o In the fall of 2010 we saw the transfigured President of Georgia. A feeling that he had a second Foreign breath. Events in which he participated, as well as policy initiatives announced by them follow one another. But most importantly -all these information events, as well as in 2007-2008 gave solid support in the United States and the European Union.
o These events make draw attention to themselves, not in themselves. Much of what the Georgian president said today, in a different version already came out of his mouth or voiced members of his team.
o "Transfiguration" Saakashvili occurs after a period of about one and a half years, that is from the end of 2008, official Tbilisi was soft "disgrace" in the West. Last year, Saakashvili has not put any of his official visit to the European Union or the United States. All his meetings with Western leaders were informal, short duration of time and essentially meaningless.
o So, commenting revival of Georgian foreign policy, known expert close to the official authorities of Georgia in the recent past, the Minister of State, Gia Nodia came to the following conclusion: " Nothing like this has been a long time. On the background of the last two years, when the number of official visits to Tbilisi clearly reduced, it can be called a diplomatic breakthrough ".
Does this mean that Georgia, as well as before the 2008 war, into a "love child" of Washington and Brussels?
o Do not jump to conclusions. To start denote some of the important initiatives taken in recent months, the Georgian leader. September 23, 2010 he performed at the regular session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, where proposed the idea of "united Caucasus" .
o " In terms of humanitarian and cultural space of the North and South Caucasus does not exist , -Saakashvili said. - There is one Caucasus, which belongs to Europe and who once, following the path of Georgia to join the European family of free nations ". According to him, Georgia is working on all fronts to make the idea a reality "united Caucasus".
o This initiative Saakashvili publicly supported by some leaders of ethno-nationalist movements of the North . Former general representative of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in Russia Mayrbek Vachagaev said: " We should forget all their mutual grievances before the threat of the bear, which will allow him to understand: Georgia -is not only Georgians, and Georgia, plus the entire Caucasus, while Bear is busy have other problems ".
o In the development of this concept, October 11, 2010 Georgia introduced new rules stay in its territory for part of Russian citizens . From this day for seven North Caucasus residents of the RF subjects Adygea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia and Chechnya is seriously simplified crossing Georgian border. Within 90 days, they have the opportunity to be in Georgia without a visa.
o Following this, Tbilisi has had some success on two NATO forums. First, November 16, 2010 NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Warsaw adopted six resolutions of recommendation, one of which was devoted to the situation in Georgia. This document contains a recommendation to continue the course on North Atlantic integration Transcaucasian republic, as well as a critical evaluation Russian actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
o Furthermore, the resolution requires the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of two former autonomous Georgian SSR, received recognition of Moscow. Actually Assembly solidarity with official Tbilisi concept of "occupation" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
o Almost immediately after the conclusion of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held 19-20 November NATO summit in Lisbon, which in addition to making the most important for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization memorable documents and informal raising the status of the Georgian president. Saakashvili met with the head of American States Barack Obama. In fact it was the first serious conversation between the two leaders, as they had previously seen though, but substantively no issue discussed.
o This time the topic of conversation between the two presidents served as the practical implementation of the Strategic Partnership Charter , which the American side prepares and signs even previous Republican administration. Thus, Washington demonstrated that a certain continuity with the course of the Bush retained and Georgia is considered an important partner of the U.S. . Add to this the general resolution of the summit, in which decisions of the Bucharest NATO forum in April 2008, proclaimed Georgia`s membership in the alliance strategic goal were again supported.
o After Lisbon Saakashvili began what he himself had defined as "aggressive peacemaking" . A few days after the encouraging results of the NATO Summit, November 23, 2010 the Georgian president spoke in the European Parliament, which declared its willingness to negotiate with the Russian side, without preconditions, as well as the refusal of Tbilisi resolve contentious issues with the former Georgian autonomies through force.
o " We will only resort to peaceful means of liberation from the occupation and the reunification of Georgia , -Saakashvili said. - Even if Russia refuses to withdraw its occupation forces, even if created with the support of the militia will multiply human rights violations ".
