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Are Russia and Georgia ready to listen to each other?2008-11-26 16:49
Three months after the August events the question who started the war does not arouse stormy debates and discussions any more. The world community has acknowledged that Georgia was the initiator. The local opposition is chanting: the war should have been avoided in order to save the country.
"Kviris palitra" (Week's palette) weekly newspaper poll testifies: most Georgians consider the war with Russia the worst mistake and consequently the political failure of the authorities.
The authorities keep repeating as a mantra: there was no other way out. It looks like the accusations against Russia are replaced by excuses. The Chairman of Parliament David Bakradze at the session of the interim committee for investigation of the August events states: "Georgia has never had promises from Russia that in exchange for NATO accession its territorial integrity will be guaranteed". Evidently the logic here is this. If Georgia joins NATO it means that the alliance bases will be located throughout its territory including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia will never accept it. Hence the war is inevitable.
According to Bakradze Moscow has precise questions to answer. And a request to explain in detail why Georgia is a problem for Russia. What is so dangerous about it? However there have never been any precise answers. "We got the following reply: "You know well what we want", - the speaker reproduced.
Mr. Bakradze has not sworn on the Bible to confirm his sincerity - probably that is why to catch him in slyness is as easy as pie.
For instance, two months before the start of the August conflict Mikhail Saakashvili signed a decree on departure from the 2000 agreement with Russia. In compliance with this document in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict area as of 1991 economy was restoring, the conditions for return of the refugees were created too. The same year in June the Georgian side got a proposal to sign an agreement on non-application of force with Sukhum and Tskhinval. On this condition only was Russia ready to get back to the refugee return issue. But the proposal was rejected. Georgia's president gave the following comment on the agreement three weeks before the bloodshed: "This topic is made out of thin air. We are not going to shoot our compatriots".
There was another argument: the covenants made before have not been fulfilled anyway. The refugees did not return to their homes, and the breakaway territories do not make haste to get under the Georgian flag... And here the Georgian government cannot be caught in slyness or lying. However referring to the NATO accession the Abkhazians and Ossetians are totally against the partnership with the alliance. That is why the confrontation between Moscow and Tbilisi grew stronger year by year.
And it is clear why the treaty of friendship and cooperation has never been signed. Russia insisted that the clause on non-deployment of third countries' bases should be included in the document. Georgia objected saying that in the international practice there is an established format and it is impossible to amend it. But it was ready to give a verbal promise.
I'm recalling the interview with ex minister for conflict settlement Georgy Khaindrava in 2006: "We are not going to write laws dictated by the Russian establishment. Third countries' bases will not be deployed in Georgia - we stated it and this is up to the Kremlin whether believe it or not. As for NATO we will join it anyway. As it is the only chance for us not to be eaten up by cannibals like Zhirinovsky, Alksnis and Zatulin. Many countries are NATO members and they do not think of the war - they want their safety to be guaranteed".