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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Tbilisi has learned to discern between Putin and Onishenko

2010-12-17 18:12

Tbilisi has learned to discern between Putin and OnishenkoThe old issue is back into the spotlight in Georgian media: to approve or not to approve of Russia's entry into WTO? The interest to the problem, that seems to have been solved by official Tbilisi in "fighting-up-to-the-last-ditch" style, has been revived by the achievements of Russian diplomats in their contacts with WTO's protagonists - USA and the European Union. To the disappointment of Georgian leaders the balance of forces has shifted in favor of Moscow and Sakartvelo mass media rush into a new ideological battle.


The wind of changes in relations between Russia and WTO's key players seems to blow like a draught for Georgian politicians. Their reaction to the agreement reached between Moscow, Brussels and Washington was flash-like. And it is probably the first time Tbilisi' nationalist rhetoric has been replaced by elements of pragmatism.

The first step toward common sense was made by Georgi Targamadze, leader of Christian Democratic movement who suggested that the authorities follow Moldova's example in their relations with Moscow agreeing to invite the EU mission to control the Transdniestrean part of the border.

"On one hand this is a good way for Moldova authorities to have full information on the situation along the border and the trade turnover. At the same time this is a compromise for Russia that considers it important that the line of occupation is not controlled solely by Moldova, - Targamadze states.

The method, he thinks, must be adopted in Roksky tunnel and Psou. "I think the Georgian side will propose this to Russia in exchange for WTO access. For the Georgian side this will be a good solution given the current situation here. This is also a compromise for Russia that does not want Georgia to control the border directly", - CDM leader stated. 

This proposal that links the question of WTO entry and political problems does not contradict Tbilisi's traditional rhetoric. Still, the reservation he makes on a discussion over access of Georgian goods to the Russian market demonstrates certain changes going on in the minds of Sakartvelo's political establishment.

As we know Georgia is the only WTO member state that puts forward political demands to Russia. The sticking point in talks with the States and the EU were economic differences. Now, it seems, Tbilisi turns to generally accepted, civilized rules of the game and starts to discern between wine and weapons.

Not everyone though. The tiny reservation made by the leader of Christian Democrats was vigorously opposed by other representatives of Georgian politics.

In particular, politologist Soso Tsintsadze stated in an interview with local mass media that "at the time when the West provides solid guarantees of WTO entry to Russia instead of putting pressure, any compromise proposals from the Georgian side will be of no effect, and it is absolutely inadmissible to include the country's national interests in the list of compromise solutions since it is unlikely Russia will accept this or any other compromise proposal". He is absolutely right thinking that Russia will continue to see the difference between economic issues and international relations.

The words of the Georgian politologist show: after long years of the hard-edged ideological confrontation it is sometimes pretty difficult to change mentality.

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