Nogaideli: the third “Moscow conquest”15.12.2009 | 10:55
Leader of oppositional party Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Nogaideli arrived in Moscow again. Within three days he is planning to meet with the State Duma spokesmen and members of political circles. Tbilisi is not very happy about the former prime minister's regular visits to the capital of Russia; still, they do not put any obstacles in his way. Will the power holders listen to the oppositionist's ideas on resuming a dialogue with Russia and on conflict settlement?
Today, former Prime Minister of Georgia and current leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia party Zurab Nogaideli has started his third visit to Moscow for the latest three months. So far, he is the only Georgian politician who came to Georgia after the August events and set up a direct dialogue both with the country's government and Georgian expatriate community representatives.
During the latest two visits, Nogaideli also met with the Abkhaz and Ossetian expatriate communities in Moscow and held negotiations with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of RF Grigoriy Karasin.
Just like the majority of the Georgian politicians, Nogaideli believes regaining of the lost territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to be a priority for his country. However, according to the oppositionist, right now it is necessary to talk not about the regaining of the territories but about the return of refugees to their native homes.
Nogaideli believes that, first of all, it requires regaining the people's trust, the trust of the Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians towards each other, as well as realization of the joint economical programs; afterwards one may speak about the reunion of territories. The second point of the program implies setting up a dialogue with Russia without any preliminary conditions.
Tbilisi did not try to conceal its indignation caused by Nogaideli's initiative to start a direct dialogue with Russia, which Georgia refers to only as "the occupant" and "the aggressor".
Neither are representatives of the Georgian expatriate community in Russia pleased with the oppositionist. The meeting in the Sincere Talk discussion club of the Union of Georgians in Russia that took place in November turned out to be rather complicated. Many representatives of the community directly asked the former prime minister what prevented him from mending relationship while he stayed in power.
Despite the fellow countrymen's sharp criticism, the guest underlined that he was much pleased with the meeting. As explained by the former prime minister, the set task was accomplished: he disclosed his views to the Georgians. Upon returning to Tbilisi, Zurab Nogaideli stated that he does not rule out the possibility of a third visit to Moscow.
"Our task is to make the Russians and the Georgians see that the restoration of relationship is possible. One of the main points of discussion was the issue of liberating the Georgian teenagers and the necessity of resuming flight connection between Russia and Georgia. It would be very good if the flight connection was resumed before the New Year", - Nogaideli stated.
Either the oppositionists managed to melt the iceberg of the Georgian-Russian relationship, or by mere coincidence there came encouraging news for the Georgian-Russian relationship in December. During the 4th European-Asian media forum held in Moscow, President of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev underlined in his open speech: "The first thing is that we must preserve all the positive achievements. We must not avoid common household matters". It was also said that direct flight connection between the countries would be resumed and that the disgraced Georgian wines and Borjomi would return to Russia.
Despite the fact that the Russian president underlined once again that he was not going "to have any contacts with the current president of Georgia and some other Georgian authorities so long as they are directly responsible for the crime committed" (the 08.08.08 war - I.P.), Saakashvili welcomed Russia's cancellation of its sanctions in respect of Georgia.
It is no secret that during the last several weeks there has been less anti-Russian rhetoric in Tbilisi. The people on the Georgian part of the border seem to be waiting for the outcome of the announced "thaw". For most people of the country, unlike for the politicians, it makes absolutely no difference in what way negotiations on resuming economical and other connections with Russia, Georgia's historical ally, will be held; it is the outcome that matters.
Many people in Tbilisi are convinced that the signs of the thaw became visible due to the negotiations held by Nogaideli in Moscow. The fact is that many political and public activists would like to mend relationship with Russia indeed but they would not venture to be the first, considering the specific traits of the modern Georgian policy which awards the label of a "spy" or "traitor of motherland" for the smallest contacts with Russia.