No dealings with Saakashvili from now on18.02.2010 | 23:06
Recently Russian President Dmitry Medvedev confirmed his refusal to have any contacts with Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili in charge of the August attack on South Ossetia. According to Medvedev Moscow and Tbilisi will sooner or later return to normal full-fledged relations but he personally will not deal with the president of Georgia. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked politologists and experts to evaluate this act by Russian leadership as well as prospects of future cooperation between Russia and Georgia.
Felix Stanevsky, head of Caucasus department, Institute of CIS Countries
This is a natural step. After the 2008 events Georgian President Saakashvili is personally responsible for the attack on South Ossetia. So in my view it makes no sense to deal with him. What would we look like for the people of South Ossetia who suffered the assault? What would we look like for their brothers in North Ossetia? Or all Caucasian nations? It would have been a totally illogical step to continue a dialogue with the person who bears personal responsibility for night shelling on the sleeping town. Speculations that relations with this leader should be pursued against all odds sound nonsense. Moreover, it is not Georgia that has interest in Russia. It is Georgia that must seek normal relations with Russia. That is why Tbilisi must draw right
conclusions from the current situation. Nonsense that a small country populated by 3.5 mln people whose 1.5 mln immigrants reside in Russia is carrying out a hostile policy toward its great neighbor. The person who started this foreign policy nonsense and who is pursuing it must take personal responsibility.
Vitaly Naumkin, president of Center for Strategic and Political Studies
I'm calm about this decision. Considering the level of relations with Georgia that we reached in the aftermath of Saakashvili's debacle in South Ossetia and insults pronounced by Georgian president against Russian leaders, there could have been no other outcome. But despite interrupted contacts with Saakashvili the Russian leaders and president will keep underscoring that the adopted position has nothing to do with the Georgian nation. On the contrary, kinship, common history and Orthodox brotherhood are constantly emphasized. Here the attitude to Georgian nation, to the ways of rapprochement will be counterpoised to complete exclusion of Saakashvili from the number of possible partners in this dialogue. The policy was established quite a long time ago and there are no grounds to believe it might change.
Pavel Danilin, expert of Foundation for Effective Politics
I totally approve of this step on the part of Russian leaders. The man responsible for the order to destroy Russian militaries and civilians is subject to trial. Before it happens Saakashvili must be declared persona non grata. Generally speaking there must be relevant requests on Saakashvili submitted via Interpol. I think the first step is made showing RF's solid decisiveness to be done with Saakashvili and punish him duly for the deaths of Russian citizens. I believe Saakashvili will sooner or later face fair vengeance wherever he might hide.
Is it possible to say that the dialogue between two countries will resume upon expiration of Saakashvili's powers?
The dialogue between presidents will be possible only when a new Georgian leader takes over. As for inter-state dialogue it is possible. Somehow it is already on - let's take charter flights for instance. Let's not forget about Russian consulate employees in Tbilisi and Georgian diplomats in Moscow. This is one of the forms of contacts. So certain relations inevitably continue.
I think it is. Medvedev's statement is timed to show that dialogue with Saakashvili is out of question and is possible only with those who will replace him or with people that now stand in opposition to the president of Georgia and are not stained with the past. Moscow has never taken the liberty of interfering in Georgia's domestic affairs, and it never will. Our leaders are free to pursue dialogue with those whom the Russian side considers eligible. Pavel Danilin
Russian-Georgian dialogue can be continued now: a dialogue between Saakashvili and top-ranking officials in Russia is out of question. Citizens must not suffer for having elected such an inadequate president.
What are eventual consequences of this diplomatic vacuum between Russia and Georgia?