Tbilisi swinging the North Caucasus’ pendulum26.10.2010 | 20:30
Tbilisi's initiative on visa cancellation for the people of the North-Caucasian republics was welcomed by Chechen expatriate community in Georgia. As was stated by head of community Khizri Aldamov, establishing a visa-free regime is "important for the unity of Caucasian people". GeorgiaTimes correspondent talked to chief editor of the United Newspaper Saeed-Hamzat Gerihanov and head of the Caucasian department of CIS Countries Institute Felix Stanevsky.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's proposal to create a United Caucasian Space without Russia made in the course of UN General Assembly seems to be a PR-action to political analysts and experts. At first, main Caucasian peacemaker Saakashvili introduced a visa-free regime for the people of the North-Caucasian republics without asking the state that comprises those republics. Now Mishiko's initiatives are supported by Chechen representatives living in Georgia.
According to Khizri Aldamov, simultaneously with considering the issue of the genocide against the Chechen people Georgia should think of recognizing the genocide against them, for "the genocide over the Chechens is a more vivid example than history today". "Just like Chechnya, part of the Georgian territory is occupied by Russia and the resistance against the common enemy should be consolidated", - Aldamov stated.
What does the head of the state of the Chechen community in Georgia mean? Our interlocutors share an opinion that the main ground is politics.
Saeed-Hamzat Gerikhanov: First of all, I saw a political purpose rather then a real desire to find any areas of common interest in Georgia's introduction of a visa-free regime for a certain category of Russian citizens. Yes, the problem of resettlement must be solved but, in my opinion, we are shown that Georgia regards the people of the North Caucasus as friends, while others are considered to be enemies. The situation seems absurd to me. As for Aldamov's statement, in the current situation he found an opportunity to justify Saakashvili's initiative to facilitate the life of the Chechen expatriate community in Georgia. The rest is mere politics.
Felix Stanevsky: Aldamov is the one who once cooperated with Georgian and Ichkerian authorities at a time; he represented a state that no longer exists, a state that was the focus of attention of the Georgian authorities in Shevardnadze's times. During the war, Aldamov was a TV-star of all the Georgian TV channels. He is connected with Ruslan Gelayev and other bandits, so no wonder the government is using such a man. The organization headed by Aldamov is cajoled by Saakashvili's regime. Those are people who used to do some racketeering within the territory of the Chechen republic and today are running errands for Saakashvili and his associates aimed at destabilizing the situation in the North Caucasus - no questions here.
Georgian political elite does not turn off this way and will support the powers that may contribute to the destabilization of the North Caucasus. At the same time, the authorities do not understand that by destabilizing the region they destabilize their own country. They create favorable conditions for those whom they are unable to control. We've got an example in Afghanistan when Bin Laden was created by the US special services and then got from under their control. The same thing happened in Georgia when the republic tried to control the militants in Pankisi Gorge but did not succeed much.
Can one expect other North-Caucasian expatriate communities to come out with a speech?
- I believe, Saakashvili's regime will do everything possible to shatter the situation in the North Caucasus as much as it can. There is no doubt he will use every chance for it. The policy of bringing maximum damage to Russia has been carried out for a long time. Today they try to use Aldamov; tomorrow they will devise something else. They've got the wife of the late Dudayev there; they've got a journalist of the Russian origin who sold himself and they've got Minister Shashkin. They are going to use the whole range of opportunities and they are going to use the Chechen community as well, and Sanakoyev and all the Ossetians that live in the territory of Georgia, trying to get settled.
Cooperation between the bandits and Georgian government is traditional. It was the same in the times of Shevardnadze and Gamsakhurdia and it still goes on with Saakashvili being in power. Today Georgia is the most active power at the disposal of the structures that stay beyond its territory and that use it to damage Russia.
How would you comment upon the statement of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov that the militants acting in the North Caucasus receive sponsorship through the territory of Georgia?
- Kadyrov is quite right. It is still more valuable because he knows it not by hearsay. No doubts he's got vast information on the matter. I would say that it's difficult to hide anything in Georgia. The people there know very well that Georgia is used by government to provide a back-up base to militants and terrorists. There has always been a base in Pankissi Gorge and Tbilisi and it is still there.