John Bass leaves, but the control is left?22.02.2012 | 18:24
The United States is changing its ambassador to Georgia. In the summer, John Bass's mandate in Tbilisi expires. The U.S. leader Barack Obama has already submitted to the Senate a candidacy of a new head of the diplomatic mission in the country - Richard Norland. According to his biography, the diplomat is well familiar with the countries of post-Soviet space.
According to the Georgian political analysts, the appointment of such an experienced diplomat as Richard Norland indicates the seriousness of the United States attitude towards Tbilisi.
What does the change of the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia mean from a political point of view? Is it just a rotation, or soon the rearrangements in the embassy will be followed by political change? GTimes correspondent spoke about this with Felix Stanevsky, former Russian ambassador in Tbilisi. He is well familiar with the specifics of the work of diplomats in the Caucasian republic like no one else.
- While we can only guess. We should not wait any surprises if the change of the ambassador is carried out in accordance with the usual staff changes and permutations. But there exist a symbolic change of the ambassador. I can't say exactly what would be the current change of the ambassador in Tbilisi.
- How influential the U.S. Ambassador in Georgia is? Does he have an incontestable authority?
- I have no doubt that the U.S. ambassador in Georgia is the first person for consultation with Mikhail Saakashvili. This is the man who is has the greatest influence on the policy of Tbilisi. And I would not say that this influence is limited only by the foreign policy. I remember the main U.S. complaints against Shevardnadze's foreign policy issues, which the President of Georgia resolved skillfully or ineptly from their point of view. And now the United States is the main guideline for the current Georgian leadership. Therefore, the regime in Tbilisi is considering every word that comes from the U.S. Embassy, and acts accordingly.
- The Americans have repeatedly stated that the upcoming elections in Georgia are a test of democracy, and that Saakashvili should legally transfer power. Will the Georgian president fulfil these requirements?
- Unfortunately, the U.S. and its allies are very selfishly considering the issue of which country is democracy, and which - not. If they need, they declare democracy anywhere. For example, they are now saying that Iraq is a democratic regime, though it is not true. However, they do not consider Abkhazia to be democracy, which is far more democratic than Georgia. By the way, in Abkhazia, the traditionы of democracy have been firmly established historically. Yes, there are some difficulties and obstacles, the republic is very young. In Georgia, we can say with certainty, there is an authoritarian regime. Nevertheless, the United States consider it a beacon of democracy, and Abkhazia - not. So it all depends on what Washington needs in terms of their geostrategic interests.
Speaking of the upcoming elections in Georgia, in my opinion, the U.S. would not interfere with those maneuvers in Tbilisi in connection with the ballot. We can tell in advance that Washington would recognize these elections democratic, and nothing here depends on what will actually be.
- The U.S. presidential election are also not far off. What can we expect after the current shift of power in Washington, if it happens?
- If the people, inclined more anti-Russian than Obama, come to power in the U.S, we can expect major changes in the direction of more active use of Georgia in Washington's interests. Now Tbilisi is acting as a pugnacious bully in the Caucasus. This is information base of the U.S. policy in the South Caucasus, a country, where the pulses in relation of the North Caucasus, negative for Russia, come from. Sometimes Georgia acts as an initiator of the isolation of the peoples of the Caucasus, trying to embroil the federal center and the republics. For example, the recognition of a non-existent genocide of the Circassian people. All of this is Georgia's propaganda against Russia, trying to imagine it as the evil empire. And all of this may get worse.