Putin crashed Abkhazian dreams
23/03/2010 11:00
Irakli Tskitishvili

Last week there was a visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Belarus where he took part in a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of the union state. After that the Russian Prime Minster and his Belarusian colleague held a press-conference and answered journalists' questions. Putin's answer with regards to occupied Georgian territories was especially interesting for us.

According to Putin Russia expected that Belarus would have quickly recognized Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region but this did not happen. The Russian Prime Minister tried to show how understanding he is with regards to Belarusian problems. He said that he understood a position of Belarus especially against the background of the economic crisis when Belarus was receiving western credits. Therefore, as he said it, Russia did not intend to put pressure on Belarus.

"We always supported normalization of relations of Belarus with western neighbours, especially with the US. And if this happens, even if it is with this regard, at least there is some kind of positive effect and thank god for this... After all, Belarus is a country close to us; we are building a union state and common economic space. Normalization of relations with the west is worth it" – said Putin.

This is a very interesting statement. Putin practically gave a green light to Belarus in order the latter to feel more comfortable in the relations with Russia and for the issue of recognition of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region not to stand as a cornerstone of tensions between them. At the same time Putin actually crashed dreams of the Abkhazian society and its leader Bagapsh who lately was very hopeful of recognition of their independence on the part of Belarus. Some time ago the Abkhazian leader was saying that future plans of Abkhazia included membership of the union state, as well as membership of the CIS (Commonwealth of the Independent States) and being a part of the common customs space. But this needed recognition of independence by Belarus.

Putin's words clearly indicate that Russia decided on creation of economic empire although it does not shrink from adding territories of its neighbouring countries along the way. And the statement made by Putin in Minsk clearly indicates that for him common economic and customs space with Belarus, Kazakhstan and, in perspective, Ukraine is a priority and this project does not include Abkhazia as an independent country.

The statement of the Russian Prime Minister should not be understood as a kind of favour to Georgia. The main characteristic of the recent politics of Russia is that it is not taking into account anybody's interests. It acts only according to its own interests and does not care for opinion of others and strives without looking back towards its goal – creation of a new empire. Therefore, against the background of Belarus maneuvering between Russia and Europe Putin's statement has very serious connotations. The first goal of the Russian leadership at this stage is economic integration of Belarus which will give Russia more opportunities to put pressure on Europe as Russian oil is passing through Belarus to reach Europe. At the same time a desire to attach Belarus political to Russia under the pretext of economy also exists.

We should consider the latest statements of Russian leadership that they are ready to allow Georgian products back into Russian market in the same context. Russia subordinated economy, as well as other directions of public development, like culture and arts to politics. The only reason Georgian products are allowed into the Russian market is their desire to take away from the current Georgian leadership support in business. Probably Moscow thinks that the more Georgian businessmen are "hung up" on the Russian market the bigger will be its influence on the Georgian government. On way or the other time showed us that current leadership of Russia is not a partner to be trusted and that withdrawal of embargo always contains a danger of a new embargo that will be absolutely disastrous for Georgian economy.

There is of course no place for Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region in this big politics plans. First of all this is because they absolutely depend on Russia. Budgets of both puppet regimes are dependant on Russian money. So Moscow does not fear that one day these puppets will get away from them.

Everybody remembers the statement of the Russian authorities that Russia does not intend to beg anybody to recognize independence of the breakaway regions. This is not at all surprising as international recognition of their independence is not included in their plans at all. What if Abkhazia recognized by developed countries that have not forgotten so-called mukhajirstvo and even today is leaning towards Adyge-Circassian unity decided to throw away Russian influence together with international community. That's why recognition of Abkhazia was halted on Nicaragua, Nauru and Venezuela. It is possible that there will be one or two more countries but it will not change the situation. We are talking about countries that can freely withdraw their recognition without damaging their reputation as they do not have one. It also should be mentioned that parliaments of Nicaragua and Venezuela have not ratified decisions of their presidents. As to Nauru such recognitions are their only income, it appears.

Given all the above, we can conclude that Abkhazian will be left with nothing and just empty dreams. But they will have bread and circuses in abundance. They should not even ask for anything else. Bread in this case is several social programs financed by Russia. For example, according to information in 2010-2012 Abkhazia will get 3 billion Rubles from Russia. And as for circuses there are plenty of this too starting from exercises of Russian militaries and finishing with playing of the Abkhazian national football team in the second Russian league. But the main thing is for them not to interfere into Russian intentions to take roots into this indigenous Georgian land, not to break free from Russia and fulfill tasks that were laid upon them by members of the Russian State Duma - to serve Russian citizens that holiday in Abkhazia. The rest will stay on the puppet level and if they stay inside framework provided by Russia they might even become exemplary slaves.

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