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Tbilisi invents saboteurs and gets scared25.02.2011 | 15:16
Losing all hope to aggravate the situation in Caucasus, Georgia seems to be focusing on a media war. Tbilisi claims that Russia is allegedly training a "Georgian battalion" consisting of ethnic Georgians. As the republic's mass media report, these people will organize all kinds of sabotage acts in the region. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the myths disseminated by the Georgian side with Konstantin Sivkov, a well-known politologist.
The sensational news about a fearsome battalion was presented by leader of the Non-party Movement Mamuka Gvadzabia who refers to his "friends from North Caucasus". "Moscow seems to be taking very dangerous steps with new armed units subject to Russia's ministry of defense being formed in North Caucasus", - Gvadzabia says adding that representatives of specific ethnic communities, mainly Georgians, are being "recruited".
The central idea of the "Russian plan" is this: the Georgian battalion forces out armed gangs from North Caucasus to the territory of Georgia and moves deeper into the country in pursuit of Islamists. According to Gvadzabia, Tbilisi must take adequate measures, primarily to increase control of the republic's state borders.
Well, Georgia is second to none for its ability to attract attention. The problem is that Sakartvelo's PR-campaigns contradict each other. As we know, in October 2010 Georgia introduced a visa-free regime for residents of North Caucasian republics. Borders are open for Russian citizens from Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Circassia and Adygeya.
Not long ago Mikheil Saakashvili stated that granting citizens of North Caucasian republics the right to enter Georgia without visas has considerably improved the attitude of regional population to the republic of Georgia. According to his information, after cancellation of visa regime 40,000 residents of North Caucasian republics have taken this opportunity of coming to Georgia. Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze chimed in adding that "the decision of Georgian authorities has nothing to do with propaganda or provocation. This is a deliberate move that will serve the vital interests of residents of the North Caucasian republics". - he said.
Under present circumstances Georgia's borders with North Caucasus must be closed because of a new "Russian threat", right? Where is your logic, dear PR-men? Or is it Tbilisi's desire to recoup itself for the scandal one year and a half ago? Then, the world's media reported on active preparations for sabotage acts in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia taking place in Vasiani training field of Georgia. It was also mentioned that Georgia's special services planned to discredit Russia's military contingent in Transcaucasian republics thus undermining stability in Caucasus. For this purpose, as media wrote, sets of uniform of Russian, South Ossetian and Abkhaz armies as well as of Russia's FSS border service were brought to the Georgian military base. The special operations soldiers did ordinary battle training and had Russian language lessons to speak flawless Russian.
At that point in time no provocations took place on the borders between the republics. Either Tbilisi's insidious schemes were revealed or Georgian strategists simply had nothing going on. Anyway, today's pseudo-sensation looks like a mirror image of that notorious story.
Yet, there is another option. What if a series of terrorist attacks will take place in Georgia like in autumn 2010? Then it will be clear whom Sakartvelo's security structures will suspect first - the Georgian battalion allegedly formed in the Russian Federation. Besides, the "battalion" will be made responsible for all near-border incidents like an exploded shell or a shot out of a hunting rifle.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed genuine purposes of Tbilisi's frame-up with Konstantin Sivkov, first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. He thinks that the news about a "Georgian battalion" is a clear-cut provocation. "Today Russia has a lot of problems with Caucasus and its main interest is to reduce the threat of tension in the region", - our interlocutor says. - Besides, Moscow wants Georgia's regime to pursue peaceful policies and maintain stability".
According to Sivkov, Mikheil Saakashvili takes advantage of an external threat against the background of a completely failed economic policy, increase in domestic problems, stronger oppositional resistance on the part of Georgia's political elite and the total military defeat in 2008.