o However, such rhetoric Georgian president has used more than once. With such punctually repeated appeals since January 2004. And with an equally enviable constancy they alternated with peacekeeping actions not on the "unfreezing" of conflicts and provocations outbreak of violence in South Ossetia in 2004, entering the Georgian army units and internal troops of the republic in the Kodori Gorge in the summer of 2006.
mHochetsya recall that one of the "peace initiatives" of the third president of post-Soviet Georgia sounded August 7, 2008, the eve of the return of the order of "restoration of constitutional order in South Ossetia".
o And today we see the actions of Saakashvili serious propaganda and populist overtones. We must show the world that Georgia -this goodwill, and Russia -is aggression. Especially since Russian diplomats still can not find an antidote for the active propaganda offensive Georgian leader . Instead of "catch" him at his word and put forward a clear draft agreement on the nonuse of force, they repeat the mantra, a word about the impossibility of negotiations with the Georgian regime. Unfortunately, the sluggishness of the Russians multiplies the success of such masters PR Saakashvili.
o At the end of the outgoing year as Saakashvili has made another tactical success. In the U.S. Senate began consideration of the draft resolution procedure for recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories . Discussion of the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress, scheduled for 2011, but now we can fix: among his supporters there are Republicans and Democrats.
o At present, the fact of "occupation" at the parliamentary level recognized higher legislative bodies of Lithuania and Romania it was in June 2010. But the international weight of the U.S. Senate is incomparable with any parliament in Central and Eastern Europe. And although the make definitive predictions about the decision prematurely senators, the fact that the consideration of the Georgian initiative is very important. After all, it can be used as a lever to pressure Moscow on various issues.
o However, all of these facts should be added some new touches. In November 2010, intensified Georgian-Iranian bilateral relations . Moreover, from the usual in such cases, diplomatic compliments Tehran and Tbilisi managed to go to serious practical solutions. This opening of the consulate of the Islamic Republic in Batumi recently has become a showcase of Georgian "economic miracle", and the liberalization of the visa regime.
o Henceforth Iranians can travel to Georgia and Georgian citizens in Iran without a visa for up to 45 days. The parties also agreed to open an air link between Tbilisi and Tehran, discontinued 10 years ago, in 2000.
Reasons new "take-off"
o In this regard, a clear understanding of the reasons that have made the current "transformation" Saakashvili possible. No less important is the awareness of probable consequences of his "second wind." Do not forget that first led directly to the events of "hot August" of 2008.
o Speaking about the current resurgence of political activity of the Georgian leader, the renowned British expert Thomas de Waal called Saakashvili "magician Misha." That meant a political scientist? According to him, "two years ago, after the defeat in the August war almost everyone who watched the events, counting the days that remain until the end of Saakashvili his tenure as president. Today he is again the undisputed leader of Georgia ".
o In fact, no matter how we were treated to a person of the Georgian leader, virtually all sociological studies indicate the growth of its popularity in the country , while the opposition is steadily losing points. During the first five months of this year, American and European emissaries followed closely the "dress rehearsal" of the presidential campaign -the first direct election of the mayor of Tbilisi. Easy to see that change for Saakashvili ended when the mayor of the capital position, as well as other local elections team won the third president of Georgia.
o In the course of this campaign and notorious administrative resource, and unequal opportunities in the media for candidates from the ruling "United National Movement" and the opposition forces. But at the same time, the opposition won itself. Her challengers fought on two fronts , that is, against the hated head of the Georgian state and against each other, defending their right to be the best Democrat. As a result, they lost, lost democracy.
o But the West realized that alternative Saakashvili in Georgia in the near future will not . And a string of U.S., EU, post-Soviet states that after 2008 also avoided contact with the Georgian president went to Tbilisi immediately after it transpired. October 1, 2010 on the banks of the Kura arrived NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. During his visit, the opening of the official representative of the alliance in Georgia.
