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Shall Catalonia turmoil affect Georgia?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, October 6
This week, the turmoil in Catalonia has stirred some concerns whether the case might create an unfavorable precedent for Georgia and its breakaway regions.

“Even if Catalonia is separated from Spain, the attitude of the European nations - and even Spain itself - towards the territorial integrity of Georgia will not change,” said Kakha Gogolashvili, head of the European Research Center, adding that Catalonia’s developments may only “encourage separatists” in the Georgia’s occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

The analyst stressed that this will be the only effect the process may have on Georgia, as the Georgian and Catalonian situations differ significantly from each other.

“Our territory is occupied by Russia. The process here began a long time ago, while the Catalonian processes are new and no third country is involved there," said Gogolashvili.

He stressed that Catalonia’s ambitions have existed for centuries. It is one of Spain's richest regions with its capital, Barcelona, being one of the world's most famous tourist destinations.

Gogolashvili believes that Catalonia has the opportunity to become independent; its possibilities are much bigger than, for example, the possibilities of Abkhazia.

“Russia is annexing Abkhazia. So these two processes are quite different from each other,” said Gogolashvili.

He highlighted none of the European state supports the independence of Catalonia. “This is unconstitutional and this is forbidden by international law,” he added.

In the referendum held in Catalonia, 90% supported the separation of the region from Spain; 2.26 million people took part in the referendum, which is 42.3% of the total number of voters (5.34 million).

It is very unlikely that the situation in Spain will have any influence on Georgia.

It will be difficult for the de facto authorities of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia to compare their situation to Catalonia’s.

There are a range of historical documents proving the two regions are integral parts of Georgia and this is recognized by the international community.

Also, unlike the prosperous Catalonia, the occupied regions are in a very poor condition, with little infrastructure and lack of fundamental human rights.

Russia is the main actor in the conflicts in Georgia, doing its utmost to annex the regions and broaden the occupied lands through permanent creeping occupation.