What will Georgia-Russia relationship look like next year?31.12.2010 | 18:25
Political contacts between Georgia and Russia ceased after the notorious events in 2008. The more so, as "due" to the Georgian leader's line, relations between the nations have also grown complicated: for some time, the people were not allowed to visit their relatives or friends. Now the flight connection between the countries has been resumed, though with reserve. Are we to expect any thaw in the country's relationship at the interstate level? GeorgiaTimes correspondent put the question to politicians and experts from both countries. Our interlocutors believe there is a real tendency to resume the dialogue but it's going to be hampered by the current Georgian government that is going to keep to its aggressive rhetoric.
Georgian government that is going to keep to its aggressive rhetoric.
Valery Khomyakov, Director General for National Strategy Council:
I hope the coming year will bring more news from the Russian-Georgian front. I'd like visas to be cancelled, though things won't apparently go as far as that. I believe, though, some steps will be made in this direction. I reckon the sincere feeling the Russians and Georgians have got towards each other historically will prevail over the politics and I hope they will become the decisive factor in Moscow-Tbilisi relationship. I believe that's the main thing, I mean, the politicians should pay more attention to the very long and basically positive history of relationship between Russia and Georgia.
As for the Georgians, my best wishes for them. I wish the republic to find more friends among its neigbours. The year of 2011 is to become one of the most important stages in the process of establishing normal, kindhearted relations that are typical of neighbours.
Petre Mamradze, one of the leaders of Movement for Fair Georgia:
I'd like to start with a pessimistic note. I don't see any real progress or steps forward in the relationship between Moscow and Tbilisi at the interstate level so long as Saakashvili and his authoritative and utterly corrupted regime retain power. Despite the promises forcibly made by Saakashvili concerning the necessity of peace and so on, I'm sure he is not going to pass from words to deeds. I believe Saakashvili will not withhold from insulting acts and performances next year. What he says in the morning changes by the evening, though, according to the opinion polls, 84 percent of Georgians stand for mending relationship with Russia, mind you.
However, one can reckon on developing communication in some other fields today. I remember our singers Paata Burchuladze and Nani Bregvadze sing in Moscow about a year ago and when they came back they were subject to fierce criticism and abuse. Now Paata Burchuladze received an order from the president, while Nani Bregvadze is free to sing in the Russian capital. Flight connection between our countries has been established; the Verkhny Lars checkpoint has been opened, and such integration processes are unavoidable.
Unfortunately, the economic situation in Georgia is getting worse and, perhaps, the coming year is going to be tight. I'd like to wish my people to get over these hard times and, of course, I wish peace and prosperity to Russian people, our great neighbor that is connected to us by warm relations. I hope our countries' modernization will be soon and painless.
Sergey Demidenko, expert of Institute of Strategic Assessment and Analysis:
I may forecast only one thing: in my opinion, there will be no profound changes in relationship between Russia and Georgia, unfortunately. Though, there has been certain progress in this respect lately and Saakashvili's latest utterances mean that he is generally ready for a dialogue with Moscow. The main thing now is that there is no hatred between the two nations; however, our elites are very far from each other in the political arena. That's why I can't speak of sunny prospects.
I wish the Georgians health and wealth. I believe they are one of the most ancient nations in the CIS territory and one of the most cultured. They deserve a better life and I hope Georgia is going to get well soon.
Kakha Dzagania, secretary of the Labour Party of Georgia:
My best wishes to the Russian people and to your Internet publication and audience. As for my forecast, I think we can't talk of any improvement of relations between our countries, unfortunately, so long as President Mikheil Saakashvili stays at the helm of Georgia. The current Georgian leader is an obstacle for the republic's international relations. Let's hope he will leave his post next year and that Shalva Natelashvili will come to power (head of the Labour Party - ed.), or a person who would think more about his country and people.