o Of course, the outbreak of a new interest in this country can not be explained solely by internal factors. Unfortunately, we dominated stereotypical view Georgia as a negligible value in terms of military resources . In fact, the country can not be compared not that close to the Russian military contingent in the North Caucasus, but even with a group of Interior Ministry troops in this part of our country. But if other rulers to measure the situation, then it looks not so unambiguously.
o But why the U.S. and NATO as "coddled" with Tbilisi? How justified grandiloquent assess the contribution of Georgia to fight against "international terrorism", given to her by the secretary general of NATO during his recent visit to the capital of Georgia ? To answer these questions, let`s look at the dynamics of the Georgian military presence in Afghanistan.
o In April 2010 there were 173 Georgian troops .
o Since NATO countries are extremely sensitive to losses, and Washington`s European allies are reluctant to respond to calls to pay "blood tax" in the unpopular campaign in Afghanistan, the Georgian assistance is becoming an important factor , and not only set propaganda cliches. Especially since Georgia has a much lower threshold of sensitivity to losses.
o Authoritarian same style Saakashvili NATO in this case is not a hindrance. Instead, he allows, if necessary, to build up its military presence in Afghanistan without further debate and procedural delays. Hence, very calm attitude of the West towards Saakashvili started a constitutional changes they redistribute powers in favor of the prime minister and allow the current president to remain in charge of the country after the elections in 2013.
o addition, the United States and many Western European states categorically unwilling to strengthen the Iranian factor in the Caucasus, and therefore seek to keep Saakashvili in the zone of influence . Incidentally, the leaders of the Islamic Republic, despite the rampant pro-Western rhetoric of the Georgian side, ready for a pragmatic partnership with Tbilisi.
o There is not idle question: take into account whether the West their past mistakes and will not repeat the scenario if the previous years in his "Russian politics"? In this regard it should be noted that since 2004, relations with the Russian Federation U.S., NATO and the EU were on the downlink. Today partnership with the West can take credit not only in Tbilisi, but also in Moscow.
o Yes, the configuration of forces on Capitol Hill in Washington changed the Republican victory in congressional elections. But the primary role in formulating foreign policy belongs to the executive, and Obama "reset" is not going to collapse. Relations between Moscow and NATO have already received a light hand with its secretary general definition of a "fresh start" .
o Now who besides experts, remember the words of former Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the "impossibility of doing things as before," and then his foreword to resume contacts as the withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions "until August 8, 2008 year "?
o Despite all the rhetorical appeals to Russia to abandon the unilateral recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as to withdraw its forces from there, NATO resumed its cooperation with Russia . At various levels, it develops from April 2009. And the Lisbon summit in this respect was an important event. Alliance recognizes the significant role of Moscow in European and international security, and official NATO documents recorded that it is no longer a threat to the Russian Federation.
o In the same direction moves "Corfu Process" discussion Russian initiative on European security . The same "Afghan factor" actualizes role not only Georgia, but also Russia. Its importance as a transit country, coupled with economic aid for the Afghan operation in the strategic plan far exceeds the role of 925 Georgian soldiers.
o In addition, the West has the experience of 2004-2008 and its current attitude towards Saakashvili not so rapturously romantic. It is more mundane. Not for nothing that almost immediately after the Lisbon French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: " We are not going to import into the NATO problem. NATO can only be those states that do not have problems with their boundaries ". The opinion of Sarkozy openly or privately ready to join many of his European colleagues.
o You can not ignore the serious progress in bilateral relations with Russian partners such recent Georgia as Poland evidenced by the recent visit of President Medvedev to Warsaw. Consequently, the use scenario "brokering of war", when Georgia was perceived as a "representative of the West", in the new environment is extremely problematic. True, the final choice between Tbilisi and Moscow West will not do as well.
/ Markedonov, political scientist, candidate of historical sciences, vpk-news.ru /