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Georgia and the Sochi Olympics

By Messenger Staff
Monday, July 22
One of the first steps taken by the Georgian leadership after the Georgian Dream coalition achieved victory during the Parliamentary Elections in October of 2012 was the decision to participate in the Sochi Olympic Games without boycotting it.

This decision immediately caused controversial assessments in Georgia. Maybe if one carries out polling it would be a rather unpopular decision. However, from the political point of a view, this could be the right decision.

The foreign policy strategy of the new Georgian Dream administration is oriented towards the West as it has been declared. However, it is also oriented at regulating relations with Russia. Of course such a strategy considers certain tactical retreats because, after all, the main strategic interests of Georgia remains the restoration of its territorial integrity, which means that this should take place sooner or later; therefore, all the efforts must be taken to warm the relations between Georgia and Russia and thus achieve a reciprocal attitude from the Russian side, which will eventually lead to restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

In this regard, the Sochi Olympic Games have become a crucial issue and Georgia has taken very brave and risky steps forward.

The previous United National Movement (UNM) administration headed by Mikheil Saakashvili kept on excluding Georgia’s participation in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. The major reason for that was the fact that the two countries have no diplomatic relations and they are, in reality, in a state of a war. The only document that regulates the current relations between the two countries is the cease-fire agreement dated August 12, 2008. However, the decisions of this document are not obeyed by Russia.

The second reason named by Georgia’s previous administration for why it did not plan to participate in the Olympic Games was that Sochi is located at such a place where in the middle of the 19th century the genocide of the Cherkez people had taken a place.

Georgia has recognized the genocide of the Cherkez people at the parliamentary session so, according to the Georgian position, it would be immoral to participate in the games.

The new Georgian administration ignores both of these arguments, stating soon after the parliamentary victory that Georgia would participate in the Olympic Games under the argument that sports and policy should not be mixed.

The major idea behind it was to warm the relations with Russia, thus showing Georgia’s goodwill, which would eventually provoke positive steps from Russia.

The Olympic Games already have faced many problems. First of all, high-scale corruption in Russia creates risks of the terms of completing the construction of the Olympic sites; there is also a high risk of terrorist attacks at the Olympics as the Chechen fighters have been threatening and, of course, Georgia’s position to support the security of the Olympic Games in Sochi is a brave and positive step. Under the current situation, the Russian officials will have no opportunities to blame Tbilisi if something goes wrong.