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Saturday, 22 October 2016


Saakashvili’s desire to talk unmet

2010-10-28 15:47

9390.jpegPresident Mikheil Saakashvili is ready for precondition-free talks with Russia. What has happened to the Georgian leader over a month since his Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement that all talks are impossible? Apparently, it was a short meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss French lessons for Georgian children. Taken aback by unusual dryness of the dialogue the president of Georgia immediately set a course for Russia. There is hardly anything that could convince Saakashvili of the need to start talks with Russia except for the West's fading support. To get back into spotlight Georgia must become a victim of a new "assault", and since it is completely out of


question, Europe is gradually forgetting this country. From the leader of the state once placed in the epicenter of world events Saakashvili is turning into an eccentric authoritarian president of a periphery on the border with Islamic Orient.

100-m northward transfer of the Russian checkpoint in Perevi village put a full stop on discussions around consequences of the 2008 war for the West. However, Western leaders keep disagreeing with Russia-proposed security architecture in the region, but now disputes on the issue are out of place.

Fearing to be featured half-naked or doing exotic things in the world mass media, the Georgian leader is desperately seeking a new agenda to be taken up (and probably approved) by the world community. The "peace process" with Russia is the best option.

Saakashvili is ready for talks "without preconditions" though it seems he is still deep in the trenches of the August war in 2008 in his mind. Though this phrase might be an important signal to Moscow: Georgia finally gives Russia a chance to improve not demanding compliance with the clauses needed for EU accession.

In addition to vanity there are other motives for the Georgian president to backpedal. "The beacon of democracy" died away for Europe two and a half years ago - and quite irrevocably, since earning a political capital on confrontation with Russia is currently unreal.

NATO summit in Lisbon scheduled for November might bring drastic changes: if Russia, as expected, agrees to intensify assistance to the alliance in Afghanistan, this will show a serious thaw between the sides. So when needed Moscow will easily convince Western partners of presumption of its plans in Georgia. That means the Georgian-Russian conflict will have to be settled in Moscow, not in Munich or Washington. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev's statement that talks with Georgia will take place after the change of regime in the country is still valid.

What is Saakashvili supposed to do now? Forget about Russia or resign since to have a chance of a dialogue he must dismantle all his ideology his presidency has been based on for six years. The image of Russia as an originator of the conflict and collapse of Georgia must be erased. As remembered, the policy pursued by Mikheil Nikolozovich rests on slogans of marginal political groups. Now he risks falling victim to his own national idea. 

It is already late to explain to Georgian people that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not occupied territories and that Russia, albeit still an enemy, is not so much of it. Swapping horses in mid-stream - i.e. renouncing anti-Russian identity - is worse than resignation for the Georgian regime. Nonetheless, without this rejection talks will be faceless, or determined as "technical".

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