Lukashenko's call to Georgia: Self-affirmation and genuflection14.12.2012 | 17:24
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is ready to kneel, asking Georgia to return to the CIS. He stated this in Minsk on December 11, at the Forum of European and Asian Media during a meeting with members of the Club of Chief Editors of the CIS countries, the Baltic States and Georgia. Emotional outburst of Belarusian leader has impressed neither Georgia nor Russia.
"We chair the CIS from the 1st of January, se we are waiting for you (Georgia). I will come to you and kneel in front of you, just not in public. Well, if you want, for the sake of such an event I'll kneel in public, and I will ask you to return to the CIS", said Lukashenko.
The reaction of Tbilisi was expected. "We are very grateful to President Lukashenko for his position on the non-recognition of Georgia's occupied territories, but, unfortunately, we cannot accept his invitation to return to the CIS, since Georgia has already chosen its foreign policy course", said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maya Panjikidze.
Belarusian president's statement has caused perplexity among the Russian analysts. Expert on the issues of the former Soviet Union states and the first citizen of the Russian Federation who has become persona non grata in the Republic of Belarus, the political scientist Andrew Suzdaltsev calls Lukashenko's statement vacuous. "Lukashenko is not very competent in international relations. Unfortunately, he has not really understood some things, and, apparently, it's very hard to explain him something", Suzdaltsev said in an interview to the Big Caucasus. "Lukashenko for some reason believes that Russia is a state burdened by a desire to necessarily integrate someone, include in its membership. He is thinking in the spirit of the imperial paradigm. He declares that the Russians are greatly willing to return Georgia into the CIS, without understanding our position on this issue. And our position here is completely different, because in gact we do not need Georgia. Russia has no special interests there".
According to the expert, Lukashenko wants to show his importance in the post-Soviet geopolitics. "He was trying to establish himself in Central Asia, and now wants to be associated to the South Caucasus. It's not very cleverly. To have influence in this difficult area you must have enormous international prestige and influence, which is not characteristically for Lukashenko. He also does not understand the parties' positions. And the situation here is very serious. I think in the near future dialogue between Moscow and Tbilisi will not take place", Suzdaltsev sums up.
Deputy Director of the Center of Ukrainian and Belorussian studies, Moscow State University, political analyst Bogdan Bezpalko also believes that the initiative of the President of Belarus - this is just a PR campaign. "Through this Lukashenko is trying to show the Belarusians his ability to lead effective foreign policy in the post-Soviet space", political scientist said in an interview to the Big Caucasus. "He is demonstrating Russian elites his efforts aimed at resuming Russian influence in Georgia - say, we have not recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, we have betrayed you, but now we are strongly promoting the establishment of integration processes. This is a strange PR step for the President of a European country given the modern technology. And from an emotional point of view, it looks ridiculous. It is difficult to imagine Lukashenko on his knees.
Experts link shocking statement to the style of behavior of the Belarusian leader. However, he specified that, for all his emotionality, his past statements were more reasonable. "I do not think any of the parties is interested in the return of Georgia. And Lukashenko himself is certainly not counting on the fact that Georgia will join the CIS thanks to his appeal. Georgia won't return to the CIS now, after in 2008, after it was restructured as a political entity - both geographically and in all other respects. Moreover, the CIS is not much interested in Georgia. In terms of the integration processes in the post-Soviet Ukraine and Belarus look more attractive", said Bezpalko.