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Russia irritated by the idea of Caucasus peoples’ unity

Wednesday, September 24
On September 20 Tbilisi hosted the launch of a political organization called the Congress of Caucasus Peoples. Its aim is to unite the various peoples of the Caucasus against Russia’s Imperialistic claims.

This event was not advertised much in the Georgian media but created a hysterical reaction in Russia. Clearly the peoples of the Caucasus standing up to Russia is a very sensitive topic for Moscow. Russian commentators are insisting that the Caucasus peoples will not confront Russia. But how do they know?

A political party called Our Country, and its leader Tamaz Ghughunishvili, established the Congress. Delegates from Chechnya, Ingushetia, Abkhazia and Ossetia and several Georgian politicians attended the meeting. Ghughunishvili stated that the Caucasus peoples should unite against the Russian Empire and “from the Caucasus, and in particular Georgia, the process of the dissolution of the rotten Russian Empire will start.’’

Moscow’s reaction was immediate. The Regnum agency commented that “Georgia wants to unite the Caucasus against Russia.” It aired the opinion of Azeri analyst Toghrul Sopiev, who mocked the idea and stated that if any minority ethnic regions dared to join the Congress they would have problems with the law enforcement bodies. However Caucasus unity means, as we understand it, consolidation against Russia, not Azerbaijan, which is itself part of the Caucasus.

Regnum published other quotations from the North Caucasus to support its position. The Chairman of the Ossetian Cultural Centre in Kabardino- Bulkaria Ramzan Sutkoev, and the Leader of Kabardino organization Adige Khase, Muhammed Hapitse, pronounced oaths of friendship, loyalty and devotion to Moscow. They were unanimous, as in the “good old Communist times,” in their condemnation of Georgia and praise of Russia. Their expressions of eternal partnership were so hysterical that there were clearly false notes in them.

Moscow has always been jealous of Tbilisi as it has generally been considered the centre of the Caucasus. Russia has always tried to diminish Tbilisi’s significance, undermine and humiliate it. The Kremlin has also been determined to set the people of the North Caucasus against their Georgian brethren, and recently was quite successful at doing it. Divide and Rule has always been the Moscow policy.

Some Georgian analysts criticize this country’s leadership for not having a consistent and clear strategy towards its North Caucasus neighbours, but perhaps Tbilisi did not previously adopt one because it was trying to avoid upsetting the Kremlin. Now Moscow has stripped itself of any veneer of civilized conduct and showed its true aggressive nature to the world the time has come for Georgia to respond accordingly.

At the first session of the new Congress regret was expressed that there had been no unity between the Caucasus peoples so far. “If the genocide of the Chechen people by Russia had been recognized Russia would not have invaded Georgia,” said delegates. The time has now come to act jointly against Russia. As in Ecclesiastes 3:5, there is “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together” – now is the time for the latter.