Georgian minister not a history expert28.06.2010 | 10:16
For some unknown reason it is decided in Tbilisi that Russian authorities have never liked and will never approve of Georgian presidents, as Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze commented on Dmitry Medvedev's words stating that Moscow will settle relations with Sakartvelo only after Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation. It is clear why the Georgian minister is so furious - the republic was the first to break up diplomatic relations with Russia and keeps considering it an enemy. But is there truth in this loud statement?
Russia's attitude to the Georgian leader is well known: attacking South Ossetia in August 2008 and falling out with Moscow afterwards Saakashvili put himself on the list of persone non grate. Dmitry Medvedev made it clear that he does not want to deal with Georgia's current ruler.
Experts believe that a dialogue with the man personally responsible for night shelling of the sleeping town is simply pointless. Phrases that relations with such a leader should be preserved have no sense either which is logical: it is not Russia that seeks contacts with Georgia, but vice versa.
Saakashvili and his teammates however continue to throw mud at Russia calling it an "occupant" and a major foe. That is why after President Dmitry Medvedev expressed certainty that Moscow-Tbilisi relations will definitely improve after the change of current regime Georgia reacted in its typical manner with FM Grigol Vashadze defending the head of the state and saying that Russian leaders will never like presidents of the republic.
"Since 1991 when independence was proclaimed, there has been no regime in Georgia that would suit Russia, - the minister is sure. - The Kremlin suffers incompatibility problems with all presidents of Georgia".
Is it really so? It looks more like the Georgian minister mistakes the wish for reality, doesn't he? GeorgiaTimes correspondent tried to answer these questions with Georgian political figures, Russian historians and writers.
Petre Mamradze, ex head of Shevarnadze administration, now a Movement for Fair Georgia leader
To me the words of our FM Vashadze don't sound serious or have any sense. When state interests are discussed the first thing to speak about is different policies. I would like to emphasize that Edward Shevarnadze never pursued policies that would harm Russia's national interests. I witnessed coordination of all issues that concerned Russia with Russian leaders. When, for instance, Chechen president Maskhadov expressed willingness to come to Georgia and talk to Shevarnadze what the Georgian president did first thing was contact Eltsin asking about Russia's attitude to a visit like that and highlighted the visit could take place only if Russian leaders didn't mind. I also remember the reply - generous gratitude.
Vladimir Pribylovsky, president of Panorama Information and Research center, a writer
I'm not sure if it is worthwhile for diplomats to say things like this. I don't believe there has been any consistent policy of any authorities against Shevarnadze, only some intrigues.
Sergey Sereghin, member of Communist Party of Russia
There are two elites - in Russia and in Georgia. This is not personal relations but struggle between economic and political interests. That is why saying that this or that person is liked or not sounds distracting. The main question is whether Russia accepts Georgia's policies toward Moscow and whether Georgia accepts Russia's policy toward Tbilisi. Conflicts that might arise are conflicts between the bourgeoisies of the two countries that divide spheres of influence in Caucasus. As for personal relations between Gorbachyev and Shevarnadze, their interaction was not friendship. They were primarily concerned over their political longevity in big politics.
Jacob Gordin, Zvezda magazine co-editor, a writer
It is true that Russia did not approve of Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Russia simply could not like him. He was a quite a character with radical mindset. Gamsakhurdia had anti-Soviet views that he transferred to post-Soviet Russia. There was not much to be happy about it since he made a lot of blunders. As for Shevarnadze, this question is much more complicated. Soviet-Russian generalship had serious claims against him: he was accused of prompt pull-out of troops from Germany since he was then Minister of Foreign Affairs. But after Gamsakhurdia the attitude of Russian leaders to Shevarnadze was calmer and more loyal.
It seems the Georgian Minister tried too hard offending Moscow. Yes, relations between Russian and Georgian leaders in the 1990s can't be called perfect though Grigol Vashadze is unwise talking about Kremlin's stable dislike. It would be much more useful to deal with domestic problems that Sakartvelo is swamped by.