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Will Nogaideli be able to bring Russia and Georgia together?27.01.2010 | 17:47
One of these days, leader of the oppositional Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Nogaideli stated that the main purpose of the coming visit to Moscow in February will be the signing of the joint party agreement on cooperation with the United Russia. According to him, it is time to stop the senseless confrontation with Russia and establish friendly or, at least, normal relationship, without which one cannot solve the issue of communication between Tbilisi, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the prospects of cooperation between the two parties with the political analysts and experts of Russia and Georgia.
Sergey Markov, member of the United Russia fraction, Director of Political Investigations Institute
This cooperation is absolutely necessary. We are to establish normal relationship between Russia and Georgia that were marred by the adventurers who have turned into military criminals, such as Saakashvili and Merabishvili. Our history has a wonderful common past, so all the difficulties must be overcome. The basic conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi today is the problem of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Nevertheless, the events connected with these republics have developed an irreversible character.
However, there are other problems that do not imply any conflict, such as the freedom of movement, joint economical and cultural projects, and joint steps in the direction of the European Union; they may be realized within the context of such cooperation. Russia will keep trying to mend the Russian-Georgian relationship, given that the interests of the Abkhaz and the Ossetians will not become an object of bargaining, for these nations have got the right of their own future, while Georgia should reconsider its relations with them.
As to the non-conflict agenda, Tbilisi and Moscow might go rather far here, including not only the resumption of the visa movement regime but the establishment of the visa-free regime and creating a common economical space.
Tbilisi is going to benefit from the agreement most of all. Russia is currently much more important for Georgia than Georgia is for Russia. The problem is that the policy conducted by adventurer Saakashvili has torn Georgia apart from the Russian market, having put the people into an embarrassing situation.
Vladimir Anokhin, Vice President of Geopolitical Problems Academy
I believe that there has always been certain cooperation between the Georgian oppositional parties and the leading parties of Russia. At present, this fact is being legalized. The legalization of such relationship primarily speaks of the fact that the opposition in Georgia is getting stronger in respect of the authorities, and that the authorities are no longer able to influence the political situation in the country. The fact that the United Russia as a party is going to cooperate with Nogaideli's party means an open support provided to the Georgian opposition by the Russian authorities with the purpose of changing the regime in Georgia. Such agreements imply the influence on political situation, and the opposition, in its turn, wants to win both political and international support, for the United Russia is a unified state body. I leave open the possibility that a tremendous scandal might break out in Georgia in this respect.
Tbilisi is going to benefit from this agreement more. I cannot remember any statements made in the West when one state party would openly support an oppositional party of another country. This is nonsense from the viewpoint of international relationship. Should the Communist Party of the Russian Federation or the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia sign an agreement like that one would take it easy. Russia should be very prudent in such steps, for Moscow is probably going to be blamed for that.
Soso Tsintsadze, President of the Georgian Diplomatic Academy
Each to his taste, as one would say. Let him sign if he chooses to, though I would not do it if I were him. The point is that the United Russia is a ruling party, which leaders are considered in Tbilisi to have a hostile attitude to Georgia. On what points could they cooperate? Cooperation is not the same thing as mutual help. Cooperation between United Russia and Movement for Fair Georgia would be supported if it were aimed at restoring the territorial integrity; and this is impossible.
I believe we will be able to talk about the purposes of cooperation only when we get acquainted with a relevant document. At present, I treat such attempts of cooperation with much suspicion, for there are too many problems between Moscow and Tbilisi that include not only Georgia's integrity but also such problems as the returning of refugees.
As to Nogaideli, he has got no influence in Georgia. Neither was he in great favor while serving as minister of finance and the prime minister. Perhaps, he is reckoning to gain certain political scores by making such a step. Of course, no one will have any objection if it does Georgia good; still, no one believes it at the moment. But if the United Russia hopes to make a henchman of Nogaideli in Tbilisi, then, it is nothing but an illusion, for he will hardly gain enough votes during the presidential elections.