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Ivan Datsenko from Ukraine is the leader of the Indians and the agent of the Soviet intelligence service

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Georgia is the balance search between the European Union and Russia

The director of the Centre of strategic researches of the Caucasus Mamuka Areshidze told about the geopolitical priorities of Georgia in interview to “The world and we”.

Did the attitude of the Georgian management change to policy concerning Russia after a victory on elections of “Georgian dream”? Are any insoluble questions which disturb the adjustment of constructive cooperation?

In one of interview Vladimir Putin told that Russia can't refuse the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. On the other hand Georgia can't refuse the restoration of territorial integrity too. At first sight it is the deadlock and the way out is very difficult from this situation. But there is a number of signals which speak about positive changes in this question.

For a long time the statements sounded from Georgia that the dialogue can’t be without the solution of a question on independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It was always spoken, but, nevertheless, the dialogue after all began, for example, between the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin and the special representative of the prime minister of Georgia on settlement of the relations with the Russian Federation Zurab Abashidze. Thus, there is a certain unofficial work and process in the direction of possible settlement of controversial questions began. It is not so much developed, but after all such process began.

The matter is that for Russia it is vital necessary to supervise the South Caucasus. The certain points of the South Caucasus are supervised in military-political sense. But for Russia, the big country, the comprehensive control, instead of single-value control will be always required. Russia tries to strengthen the presence on the South Caucasus. In order to strengthen the presence it is necessary either to agree, or to use the force. Actions from a position of force were already observed and Russia received certain dividends from it. Now Russia starts working by means of diplomatic tools. And in this direction there is a number of important points. Now nobody will agree on keeping the status quo in Georgia. Probably, now it is not the time to speak about the big-time politics, about restoration of territorial integrity of Georgia.

Really, it is possible to postpone certain political affairs for some time. But, eventually, this question surely will rise between Georgia and Russia. Thus I want to be correctly understood – when I say “between Georgia and Russia”, I never forget that Abkhazians and Ossetians have own interests. The decisions at high level between Tbilisi and Moscow will lead to nothing without considering of these interests. We have to consider the interests of all people present at this process and the countries and to look for certain compromises. Now there are conditions when these compromises will be possible to be found.

- The new leadership of Georgia doesn't hide the geopolitical priorities - it is an accession aspiration to NATO and the European Union. In your opinion, can these statements for such priorities become a certain obstacle for adjustment of dialogue with Russia?

20 years both the Russian authorities and the Georgian authorities spoke and did the same. And now, likely, the time came to reconsider the former steps and decisions and to start doing something essentially new. To say all the time that we have to enter NATO though we aren’t accepted, that we have to enter the European Union and thus do nothing – we already saw the results of such policy. Certainly, it is much heavier to think up something new. It is confirmed historically that our people have an aspiration to Europe, to the West. We have definite, serious historical purposes. But it is necessary to play rationally on this front.

Now you shouldn't say that the aspiration to the European Union cuts Georgia from Russia at all. Because the geopolitical situation changes in the world. For example, the conference “Islam in Eurasia” took place in Istanbul. And a keyword in this name is Eurasia. That is, the Turks seek to build a certain structure in the same territories as Russia and call it as Eurasia. And the break and collision of the Russian and Turkish interests occurs in the region of the South Caucasus. In this situation the countries of the South Caucasus can receive certain, considerable dividends. Therefore it is necessary to approach to this situation deliberately – to protect own and to consider others interests.

Thus, now the Georgian authorities are in a condition of search of balance, seek to find compromises between the European integration and cooperation with Russia?

It is possible to say so. But it is the compromises which proceed not from weaknesses of the country, but from its interests.

In your opinion, in what party “bowl of scales” can be inclined – towards cooperation with the European Union or with Russia?

These interests will be inclined in that party where the interests of Georgia will be more considered. For example, in due time Russia didn't sign the frame contract with Georgia because some points didn't suit the Russian side. First of all, the point that Russia helps with construction of the Georgian army didn't arrange. The Russian military men refused it at all. But nature abhors a vacuum. The Russians refused and the Americans came, started building the Georgian army and started helping Georgia. Therefore there has to be a thought-over approach to a situation. Especially the geopolitical picture changed and Georgia has certain trumps in these new conditions – probably small, but significant. About 3-4 years ago these opportunities were absent. Therefore our authorities try not only to support the balanced situation, but also to take an initiative. As far as it will turn out is other question. If to approach intelligently –it will turn out.

Some intensification of the economic relations between Georgia and Russia is now observed. Will it help the development of economy of Georgia and is this direction of cooperation strategically important?

There will be no big break in this direction originally. Because Georgia could diversify the sales markets of the production, started taking out it to other countries. It is not so big break, but after all our production is present in the markets of Ukraine, Belarus, Baltic and some countries of Eastern Europe. Certainly, Russia is very large market of sale and the free exit to it would help the economy of private sector development, especially agriculture. But it is necessary to understand that it is not panacea for all Georgian economy.

Besides, the Russian capital is present so solidly in Georgia. For example, 72% of the Georgian power in the Russian hands. And many other big industrial facilities are in hands of the Russians. So there is nothing new here. But the main thing is not only in how much the Russian market is open for Georgia. Economic contacts promote the development of the relations at the level of private business, at the level of the friendly relations, to retraction of Abkhazians and the Ossetians in the general business projects. And it promotes the establishment of friendly, business relations between all interested parties and finding of compromises in a difficult situation which developed in the region.

Viewed : 1635   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 25 February 2013 22:33

Source: The world and we

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