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At the crossroads

By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 21
Georgia has a very complicated geopolitical location, which has clearly had a large influence on the country’s historical development. The country is located at the crossroads of two religions – Christian and Muslim; it is squeezed between two continents – Europe and Asia; it is a natural connection between the two seas – the Caspian and the Black and it was one of the paths connecting the north to the south and the east to the west. Georgia has historically always been a satellite country existing throughout most of its history in the orbit of some bigger powers – empires that came and went. There were Persians, Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Turks, Russians invading and controlling Georgia over the centuries. We claim we have had independent statehood for 24 centuries. But here lies a challenge – and historians can sit and calculate how many years in total Georgia has really been independent in the broad meaning of this word, when it has not been dependent on anybody. I bet that the results of such a calculation would be very modest – maybe a hundred years altogether, or maybe a bit more but these years would be dispersed throughout the 24 centuries of Georgia’s statehood. 10 years here, 5 years there, and yet another lot somewhere in the Middle Ages. Alas this is the reality. The rest of the time in its history Georgia as a small country was always attached to the current domineering power in the region. Does it suggest that we should make the very sad conclusion that Georgia cannot do alone, cannot manage its statehood and cannot develop independently? I do not know, let us think together.

Georgia regained its independence for a second time in the 20th century, but is this independence real? Or again is Georgia forced simply to balance between the big forces and empires who fight between each other for the influence in the region. Two main powers which lay claim to dominating the region are Russia and until recently the West. This is not a slip of the tongue – it looks like the West is retreating in front of Russia’s overwhelming pressure on the Caucasus region and Georgia in particular. I do not want to believe that this is the case but it looks like that way. Or maybe it is a very sophisticated masterminded plan by the US current administration to involve Russia in the Caucasus and thus exhaust it. Again, I do not know – it is beyond my understanding. I am just an ordinary Georgian who is concerned about the fate of this tiny country and I do not want my country to be used as a gambling chip during big games.

Many in Georgia currently express their concern, fear and frustration; a feeling of betrayal by the West is growing in the country. More and more often we see and hear such expressions like the front page headline of a leading newspaper on May 20, 'America Swapped South Caucasus for Iran with Russia'. The majority of the Georgian population still believes and hopes that the West is the right choice for the country. In fact it is exactly these feelings and the expression of such sentiments that outrages our northern neighbour, which since the 1990s has been exercising great pressure on Georgia, reaching its culmination in August 2008 with its military attack against our country.

Let us not be blind, let us think in a broader way. An attack on Georgia is an attack on democracy, western values and free economy. Let us not turn blind eye to this and let’s not try to apportion blame on the clumsy ways of Georgian leadership who got trapped. Let us acknowledge that Russia wanted this war, provoked this war and won this war. Let us wake up before it is too late.