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What does Russia want from Georgia?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, June 5
In the last 20 years since Georgia's regained independence, Georgian politicians, analysts, and ordinary people keep asking a crucial question: what does Russia want from Georgia?

From the very beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia became the scapegoat number one. Almost immediately, Russia launched a wickedly masterminded plan for undermining Georgia’s subtle sovereignty.

It triggered time-bombs– the autonomous entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which would claim their own independence from Georgia.

Georgian politicians and journalists kept asking various Russian leaders what exactly they wanted from Georgia. The answer to this question was more or less Russia’s demand that Georgia maintain its neutrality. That required that Georgia give up its claims for integration with Euro/Atlantic structures.

As a matter of fact, Georgia applied to join NATO only after Russia began its creeping annexation of Georgian breakaway territories. Naturally, Georgia then sought out the security of NATO to protect its sovereignty against Russia's subversive policy.

Although Georgia’s new leadership has begun to try and improve Georgia's relations with Russia, it looks like Moscow is still unhappy with Tbilisi's foreign policy.

There are some politicians in Georgia who reflect a clear pro-Russian sympathy. One such person is leader of Free Georgia, Kakha Kukava, who has been promoting the idea of warming Georgian-Russian relations and contributed a lot to the issue of returning Georgian agricultural products, in particular wines and mineral waters, to the Russian market.

Currently, Kukava criticizes Georgia’s foreign policy, and highlights that there is no high-level official negotiations that have been conducted between the states so far, calling the Abashidze-Karasin meetings simply “flirting.”

According to Kukava, the current Georgian government has not taken any substantive steps in Russia’s direction, and has also spoiled relations with the West.

Vladimer Khomeriki claims that he represents Russian President Vladimir Putin and gives advice to the new Georgian leadership. According to Khomeriki, Georgia has to restore diplomatic relations with Russia, stop speculating over the Russian occupation of the Georgian breakaway regions, separate from the US, and become a neutral state. This, Khomeriki believes, will provide Georgia an opportunity to cooperate with all countries and have no enemies.

However, this position leaves many questions open. First of all, it should be admitted once again that Georgia has broken its diplomatic relations with Russia because the latter launched a military attack against Georgia and occupied its territories. If Georgia restores diplomatic relations with its northern neighbor and stops mentioning the term “occupation” it would mean that Georgia accepts the so-called “new reality” of losing Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia will thus never get its territories back. Who can ensure that if Georgia takes these steps, all of a sudden Russia will become mild and friendly and return Georgia’s breakaway territories?