The messenger logo

Condoleezza Rice: Georgia must build its own democracy

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, August 6
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, President George W. Bush's first diplomat was asked a question by VOA on how Georgia could cope with Russia's growing aggression 12 years after Russia's invasion. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Georgia needs to build its own democracy and economy to cope with difficult international circumstances. The international community can only help in this process.

"I will say about Georgia what I was telling Georgians then, as well as Ukrainians and others, that international circumstances may not be very favorable, but you have to build your own country. You have to build your own democracy. You have to build your own economy,” she said, adding that each one must write down its rules and laws for economic development, an international system can help, but it all starts at home, with good governance. Rice commented that Georgian democracy had its ups and downs, but it survived, which is a good sign.

Speaking of Russia, she pointed to 2parallel approaches, saying that ‘first of all, it must be determined where Putin should be contained.’ "He should be restrained. Because of this, I think it is a good idea to withdraw troops [from Germany] and deploy them further east. The truth is, even to restrain the Soviet Union, we have never depended solely on what the president says. She recalled that the Soviet Union was contained by American troops that were in danger in Germany, noting that more can be done in this direction in the NATO framework. “I think we can do more to help countries that are facing [Russia's] threat,” Rice said.

The second issue addressed by the former Secretary of State was the growing dissatisfaction of the Russian people, as evidenced by the ongoing mass protests in Khabarovsk. Rice says many people in Russia share Western values. “We need a very nuanced [approach] towards the Russian people and we need to encourage those who want to see a different Russia.”

The Secretary of State also added that it may be necessary to wait for Putin to step down: "I would not take it for granted that he could stay [as president] for as long as he wished. Such regimes are more fragile."

Condoleezza Rice served as the US Secretary of State during Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia. She visited Tbilisi on August 15th, 2008, on the instructions of President Bush to express support for Georgia.

US Congressman John Katko wrote on the social network on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the Georgian-Russian war, saying "the occupation of the territory of Georgia is an absolute reminder of the need for partnership with our democratic allies."

According to the Republican congressman, many of the US allies in the fight against hostile countries depend on US assistance.

John Katko also notes that Russia has infiltrated not only the battlefield but also cyberspace and attacked critical infrastructure, which has significantly hampered Georgia's response.

“As we reaffirm our commitment to Georgia by strengthening the preparedness of our allies, we will also focus on preventing similar attacks,” Katko wrote.

“Russia invaded Georgia 12 years ago and the Kremlin is still carrying out similar acts of aggression in Europe,” Republican Congressman Stephen Womack also wrote on Twitter.

According to the congressman, the United States and Georgia have established a strong partnership and the United States stands by them on the path to democracy.

“We must respond to Russian aggression in every possible way,” the congressman wrote.