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Wall Street Journal’s article stirs speculation over Georgia’s foreign course

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 4
An article released by the Wall Street Journal with the title “Georgia dials down conflict with Russia” has stirred controversy in Georgia and empowered the opposition’s statements that the current Georgian leadership is pro-Russian.

The author of the article, Philip Shishkin, claims that the small Caucasus country had for years pursued a staunchly pro-Western course, which ultimately led to the brief Russian invasion of 2008. Now, it is moving away from a vehemently anti-Kremlin line toward finding a modus vivendi with Russia.

“The change comes at a time when a new Cold War is gathering strength in Europe, with the conflict in Ukraine drawing the West and Moscow into a contest for spheres of influence—economic, political and military,” the author states.

Shishkin states that the international community also supports the current government’s balanced approaches and quotes Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze with regards to Georgia-NATO prospects.

“NATO membership is not the question of today, or of tomorrow. Why create illusions for people? We are not defended, and this is the reality of this difficult region.”

Russia’s Ria Novosti responded to the article with empowered accents on Georgia’s role in conflict regulating issues.

The agency stressed that the hard socioeconomic conditions pushed Georgia to move back to Russia.

Abashidze, for his part, stated that he had not given any interview over the case for several months and the quote voicing his name was cut from his statement made six months ago.

“The statement was made based on the situation of that time,” Abashidze said.

The opposition United National Movement claims that the interview is one of the most significant pieces of evidence that the current leadership is paying little interest in NATO membership.

However, the Georgian Dream coalition members and leading officials permanently reiterate that Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic course is irreversible.

Of course it is beneficial for Russia and its media to encourage pro-Russian and anti-European sentiments in Georgia; such conditions will allow it to gain what it wants easily. The opposition party, the UNM, displays itself as a pro-Western political force and at the same time stresses that the current Georgian leadership is pro-Russian. It is likely such statements will benefit Russia more than Georgians and our future.