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Possibility of repeated Russian aggression

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 15
With the protest rallies underway Russian occupation forces have started reinforcing their positions on Georgian territory and in the border areas. Russian Black Sea warships are sailing near Georgian territorial waters in full combat readiness. The notorious Russian 58th Army, which started the August war against Georgia, is being supplemented by other units including Pscov division representatives.

Georgian state officials continually disseminate information about a possible repeat attack by the Russian war machine. They speculate that any kind of internal unrest could be used by the Kremlin for its own purposes. Domestic conflict in Georgia would justify its ‘support’ of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, by showing the world what an unstable country they are seeking to leave, and thus increase the threat of yet more aggression, the authorities say. Russia has already crossed the red line. It has crossed the border of a sovereign state and if it feels that nobody is going to stop it, either in European structures or the Euro-Atlantic alliance, it might do this again.

There is a certain logic in such estimations, but they do not take into account one thing. There is a clear and demonstrable link between the conduct of the Saakashvili administration and Russian actions. Russian politicians and analysts and the separatist leaders are almost unanimous in highlighting the Saakashvili administration’s role in their achievement of their goal - recognition of the independence of the breakaway territories by Russia. The Abkhaz so-called Foreign Minister Sergey Shamba has said that his most beloved Georgian is Saakashvili, who gave such a present to the Abkhaz.

Many Georgian opposition leaders say that the August war was beneficial for Russia and its puppet regimes, and Saakashvili voluntarily or involuntarily gave them this benefit. Let’s not doubt who started the war, obviously it was Russia. But the Georgian authorities got trapped and the result was disastrous. Therefore opposition logic dictates it is in the best interests of Russia for the Saakashvili administration to remain in power in Georgia. Russia refuses to have a dialogue with Saakashvili, he has lost the confidence of the majority of the Georgian population and he is unpredictable, and thus can commit any type of further error which could prolong the Russian occupation, the opposition says. Consequently it concludes that all the moves made by Moscow are designed to prolong the Saakashvili regime in Georgia.

The protest rallies which began on April 9 are more or less under control but if they last longer and spread around the country they might become uncontrollable and the tension might increase. This could create chaos and a further deterioration of both the political and economic situation in the country. One does not need to be an expert to assume that if events continue developing in an unconstructive, or even worse an unconstitutional way, Russia will benefit most of all. Political analyst Archil Gegeshidze suggests that if things get worse the West will become frustrated with Georgia and stop caring about it, leaving Russia to take advantage of this by destroying Georgia’s sovereignty, splitting the country into smaller bits, installing puppet regimes in each one and subordinating them to Moscow’s rule.

Both sides, authorities and opposition, are using the Russian threat to manipulate public opinion for their advantage. There are other opinions on this question too. Military analyst Kakha Katsitadze for instance excludes a Russian attack. Giorgi Melitauri suggests that if Russia decided to launch another attack this would provoke Saakashvili to act aggressively. Irakli Aladashvili also suggests that there is no threat of war unless we ourselves give the enemy a reason to start it. From his hiding place in Russia Tengiz Kitovani, former Defence Minister and then leader of the Coup d’Etat against first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, suggests that Saakashvili will provoke Russian forces to enter Georgia in order to ensure that he will not remain President but will remain in politics. He will say that he was forced to leave the country by the Russian forces and declare himself to be an exile leader who has been prevented from fulfilling this mandate. Kakha Gogolashvili suggests that Russia is supporting the process of destabilization to provoke new problems for Georgia.

Whatever people think about the current situation, one thing is clear: destabilization is against Georgia’s interests. The source of the destabilization should be identified as soon as possible and eliminated, if any of the sides really cares for the country.