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The crisis is dictating its rules. The war is being cancelled2009-03-11 10:37
The word "war" has again hung over Georgia and South Ossetia. People have started talking about it again in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali. Admittedly, whilst the South Ossetian President, Eduard Kokoity, has again accused Georgia of planning further acts of provocation, his Georgian colleague Mikheil Saakashvili has practically disavowed his previous statements and has promised that there will not be any further hostilities.
Both before and after the August events, the region has been restless, to put it mildly. Shots are periodically fired on the border, the sides accuse each other of committing acts of provocation, and international monitors vainly search for those in the right and those who are to blame. Therefore periodically rumours of a war again and again start to worry people on both sides of the border.
Hence a few days ago at an expanded session of the council for the All-Ossetian public movement "Styr Nykhas", the South Ossetian president reported that Georgia was planning further acts of provocation, reports Interfax. Kokoity gave the following arguments: "Recently the USA signed a strategic partnership charter with Georgia, and soon large-scale exercises will be held alongside NATO. Georgia's weapons are being supplemented, and the Georgian army is being strengthened with air-defence systems." Admittedly, the charter was signed back in January, and we have known about the NATO exercises in Georgia for a long time.
On the same day as the South Ossetian president's speech, the Georgian president also made a statement. This time, as Rosbalt reports, he said: "We are ruling out a new military escapade from Russia." Admittedly, tradition dictated that he added: "But we must be cautious." After all, the Georgian government has been scaring its citizens with talk of a new war and "aggression" from Russia for the entire six-month period since the tragic events of August.
So at the February events devoted to the Sovietization of Georgia, Mikheil Nikolaevich pontificated: "A century has passed since the first annexation of Georgia by Russia, but we are again facing the threat of occupation." As tradition would have it, the parliamentary majority vehemently supported the position adopted by the head of the "United National Movement". Shota Malashkhia, head of the temporary commission for restoring the country's territorial integrity, told GHN: "If in August Russia's actions were caused by oil and gas prices, hence by an economic upsurge, now in these crisis conditions, it will try and deflect attention onto Georgia and Ukraine. The most important thing to note is that Russia has a genuine opportunity to do this." His colleagues were seemingly desperate to outdo each other with forecasts of an upcoming war.
However, the unpredictable Mikheil Nikolaevich, acting individually as ever, decided to change the party's position on this issue. So the "nationalists" have had to hurriedly reorganize themselves. What has provoked this so unaccustomed response from the party of power? There are several reasons. One of them is Saakashvili's determination to prove to his compatriots that he is more perspicacious and rational than the opposition which is so critical of him.