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Georgia’s hyped-up superiority2010-07-12 19:14
Armenian-Georgian relationship is rather contradictory. Tbilisi has always regarded Yerevan as an inferior state failing to meet European political standards. Fifteen years ago Georgia treated Armenia as a country with no economic development prospects. It was Turkey that helped Tbilisi take up this kind of attitude; supporting Baku in Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Turkey blocked Armenia expecting that the latter would fall into a position of full dependence on Georgia in terms of distribution pipelines and life activity. Now Armenia's dependence in terms of supply pipelines is in place but it hardly gave Georgia any benefit from the viewpoint of politics.
Armenian economy is the most diversified one in the South Caucasus. The country is looking up to the more developed and prestige markets and has chosen the model of an industrial multi-branch country developing under the conditions of no strategic investments. Armenia is currently outrunning Georgia in terms of production and purchasing power: 4500 dollars to 2900 dollars.
Georgian markets are well acquainted with Armenian industrial products. Armenia is investing in Georgia's tobacco, light and transport industry, as well as the banking field. Georgia is also inferior to Armenia in defense sphere.
In the international arena, Armenian foreign policy development model also has a number of advantages, so long as Georgia's priorities have brought it to confrontation with Russia, thus having much limited its foreign policy and economical opportunities. With significant assistance of the USA, European states and international financial organizations, Georgia managed to temporarily stabilize the economy, having increased receipts from power and communication building. However, many of these resources are already exhausted and now the real sector development rate has been cut down exceedingly, while investments are poor.
Thus, Georgia failed to obtain any advantages over Armenia in politics, economy or defense. There is now a kind of balance of political opportunities, so long as Armenia with its partnership relations with Russia and Iran is successfully integrating into western society, while Georgia, being a close and trusted partner of the West, has got no such relations with Iran and Russia, and its relationship with Turkey is turning more troublesome because of the latter's growing ambitions.
The balance is supported by the growing mutual interests: Georgia is much interested in Armenia establishing transport communications with Russia and the Black Sea basin. This would not only bring money but also give hope for settling relationship with Russia. Armenia, for which Georgian communications are the only possible scenario, might become a mediator in re-establishing economic cooperation between Georgia and Russia, bearing in mind, though, its own interest in cargo transit through the Georgian territory along the Georgian military road and the Black Sea shipping routes.
Cooperation with Armenia will give Georgia a chance to form the flows of Iranian freights in the north-west direction, that is, to Europe.