Ivanishvili’s message to Russia
By Messenger Staff
Friday, June 28Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili sent several messages to Russia during the Georgian NATO summit in Tbilisi. In particular, Ivanishvili stated how Georgia is trying to normalize relations with Russia while maintaining its path of joining NATO. However more and more questions are being asked how these two positions can be reconciled.
NATO-Georgian summit representatives expressed their satisfaction concerning the current Georgian government's actions vis-a-vis Russia. First, the Georgian government has stopped incessantly criticizing Russia. Secondly, Georgia has stopped talking about boycotting the Sochi Olympic Games, in return for which Russia has allowed Georgian agricultural products to enter the Russian market after a seven-year boycott. These actions do not mean that Georgian-Russian relations have "normalized", however. Russia still occupies Georgian territory and it is unlikely that Russia will agree to leave Abkhazia and South Ossetia any time soon.
Ivanishvili repeated that NATO integration for Georgia is not the choice of any government or political party but rather is the choice of the Georgian people.
Ivanishvili was rather optimistic at the summit- suggesting that Georgia will be able to convince Russia that Georgia’s joining NATO is not against Russian interests. In his speech Ivanishvili pointed out that Russia has not fulfilled its obligations and continues to occupy Georgian territory.
State Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili stated that Russia is carrying out an irresponsible policy and is violating all international norms. Russia insists that there was no war between Georgia and Russia in 2008 and that the Russian Federation was only "assisting" South Ossetia. If it believes that the Russian government is living in its own reality.
It seems likely that Russia will block any attempt by Georgia to join NATO. As NATO does not want to upset Moscow they will likely bow into the Kremlin's demands and leave Georgia outside the alliance.