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Russian foreign policy towards Georgia has not improved

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 22
Georgia has recently acted upon the recommendations of its Western allies and made attempts to "normalize" relations with Russia. However, Moscow's behavior towards Georgia remains unchanged and relations between the two countries are as distant as ever.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has outlined the country’s foreign policy in a short document published recently. Paragraph 4 covers Russia’s regional priorities. One of these priorities is to develop Abkhazia and South Ossetia into "democratic" countries and by doing so facilitate international recognition of their "independence". The same paragraph also mentions that Russia wishes to improve the socio-economic conditions of both statelets. In paragraph 52 the Foreign Ministry states unequivocally that Russia is interested in cooperation with Georgia only if Georgia recognizes the political reality in the Caucasus.

To cut it short, the Kremlin expects that Tbilisi will accept the fact that it has lost Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Of course, while Vladimer Putin and Dmitry Medvedev remain Russia's leaders no other option could be expected.

Meanwhile, Georgia has responded critically towards Moscow’s position. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze stated that nobody has any illusions that normalization of relations between the two countries would be easy. Nobody expects to achieve this in a short period of time, however Georgian officials are actively working on the issue, she promised.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security Irakli Sesiashvili also reiterated Georgia’s position. He said recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states is against international law and this is a reality which Russia cannot escape from. These are Georgian territories occupied by Russia, he stressed.

The oppositional United National Movement (UNM) meanwhile claims that normalizing Georgian–Russian relations is impossible. UNM MP Giorgi Kandelaki said this is because Russian policy is fundamentally directed against Georgian statehood .

Everyone across the Georgian political spectrum is upset by Moscow’s inflexible rhetoric. The ruling Georgian Dream coalition remains optimistic about improving relations with the country's northern neighbor despite the difficulties. They are convinced that they can persuade Russia to de-occupy the two breakaway regions without having to making permanent concessions to Moscow.