Mishiko to draw a bead on Abkhazia31.05.2011 | 17:15
A number of questions about the future of the republic emerged upon the untimely death of Abkhaz president Sergey Bagapsh. There are assumptions that the Georgian leaders will try to take advantage of the situation to destabilize the country. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed possible provocations of Tbilisi and Sukhum's policies after the death of the leader with Vadim Gustov, chair of the committee for CIS affairs of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.
Abkhazia lost its symbol, not just an influential statesman. Some worshipped him, others hated. But it was impossible not to acknowledge Sergey Bagapsh's leadership in Abkhazia's politics. Even those in Tbilisi who ascribed humiliating titles like "de-facto leader", "the so-called head of Sukhum regime" etc to him realized that refusing to accept him as the president of Abkhazia.
However, this situation has a reverse side: bringing one person into the spotlight led to complete emptiness in the political field of Abkhazia after his death. The republic basically has no one to be recognized as a real presidential candidate. Over three months before the presidential election, it is unlikely that the situation will change drastically. Unless something extraordinary happens. Considering aggressiveness of Georgia's current leaders, such developments are possible.
Official Tbilisi has always reiterated that Abkhazia is considered part of Georgia. There has always been readiness to use any methods to bring it back under Georgian sovereignty: remember Mikheil Saakashvili's bellicose statement that he will celebrate the next new year in Sukhum. It's quite possible that Georgia will try to join in the struggle for power the country will face after Bagapsh's death. Hardly will Georgia find support in the republic though. As Vadim Gustov, member of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation emphasized, the key direction of Abkhazia's foreign policy will be Russia as an orientation point. "Certainly the situation is complicated. Nobody expected such a bright leader to leave so unexpectedly. Anyway, there are no serious grounds to change the line of policy the country leaders chose. Today nobody can imagine Abkhazia refusing to interact with Russia. Only the Russian vector gives it a chance to build economy and industry quickly and efficiently. All sectors are oriented on Russia. (As well as Georgian sectors too). Main markets of Georgia are not meant for Turkey, Iran or Iraq", - Gustov emphasized.
According to the expert, a lot can be done for gradual settlement of relations between Abkhazia and Georgia. It is mandatory to have Tbilisi's good will and no more insults on Sukhum. "Constructive proposals are needed, and there are none", - or interlocutor remarked.
According to him, any attempts of the Georgian leaders to intervene in Abkhazia will be rejected as long as Mikheil Saakashvili remains president. "There was a lot of bloodshed at the time of Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict initiated by Shevarnadze. Georgia's current president waves a knife, makes aggressive statements and builds up a 30,000 army that such a small country does not need. What does he do it for? It's highly unlikely that Georgian armed forces will turn against Armenia or Azerbaijan. Apparently, he will try to use force to bring the breakaway territories back. Everything is done to prepare a small military junta. However, Georgian people will not tolerate that for a long time", - Gustov thinks.
The senator of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation is sure that any aggressive intentions of Saakashvili regime will not come out. "Russia has set priorities of its policies in the region, and Moscow, Sukhum as well as Tskhinval recognize this situation. Even representatives of the world community do. Russian-Abkhaz relations will only get better: we have Sochi Olympics coming soon", - he added.