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Abkhazia: sovereignty test2011-09-20 13:38
Wikileaks, a scandalous portal, perturbs Caucasus again. A new set of documents reveals some secrets of Abkhaz diplomacy. After the republic was recognized, its foreign policy vector slightly changed making some people gloat that Abkhazia's rejection to move on in Moscow's midstream and orientation toward its national project was assisted by Moscow itself. Yet, Abkhazia finds expansion of Russia's influence in Caucasus useful since it will help promote Abkhazia's own interests.
No matter what Tbilisi, Moscow and Sukhum could think of Sergey Bagapsh, it is absolutely evident that he has played a decisive part in forming Abkhazia's statehood. Despite Georgia's stubborn accusations that the president of Abkhazia was bowing and scraping to Kremlin, he managed to gain necessary preferences for his country and make history as a man that raised the banner of independence over the republic. During the extraordinary presidential election held after Bagapsh's death, the global community froze in waiting. It was the moment of destiny shaping. Not only for this small piece of land overlooking the Black Sea, now free from the Georgian yoke forever. The new choice was really important.
As we know, before August 2008 Russia was reluctant to recognize Abkhazia. It even had no intention to cancel sanctions. No wonder that WikiLeaks reveals discontent of Abkhazia's political elite forced to follow the path of Russia's foreign policy. But if Moscow took up Sukhum's national project that had no support from the outside then, it was Russia's state interests only.
A question: why are US and Georgian experts so concerned over the issue? This state of things is completely in line with the geopolitical situation in Caucasus having several motivated players.
By the way, diplomatic cables published on the scandalous site refer to year 2008. It can't be neglected that since that time the situation in Caucasus has seriously changed. According to Americans, Abkhazia's discontent over Moscow was caused by fear that Moscow wouldn't recognize Sukhum's independence. That would mean that Abkhazia's future development as a nation and a state was almost impossible. But Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili commanded by John McCain, a Republican senator, personally solved this problem planning The Clear Field operation.
That is why Barack Obama's administration was slow and inert at the time of the five-day war. All Abkhazians wanted was independence. No wonder Abkhazia refused to negotiate with Georgia rejecting all proposals with regard to extension of autonomy and neutral passports. Complete sovereignty, Tbilisi refused to grant to Sukhum, basing on the concept of its territorial integrity, was obtained with the help of Moscow that knew well: the republic will take its own path, the national course after all. But Kremlin's meant a lot. Otherwise the Country of Soul would have remained a "separatist enclave".
Three years ago only Russia could guarantee that Abkhazia would not be reintegrated into Georgia while the West was supporting Mikheil Saakashvili nervously chewing his necktie and complaining about the attack of the aggressors. That is why the European Union that has its economic interests in the partially recognized republic was Abkhazia's enemy in the August war. Now many people (thanks to diplomatic cables too) view a sudden thaw between Abkhazia and Europe as an attempt to pursue a multi-vector policy.