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Moscow creates problems in regulating Russian Georgian relations

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 20
Some moves were made recently in an effort to regulate relations between Moscow and Tbilisi. Unfortunately, Russia has taken or plans to take some steps that are not conducive to the efforts to achieve better relations between the two countries. Georgiaís Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern over information spread in the Russian media regarding the possibility of the tax system and associated revenue of the Tskhinvali region (south Ossetia) being integrated into the Russian Federationís tax system.

On February 17, Russian media outlets reported that deputy Chairman of the Russian Federal Treasury, Stanislav Prokofiev and Ossetia so defacto PM, Sergei Takoev, have discussed the possibility of merging the Russian Federationís tax and revenue system with the appropriate bodies of South Ossetia. Georgiaís Foreign Ministry advised Russian officials to refrain from such provocative moves, explaining that they are understood as the continuation of the process of occupation and annexation and create serious obstacles in mending the diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries.

In light of the recent positive steps taken by both the Georgian and Russian sides, this particular move represents a particularly unpleasant signal for Georgia. Georgian officials believe that if Russia continues such provocative actions, it will signal that apart from its recent pragmatic declarations, Russia is not serious about regulating relations with Georgia.

Georgian MP Irakli Sesiashvili said that because the Tskhinvali region completely depends on the Russian Federation, technically it will be easier for Moscow to arrange the financing of the region as a part of the federal budget rather than a foreign country that requires assistance.

Moreover, according to unconfirmed sources, Russia plans on the presence of Abkhazian and South Ossetian delegations at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. This would be a very sad development if it turns out to be true, because the current leadership changed the previous governmentís decision to boycott the Sochi Olympics as an expression of Tbilisiís goodwill. However, special envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze and Russian deputy Foreign Minister Karasin will discuss this issue at the forthcoming bilateral meeting between the two countries.

That being said, Georgiaís decision to participate in Sochi is not a very popular decision among Georgian civil society and not appreciated by many within the Georgian population at large. If such distressing rumors about the participation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia prove true, it will represent yet another hostile move on behalf of the Kremlin.

Letís hope that for the prosperity of everyone involved, that these rumors are false and Georgia and Russia can continue the process of thawing relations and onward down the trust building path.