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Tbilisi evaluates independence in dollars19.01.2011 | 18:21
It seems official Tbilisi now clearly realizes all futility of attempts to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia back. It becomes clear to Georgia that independence of the two republics is an inviolable geopolitical fact. The only thing Mikheil Saakashvili regime can do is find the best price for Georgia's recognition of Sukhum and Tskhinval without losing face completely - a rather ugly face though.
Recently there appeared information that Georgia might claim Russia's compensation for the events of two years ago in South Ossetia. The main speaker on the issue is Shota Malashkhia, head of Georgia's parliamentary interim commission on territorial integrity restoration. Malaskkhia states that Moscow owes Tbilisi USD 35 billion - nothing more and nothing less. The impressive figure that constitutes several budgets of the country consists of two smaller sums. As the Georgian deputy asserts, Russia must pay USD 20 billion for "occupation" and "aggressive actions" in August 2008. The rest of the amount, USD 15 billion, is notorious ecological damage.
"Compensation wars" between participants of the conflict in South Caucasus have been on for a long time. Georgia repeatedly demanded reimbursement from Russia for imaginary "occupation". Sukhum and Tskhinval came forward with similar claims to Tbilisi. But never before has the amount been so big. Malashkhia is not confused at the fact that there was no "aggression" toward Georgia on the part of Russia as was acknowledged by the international community that usually favors Saakashvili's regime. But according to the Georgian parliamentarian, the West will be benevolent to Tbilisi this time too.
Malashkhia openly admits that his initiative is connected with the claims of the Abkhaz side asking for a USD 13 bn compensation. And Abkhazia has all grounds to claim that: the damage incurred by the country's culture and economy because of Georgian leaders, is probably even higher. Neglecting absolute discordance between his idea and the real state of things, he is full of optimism. "Their claims will rest on paper while we will take ours to international courts", - he believes.
As Sergey Markov, a well-known Russian politologist, a State Duma deputy believes, the Georgian side has some vague hope. According to the expert, this is connected with the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict's two dimensions: political and humanitarian. "In terms of politics any reconsideration is impossible since the political support the Georgian leaders have from the West stumbles on Russia's firm stance. Still, in humanitarian terms this problem splits", - the expert said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes correspondent. It is quite likely that Russia will have to be in long litigation over these multi-billion compensations to gain its point, Markov thinks. This is not directly connected with Tbilisi's right to file such suits but with pro-Georgian position of some Western countries.
There is an impression that Saakashvili regime is openly raiding in order to have at least something from Russian. It is evident that Georgian authorities are unable to fight hyperinflation, loss of investment attractiveness and consequences of various financial experiments of Economy Ministry's current leader. That is why Tbilisi's material claims look like attempts to rehabilitate itself.
This specific case deals more with politics than economy. Malashkhia's speeches can be compared with the yells of some market seller and must be considered as a proposal to Russia to buy out Georgia's recognition of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence. By all appearances, Georgian authorities are uneasy over the rumors that Western countries will soon shake "load-2008" off their shoulders, i.e. responsibility for supporting an openly inadequate regime, and will make Georgia acknowledge Tskhinval's and Sukhum's independence for free.