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As NATO summit approaches, much hangs in the balance for Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 3
The opinion of Georgians is divided: some think that Georgia will receive the membership action plan (MAP) at the forthcoming NATO summit in Wales, others express their skepticism claiming NATO will not grant MAP to Georgia.

Moreover, this issue creates a dual understanding of threats. Georgians now are considering what will cause more of a threat: being rejected by NATO, or continuing its drive towards NATO membership.

The sense of skepticism is evident among the Georgian population. According to popular opinion, NATO has not done much to secure the country’s safety. May be it is the result of naive and popular expectations .

Frustration with NATO appeared after Russia’s military attack on Georgia in August 2008. This sense of Russia acting with impunity has only increased in light of Moscow’s latest move to annex Crimea from Ukraine. However, the number of those who support Georgia’s NATO aspirations still outnumbers the skeptics.

The recent polling carried out by IRI showed that 58% of those interviewed support Georgia’s integration into NATO. It is less than in the polling of 2013 where 61% of those interviewed and in 2008 – 70% had supported the idea. 61% of those questioned by IRI expressed their confidence that NATO should grant Georgia MAP at the Wales summit.

Most among the Georgian population think that Russia’s aggression against Georgia will increase and with this in mind, the Georgian population has expressed their dissatisfaction with the level of support NATO has provided Georgia.

Presumably, much will depend on the steps of the NATO leadership at the forthcoming NATO summit. Georgians are putting the concept of the country’s security on the table, not just getting into the NATO.

Some believe that if Georgia receives MAP at the Wales summit it will create an even greater threat. This would be like a red banner in front of a bull at Korida. The Ukrainian example shows that neither the West nor NATO can do much in this case.

US President Barack Obama and the NATO Secretary General Anders F. Rasmussen have hinted that Georgia will not be integrated into NATO in the near future, although Tbilisi has done most of its homework.

Georgians ask crucial questions: even if the country receives MAP, does it mean increased guarantees of security or maybe on the contrary – might it represent a greater danger?

This creates a dilemma for Georgia. There is still some time before the Wales summit. We have unpredictable Russia and its President Vladimir Putin who will decide whether to continue the victorious steps around the country or not.

Who will be the next? Ukraine’s Russian-speaking regions? Moldova? Or will it be Georgia again?