Russia creeping occupation moves forward
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, September 24Russia’s war against Georgia has taken on a very unusual form as of late. Russia's military continues to occupy more and more Georgian land through its placement of barbed wire fencing several hundred meters deep into Georgian territory.
The Georgian government, which has declared regulation of relations with Russia as its major foreign policy priority, has asked the international community to react. Although European and American officials have expressed their “deep concern” about Russia's illegal behavior, this of course does not stop them from imposing their will on Georgia's territories.
We are far from being naive by expecting the international community to take radical steps in response, but some serious measures are needed to stop Moscow. Day after day, Russian soldiers continue their subversive activities moving the border forward and cutting deeper into sovereign Georgian land.
In certain cases, the Russians occupy agricultural lands, pastures, fruit gardens, irrigation systems and the like. Over the last couple of months, Russia has occupied about ten hectares of additional land in this manner. In some cases, local residents have already become the citizens of the “new state” and lost their homeland. They have the choice to cope with this situation, or abandon their houses and become IDPs in Georgia.
The Georgian leadership is in a very difficult situation indeed. The government reiterates that it must not get trapped by Russian provocation and asks the international community take measures to mitigate the situation. On the other hand, the Georgian leadership is losing popular support, as the people are frustrated with this situation. Yet, very little can be done at this point in time.
The US Embassy on behalf of the US Department of State expresses its concern and has asked Russia to halt its activities. The representatives of the EU member countries share the same position.
The opposition is using this fact to criticize the government’s position, calling it passive. So what is the catalyst that motivates such behavior by Russia? First, it is to prove to Georgia and the rest of the world that Russia is the boss in the Caucasus region and that nobody is going to move a finger against Russia. Secondly, it could be yet another warning to Georgia to affect Georgia’s ambitions to join NATO. Next, it looks like Russia wants to involve Georgia in the senseless dispute around the borders between the two entities, so that instead of the topic of de-occupation, Georgia will become busy with fixing the borders.
Once again, Georgia has to exercise strategic tolerance.