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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Tbilisi-Moscow: A non-existent railway

2012-11-15 16:28

Tbilisi-Moscow: A non-existent railway. 28709.jpeg

The resumption of rail services between Georgia and Russia is not possible in the foreseeable future, Azerbaijani experts believe. It is economically unprofitable to Tbilisi; and Russia and Abkhazia hardly like this idea. Georgians themselves may perceive the opening of the railway as a betrayal of national interests. But most of all, of course, this project is alarming to Baku, since the train will go straight to Armenia, which will facilitate the transportation of Russian weapons to the military base in Gyumri.

The opening of the through train traffic through Abkhazia benefits only to Armenia, which, after the annexation of 20 percent of the Azerbaijan Republic (mountainous part of Karabakh and surrounding areas) was in a state of partial economic blockade, a political analyst from Baku Murtaza Hasanov believes. It is also profitable to Russia, which receives direct land connection with its military base in Gyumri. The downside is that Moscow will be able to ship heavy weapons and missiles to Armenia.

But in this matter it's necessary to consider the interests of other countries in the region, including Georgia. Political scientist Gabil Huseynli believes that from an economic point of view, it does not promise Georgia big dividends. After all, today Georgia has quite a strained relationship with Russia, and the improvement is unlikely in the near future. Any government, ready to the rapprochement with the country which has recognized the independence of Georgia's territory, will be considered hostile to the interests of the Georgian people. Thus, change is possible only if Moscow recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia, Huseynli says.

"All this is not possible in the near future. Neither Putin's Russia, nor official Tbilisi may agree to this. In the first case, Russia's leader does not want it to be interpreted as Moscow's weakness. And in the second case, as we have said, the Georgian government may be considered a traitor of national interests", says the analyst. "In this case, in case of renewal of the railway through Abkhazia, Georgia may count only on the ability to send Georgian wine to the Russian market (if Moscow allows) and the ability for citizens to acquire relatively cheap train tickets to travel to Russia. We can add to this a small charge for the transit of cargos from Russia to Armenia. But even here, given the scantiness of the Armenian market, we cannot expect much benefits", says Gabil Huseynli.

As for the other parties involved in the proposal, Azerbaijan, of course, does not want to resume the railway. "The reason is quite simple. We are at war with Armenia, which has occupied our land. We are trying to influence on this country through economic methods. And this project could serve as a partial unblocking of Armenia, which is unacceptable, unless the Azerbaijani territory is exempted", said the expert.

Speaking about the interests of the Abkhaz side, the political scientist said the country was scared of this proposal. "First, the proposal came from Georgia, which is alarming to Sukhum. On the other hand, the insignificance of the economic component for Georgia says that the project is rather of a political nature and will contribute to political integration. And this development is not acceptable for the current leaders of Abkhazia, who stand for a legal transfer of these territories from Georgia", Gabil Huseynli concluded.

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