War and peace
By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 22
Throughout its 2500 years of statehood, Georgia has experienced multiple wars, some short and some long but all full of blood and desperation. Georgia's geographic location, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, has been a source of much tragedy in its history.
Is Georgia geographically in Europe or Asia? Although Georgians claim to be the part of Europe, Georgians have much in common with Middle Eastern culture in terms of mentality.
Along with Armenia, Georgia is an outpost of Christianity in a region dominated by Islam.
Being at the crossroads of East and West, Georgia was conquered many times by the empires around it. The Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Turks, and Russians all made claims to Georgia's territory and launched military expeditions against the tiny country. The population became used to foreign interlopers.
For nearly 200 years, Georgia was occupied by Russia. Russia signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with Georgia in 1783 with the intent to protect the sovereignty of Georgia. However, in 1801 Russia annexed Georgia. Georgia declared independence in 1918 but in 1921 was invaded and annexed by Russia (under the Bolsheviks this time).
The Soviet Union (as it became known) was ruled for almost 30 years by a Georgian: Joseph Stalin but suffered as much as any part of the U.S.S.R. In 1991 Georgia declared independence and is today an independent state whose sovereignty is recognized around the world.
The only country which does not recognize Georgia within its internationally acknowledged boundaries is Russia. Russia supports the "independence" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are in reality puppet states controlled by Moscow.
To protect itself from Russian aggression or any type of aggression, Georgia needs international support and assistance. Georgia needs to be affiliated with the European Union and NATO. Georgia's leaders have been moving Georgia in that direction for some time now.
There is a saying in Russian – poor peace is much better than glorious war. The current Georgian administration has significantly toned down its rhetoric towards Russia, in comparison with the former government. Georgia’s position nowadays is very simple - let us have dialogue and cooperation with Russia in non-political fields.
The first is business. Even Georgia’s former government allowed Russian businesses to be active in Georgia. There is Russian investment in the mining sector and other industrial fields. Energy supply and distribution is also on the agenda. The current Georgian government continues to encourage Russian investment in the Georgian economy.
The current Georgian administration had a major (from the Georgian point of view) diplomatic coup when they got the Russian government to agree to lift its embargo against Georgian products. Georgian wine, spirits, mineral water, fruit and vegetables have all returned to the Russian market.
The Georgian people welcome representatives of Russian culture: Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors are performing with more regularity in Georgia. Georgian sportsmen are preparing to participate in the Sochi Olympic Games in February as well. Ordinary citizens have also started moving north in greater numbers. We should not forget that several hundred thousand Georgians currently live and work in Russia. The money they make in Russia helps maintain their families in Georgia. International organizations are also helping Georgia come to a peaceful settlement with its northern neighbor.
Georgia’s special envoy in relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, regularly meets with high-ranking officials from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and slowly the countries are moving closer.
As the famous Georgian song "Mravalzhamieri" teaches: whatever is destroyed by war is built up by love.