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Commonwealth of dictators of independent states2010-12-27 13:14
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on being reelected for a fourth term prior to official announcement of the results thus placing himself among presidents that have very little to do with modern democracy standards. These country leaders too were fast to congratulate their counterpart on the victory. Yet, this does not seem frightening to the Georgian leader.
He himself has long stopped being a democrat, and his friendship with Lukashenko is strategically important for Tbilisi: at least this is some kind of guarantee that Batka won't acknowledge Abkhazia and South Ossetia one day.
Some five years ago the thought of Saakashvili and Lukashenko as a team would be seen as nonsense. Young Misha was a symbol of color revolutions perceived as something new and progressive in the post-Soviet space, while Lukashenko personified something that needed to be overthrown promptly.
Khmara (Enough!) youth movement of Georgia provided physical support to the future Georgian leader at the time of the rose revolution. Later the representatives of the movement went to Belarus to teach Belarusian opposition to organize their local color revolution scheduled for Lukashenko's previous election when Saakashvili called his opponents to stand to the bitter end.
Who could have thought that some five years later Georgia and its "democratic" leader and Belarus with the old ruler will grow into allies? Saakashvili congratulates Lukashenko on having been reelected to the post of president once again. Politics has no morals or virtue, but what makes the Georgian and Belarusian regimes become friends? The answer is simple: it's Russia.
It took Tbilisi and Minsk very little time to become friends united by complications in dealing with Moscow. The difference is that confrontation with Russia is Saakashvili's mission, for Lukashenko the anti-Russian rhetoric is just an interim strategy. As a result, following the previous election in Minsk a number of Georgian citizens were detained, this time it's Russians.
Minsk-Kiev relations have made a drastic 180-degree turn in a very short time. Six months ago Sukhum and Tskhinval had timid hopes that Belarus might recognize the republics. Even today they remember by inertia that Belarusians were on the point of joining the small group of countries acknowledging independence of the republics.
Presidents Sergey Bagapsh and Edward Kokoyty congratulated Lukashenko on winning the election, and South Ossetian leader cherishes a modest hope for prompt recognition. But even hypothetically this won't happen at the time of Kokoyty's presidency.
In reality Saakashvili and Lukashenko are united by more than just problems with Russia not fatal for Minsk yet. It's just that with years Mikheil Nikolozovich has adopted principles of governance of his Belarusian colleague. Georgia has undergone a transformation that made it possible to communicate with "Europe's last dictator" without compunction.
He got to establishing democracy and European values in the ways used by authoritarian rulers. His November 7, 2007 is no different from the latest events in Minsk. Saakashvili was equally hardhearted dispersing the opposition rally, ordering massive beatings and taking lots of opposition activists to jail. Lukashenko uses the same methods for different reasons. In Belarus this is "law" and "order" and in Georgia it's "democracy" and "triumph of European values". Essentially the dossiers of both dictators from Tbilisi and Minsk lie on the same shelf.