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‘Provoking Russia’ should never be told to Georgians

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 27
“'Provoking Russia' is something which should never be told to Georgians,” Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli said in response to an international Halifax Security Forum moderator, who said provoking Moscow deliberately could be one of the causes of the Russian aggression in 2008. “It will be the end of the discussion for you,” she added.

“The fact that NATO even exists is already a provocation for Russia. The fact that Georgia exists as an independent state which says that is does not want to be with Russia any more and has chosen a different path is provocative enough for Russia to do whatever it wants. Everybody talks about the 2008 Georgia-Russia War as if started that day, on the morning of August 7. That war started long before that. In 1991, when Georgia said that we want to be an independent state and independent from the influence of Moscow is when the war broke out for the first time. Then we were in different phases – in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1998 and then 2008, which are all just phases of the same ongoing conflict. We’ve been in an ongoing war forever, since the first day of our independence. Regardless of that, regardless of the sacrifices we make, the people, villages, cities and territories we’ve lost throughout these 25 years of independence, we keep saying 'no' to whatever is requested from us in exchange for peace with Russia”, Khidasheli declared.

As the Defence Minister said, anything Georgia plans to do might be considered a provocation by Moscow, who will use it as an excuse that for Russia to act again. She expressed hope that after Russia's aggression towards Ukraine and Georgia, the discussions over former Soviet states provoking Russia should be over.

It is hard not to agree with Georgia’s Defence Minister when she speaks about Georgian-Russian relations. Indeed, Russia has always tried to control Georgia and has always provoked Tbilisi into making some 'mistakes'.

These 'mistakes' can often be defined as 'self defence'. If Georgia decided to defend itself and respond to Russia’s provocations, the latter would use it for achieving its own aims.

We are frequently told that we were provoked in 2008. Maybe it was a mistake that we responded to the provocations and enabled Russians to invade the Georgian territories, 20% of the territory then being seized, but maybe constant self-defence and tolerating the violations of a more powerful county is the fate of smaller nations.

The video materials revealed by Turkish officials detect that the Russian plane the Turks shot down violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds; the Turks claimed they were protecting their own interests and land.

The whole international community stood by Turkey, saying that the NATO member country “was right” and it was defending its territory. No one has mentioned that Turkey “was provoked” and it “made a mistake” when trying to defend its own interests.

When Russia has permanently violated Georgian land and airspace, it has been stated after 2008 that we were provoked and that we should have been more cautions, which probably meant that we must have permanently closed our eyes to such blatant Russian aggression.