Russia is drawing up new plans against Georgia
09/03/2011 17:30
Irakli Tskitishvili
Experts' Club

Russia refused to give guarantees about non-use of force against Georgia. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. According to him, Russia is not a party to the conflict thus it does not need to sign any document. More, Karasin offered again Tbilisi to sign such agreements with territorial units of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region.

Karasin also said that Russia is ready to become a certain guarantor that Tskhinvali and Sukhumi will not attack Tbilisi.

Society has long been accustomed to inadequacy of the Russian foreign policy and its incompatibility with the reality. It is also well-known that it is Russia that is the party to the conflict and not those ambiguous entities - "independent" Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia. It is also very clear and obvious to all that it was Russia that instigated conflicts in Georgia and the aggression in August 2008 also clearly showed to the public what aims drive imperial Russia. Given this, nobody would have taken Karasin's statement close to heart if not for one "but". By refusing to sign the above-mentioned agreement Moscow practically stated that it is again considering plans of attack on Georgia.

Russia is trying to foist its position on the international community – position that implies that Georgia has a conflict not with Russia but with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi. Recent statements of Moscow officials directly indicate that international status of an occupant is quite a heavy burden for Moscow. Thus they have not many ways for maneuvering left. They need to start either complying with the international commitments and de-occupy Georgia or they can find a way out of the situation and cast the status of the occupant off or to occupy Georgia fully so that no claims and pretenses have heard from Tbilisi.

De-occupation is not in plans of Moscow. That is quite clear. Everyday statements made from the Russian side that are aimed at putting the blame on Georgia for some or other misfortunes of Russia confirm this. Georgia is sometimes blamed for the Demodedovo terrorist acts, sometimes for threatening holding of the Sochi Olympics. Some politicians have already delirious when speaking about Georgia. Even statements of Sergey Markov and Alexander Torshin can suffice.

"Washing away" of the status of the occupant is the most desirable goal for Russia. Though, in our opinion, it is impossible. For this the entire world is to turn a blind eye to all the atrocities that Russia is engaged in. More, they will have to openly betray their own principles. And then, not much is left to the third stage. Supposedly, Moscow politics are going in this direction. So far there is no danger of a repeat of the aggression but can expect everything from Russia. If Moscow manages and softens attitude of the international community towards its occupational status then chances of a new aggression will double and, probably, from the political point of view, nothing will interfere with Russia to carry out another attack on Georgia.

This can be the only reason that Russia avoids signing a document on non-use of force against Georgia. If it is not drawing up plans of attack on Georgia then it should be in its interests to sign such agreement with neighbouring Georgia. Even if it is not a party to the conflict. A country that does not consider plans of attack on a neighbouring country should not be afraid of becoming a guarantor of peace.

As to statements made by Karasin they are more cynical rather than full of substance and mirror political statements voiced by the Kremlin many times which aim at foisting new reality on the international community. By new reality they mean independent status of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region which is nonsense not just to the international community but Moscow itself as well. As it just represents an instrument to achieve international political goals. When Moscow says that it can stand as a guarantor of an agreement on non-use of force against Georgia on the part of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, it is a cynicism. First of all because that it is the Russian Army that stands in 40km from Tbilisi and just several meters from the central highway of the country. This is a cynicism because it was Russia that bombed Georgian villages and towns, killed citizens of Georgia, in Tskhinvali as well. This is a cynicism as it was Russia that used the latest arms in Georgia for the purpose of their testing (flame-thrower RPO PDM-A) and fired Tactical Operational Missile Complex "Tochka U" at Georgians.

Besides, Georgians better than anyone know the value of Russian guarantees beginning from the Georgievsk Treaty. Was not it Russia that annexed Georgia by violating clauses of the treaty and added us to the empire? Was it not Russia that first recognized independence of the first democratic republic of Georgia and then, in 1921 Georgia was once again annexed? Was it not Russia that was a guarantor of all agreements on ceasefires that was signed in Abkhazia in 1992-1993? And we all remember how after all those guarantees Georgia lost part of its territory. Was it not Russian "peacekeepers" that were guarantors of peace and stability in the Tskhinvali region in 2008? And then what happened? One way or another, guarantees of Russia is much cheaper than a price of a paper that it is written on. Therefore, even if Russia agreed to sign agreement on non-use of force against Georgia it still could not have been a guarantor of peace for Georgia. It would only have a juridical sense for the international community, and even this before Russia would carry out full occupation of Georgia and would suggest another "new reality".

Given all this, any document signed by Russia has no importance for Georgia. Therefore Official Tbilisi should not have any hope that the Kremlin's signature on any paper will protect our country from the Russian aggression. But of course, appealing with this document and daily unmasking of Russia on the international arena is important and necessary.

But what can restrain our northern neighbour?

It should be taken into account that after this statement of Karasin the Geneva format came to the dead-end and there is no way-out from there. The international community should put some pressure on any of the sides in order to make some kind of way out to appear. Georgia has nothing left to give up. At that it is its territories that have been occupied by another party of the conflict - Russia. Besides, Georgia is backed by the international law and various resolutions of international organizations that directly note about compliance of every commitment undertaken by Tbilisi. Given this, Tbilisi is in a very good position juridically but things do not work like this in realpolitik. But, despite this, if international community really wants peace and stability (and they really want this) in the Caucasus region adequate pressure needs to be put on the aggressor. In the conditions when Europe and the US are taking certain measures against Belarus authorities that broke a provocative rally that was evidently organized by Russia, turning a blind eye to Russia's actions is tantamount to a crime.

Unfortunately Georgia itself has not much leverage to avert actions of its aggressive neighbour using its internal resources. Greater involvement into the European space and even greater participation of European observers and monitoring groups on the territories that can be used by Russia as pretext for an aggression, can become such leverage; Greater involvement of the US in the framework of the Georgia-US charter by establishing security systems and increasing defence ability; All the more that it is the US Department of State that is very interested in non-spread of terrorism and drugs which was indicated in the recent report; Greater development of democratic institutions and greater spread of democratic values into the territory of the northern neighbour in order to enable citizens of Russia to distinguish between right and wrong. The August 2008 aggression was taking place on the backdrop of a silent consent of the population of Russia. Also it is very important to acquaint population of not only Russia but that of other post-Soviet countries with the processes that are taking place in Georgia. This, first of all, implies correct information policy; Against the background of the inadequate attitude of the European society it would be quite difficult, although not entirely impossible, for processes to start moving. Therefore they need to understand this well, and we should help them in this, in realizing as to what damage this syndrome of impunity can bring to the Europe itself. There is also another serious danger. This is internal contingent that is ready to meet Russian tanks with flowers. Unfortunately, such people have been in the history of Georgia, they still are and probably always will be. It is they that can bring the biggest damage to our country.

Today the Russian army has no resources to conduct a long-term war - neither economic nor personnel. Given this, not only a function of a short-term deterrent of an aggression that should later be followed by involvement of the international community stands before the Georgian armed forces as August 2008 showed us that it is unacceptable to
lay hopes only on them. Europe should understand that another aggression against Georgia will be directly reflected on its present and future that will be caused by stopping operation of oil and gas pipelines that run through the territory of Georgia, maybe even by purposefully disrupting their operation. In the end, everyone should understand that any aggression against Georgia will not be over by just appointing of a Russian "puppet" in Tbilisi but it will cause complete destabilization in the region. They should realize it well that this will be a price for their spineless, turn-a-blind-eye and hushing-up politics. So maybe it's time for them to realize that justice should prevail.

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