among the demands of Georgia’s Western friends.

There are red lines and limits that the Georgian side has drawn. These are issues that are not negotiable and cannot be violated. These include issues related to the territorial integrity of the country and Georgia’s western orientation. The Georgian leadership will never give up Georgia’s rightful claim over the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia, and will never give up on its western aspirations.

However, all of these issues require time and patience.