Tuesday, January 26, 2021
 |  Sign-Up  |  Contact Us  |  Bookmark 

The shocking statement by Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze provoked a harsh reaction in Russia
The shocking statement by Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, who said that the Georgian parliament might outlaw the Russian bases after May 15, provoked a harsh reaction in Russia. "I can assure you that we will not sit on our hands if attempts are made to threaten the bases, endangering the life and security of citizens, not to mention the risk of weapons getting into the wrong hands," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. The situation in Russia-Georgia relationship is bordering on critical. When the foreign ministry expresses the hope that "the loud statements will not become real policy and we will not have to walk out of negotiations," this means that the diplomats do not rule out a pessimistic scenario. The other day Burdzhanadze confirmed Georgia's readiness to take unilateral action. She said: "Unless progress is made in the next few days, the parliament will enforce the resolution" according to which the Russian bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki should start the dismantling stage on May 15 and leave the territory of Georgia by January 1, 2006. Lavrov expressed surprise at the wording. "In the past, Burdzhanadze and Saakashvili said it was the deputies' initiative, while now Burdzhanadze has made a completely different statement," the minister said. But "we [Russia] will not yield to blackmail to suit the political lineup in Georgia." Georgia is expected to bill Russia for the deployment of bases in the next few days. Finance Minister Valery Chechelashvili said "a decision to bill Russia should be taken by the government." Moscow is clearly irritated by this situation but is not dramatizing it. Lavrov said that the negotiations continued and had not been deadlocked, "contrary to certain claims." "We have forwarded our constructive proposals to Tbilisi; the talks will continue and end when they are over," the minister said. Russia's tactic is to reply to the emotional Georgian statements calmly but firmly, without losing temper or shouting, though the latter is exactly what it is expected to do. It is a war of nerves. Saakashvili and his team have learned the art during the "velvet revolution" and later, when they replaced the Abashidze regime in Adzharia. But the Russian diplomatic school, tempered by the Cold War, should not be underestimated either. Can the sides find a way out of this situation? Possibly, as the war of statements has not reached the point of no return yet. Much will depend on the stand of Mikhail Saakashvili. The Georgian president will have enough room for maneuver, unless he pushes himself into the corner with yet another outburst of anti-Russian rhetoric, as he did more than once. After all, Georgia has got what it wanted: Russia is prepared to start pulling out its bases in the near future. So, after making this "contact reconnaissance," Saakashvili might bargain with Moscow for concessions and subsequently let off altogether. Despite the militant statements, it is clear that the conflict will not benefit either side. Russia is Georgia's donor and Georgia depends on its energy almost completely. Moreover, it receives the Russia energy at prices several times below the world ones. The Georgian economy will collapse if the Georgians who live in Russia stop sending their earnings home. Besides, Russia can stop the pipe, if it wants to, and turn the money flow into a mere trickle. Russia will not be happy with this, though. Ours is an interdependent world where the trouble in one country inevitably provokes negative consequences in the neighbor states. Besides, the people of Russia and Georgia have been friends for centuries, and their history of coexistence has not ended: Georgians go to Russia in search of jobs. The Russian North Caucasus accepted thousands of refugees that fled the fratricidal conflicts in Georgia in the 1990s. In short, Russia knows about Georgia's suffering not by hearsay. This is why Russia wants to maintain stability and security in the South Caucasus and to develop close friendly relations with Georgia. But, as they say, it takes two to tango
Print The shocking statement by Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze provoked a harsh reaction in Russia Bookmark The shocking statement by Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze provoked a harsh reaction in Russia

Related News   
AprMay 2005Jun