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Tbilisi vulgarizes the notion of independence21.12.2010 | 17:27
Blowing up the Glory Memorial in Kutaisi a year ago was like a start pistol shot marking the beginning of a new turn of anti-Russian hysteria in official Tbilisi. Trying to prove to the whole world their right to independence, Georgian rulers resort to most barbarian methods and like most fervent opponents of Herostratus they simply destroy their own history. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed what this self-affirmation attempt can lead to with Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, head of the Institute of Eurasia (Tbilisi).
- Mr. Rtskhiladze, what do you think about attempts current Georgian leaders make to get rid of the Soviet heritage? Demolition of the Glory Memorial n Kutaisi, ban on USSR symbols, history textbook amendments in order to blacken Soviet period of Georgia's history - is it all aimed at maximum alienation from Russia?
- Naturally. It's true, and I have always written about it. Such processes are aimed at ultimate alienation from Russia. Unfortunately, current Georgian authorities view "independence" not as the way toward the country's prosperity and creation of a truly democratic state. They link this notion with being as far as possible from Russia, from our common history. The word "independence" as interpreted by Georgian leaders has a negative, not positive connotation. Yes, Georgia has always given this impression, but with the current regime this is extremely wide-spread and popular.
- Tbilisi's latest initiatives in an attempt to win sympathies of North Caucasian nations of in order to spite Moscow and take them away from Russia, are also connected with this aspiration, aren't they? Do you think if they really can be beneficial to Georgia - in political and social sense?
- There is nothing to be said about success of these attempts. Such a policy can't be gainful by definition since Georgia has neither material nor any diplomatic possibilities to seriously affect the situation in Caucasus. There is one more thing, though. It is quite possible that some forces take advantage of our country immolating it on the huge geopolitical chessboard. In this case, of course, Georgia can create problems for Russia - at least due to its geographical position. Naturally, this will end in a most severe reaction from the Russian side that will openly oppose separation of North Caucasian nations. Then Georgia will have a really grueling time.
- Does it mean that Georgia's geographical position is the only advantage in its struggle for North Caucasus with Russia?
- A lot depends on developments in Russia. If the Russian government manages to pursue a successful policy in the region - then Georgia won't have any chances of success. Still, if Russia has problems, as a result of demonstrations similar to the gathering in Manezh square, then Tbilisi will be able to present itself in a more favorable light. Anyway, what Georgia can offer the nations of North Caucasus is a short-term solution. The government can spend some budget money on bribes. But in the long run this policy is doomed to failure. Georgia is not in the right state for patronizing when domestic affairs are in complete disarray.
- Is there a chance that Georgian authorities will forsake so utterly anti-Russian policies? Can this happen with the current leaders of the country, or should Saakashvili step down first?
- No doubt, this confrontation will disappear in the future. Certainly, it would be desirable to avoid arrival of the current regime's "residues" like it happened after Shevarnadze left. In this case, relations with Russia will develop much faster. This must be a constructive, efficient and vigorous power that I don't find in today's Georgia, unfortunately. Still, this is in line with the country's interests. It is equally good to Russia for, basically, there is no force able to change our centuries-long geopolitical ties.