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GUAM: to be or not to be?04.02.2010 | 15:12
Despite the decision taken by GUAM member states comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldavia on creation of a joint plan of development, the bloc's viability is doubted by many. Recently Viktor Yanukovich, a candidate to the post of President of Ukraine heading the Party of Regions called GUAM's activity out-of-date. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed prospects of this alliance with Russian politologists.
GUAM as an international regional organization emerged on October 10 1997. Initially it was GUUAM with Uzbekistan as a member that announced withdrawal from the bloc a short time after in view of its politicization and inefficiency. For the post-Soviet space GUAM was intended as a counterpoise to Russia's traditional influence in the region.
With time Tbilisi's and Kiev's craving for European integration put the bloc to the background. There were rumors that GUAM needs reanimation. Last November Georgia was hosting a three-day session of the GUAM's Parliamentary Assembly resulting in a decision to work out a joint plan of the organization's development. Nonetheless, a number of politicians and experts challenge viability of the alliance. Recently Ukraine's presidential candidate and Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovich called GUAM's activity out-of-date. Is it really so?
Valery Khomyakov, director general of National Strategy Council
I don't think GUAM has serious prospects, especially in view of possible change of regime in Ukraine. It doesn't matter who will become president - Timoshenko or Yanukovich, since GUAM-conceived anti-Russian policy is no more popular in Ukraine. A new president will take this fact into account. This is the beginning of new times in Moscow-Kiev relations. Besides pragmatic forces have risen to power in Moldavia understanding that nobody welcomes them in Europe. That's why they will interact with Russia. I believe it pointless for Russia to struggle against this structure. It will die in peace totally unnoticed. Now people start forgetting about GUAM. So Yanukovich's statement is completely fair.
Konstantin Sivkov, first vice president of Academy of Geopolitical Problems
Efficiency of any organization is determined by whether its existence is worthwhile. If there is no sense in its activity then its work becomes useless. GUAM was created by the West as a kind of sanitary cordon against Russia aimed at unification of ex Soviet republics in their anti-Russian stance. From the US point of view this organization continues to be up-to-date. Yanukovich's words mean that US possibilities in the post-Soviet space are getting scarce. And most importantly, leaders of a number of states including some GUAM members started to realize that security guarantees for political elites can be achieved only if supported by the Russian factor. By all appearances this is what Yanukovich meant and he is absolutely right. In this situation GUAM is definitely non-viable but it can become up-to-date if the situation changes.
Pavel Danilin, an expert with Efficient Politics Foundation
Yanukovich is right for if he wins the election the sense in GUAM's existence will be lost. Ukraine is probably the main component of this organization oriented on confrontation with Moscow. If Yanukovich becomes president the organization will lose any sense. No doubt this will be a heavy blow to Georgia that was the main initiator of GUAM's creation. But I don't think Yanukovich will care about that at all.
Speaking about prospects they seem real only in case of Timoshenko's victory. Though generally speaking chances of GUAM were low at the beginning: an anti-Russian alliance in the CIS is unlikely to have a serious political future.