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February 25 – a symbolic date in Georgian-Russian relations

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 27
On February 25, 1921, the Russian Bolshevik Red Army took Tbilisi and conquered Georgia. After, 70 years of Soviet rule was established over the country. However, since regaining independence, Georgia now commemorates this date as a symbol of Bolshevik occupation over the country by Russia.

Moscow meanwhile, does not acknowledge the fact of the Bolshevik occupation. Moreover, in August 2008, Russia repeatedly occupied the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are independent states. It should be noted that such statements made by Moscow’s officials destroy the last pro-Russian hopes in Georgia.

Georgia’s current government, unlike the previous leadership, is taking pragmatic steps and therefore the Kremlin is ready to deepen economic relations with Georgia. “But not at the expense of betraying our brothers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Lavrov said in Moscow on February 25 at the meeting with the students of the Diplomatic Academy.

Moreover, Lavrov reiterated that Russia secures the existence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, there is often a slight explanation to Moscow’s position, which emphasizes that the Kremlin was forced to take this step as Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration had left no other option.

In particular, it is stated that before the August War, a possibility of achieving an agreement existed between Georgia and Russia over Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, while Saakashvili had frustrated such an option.

Thus, Russia is shifting all the blame on Saakashvili and his administration. Of course this is a “comfortable” excuse for Moscow to explain its aggressive plans, because in reality Russia had been provoking Georgia to use force and the major fault and mistake committed by Saakashvili’s leadership was that they did not avoid the Russian provocation and “swallowed the bait.”

Georgia’s current leaders immediately reacted to Lavrov’s statements and once again declared the necessity for the de-occupation of Georgian territories. While at the same time, Lavrov’s statement confirmed Saakashvili’s position that Russia is not giving up anything to anyone. Thus Saakashvili wants to justify his position of confrontation with Russia. On the one hand, he suggests that in this way Georgia will move to in the European direction; while on the other hand, the confrontation strategy proved to be disastrous for Georgia, the alternative way has been suggested by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili who thinks that by cooperating with Russia in economic, humanitarian, cultural and other directions, gradually will move the processes to reintegration between Georgia and its breakaway territories on the agenda, and eventually this will take place.

Of course it is practically impossible to predict how long it will take. However, this is the only possible way.