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Abkhazia and S. Ossetia will not participate at Sochi games

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 26
Georgia’s special envoy in relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, recently stated that the break-away regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not participate in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

Georgia supported holding the winter Olympic Games in the Russian town of Sochi. Georgian officials thought that such support would facilitate the improvement of relations between the two countries. However, Russia started a war with Georgia in August 2008, which ended in the occupation of Georgian territories and the establishment of two marionette regimes.

After that arrogant and aggressive move, the Georgian government announced a boycott to the Sochi Olympic Games. Moreover, the Georgian parliament recognized the genocide of the Circassian people in the 19th century, as the Circassian population lived in the territories where the Sochi Olympic Games will take place.

So, this was the situation until the October 2012 parliamentary elections in Georgia. After the victory of the Georgian Dream coalition headed by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian leadership reevaluated its decision and for the sake of improving the relations with Russia, announced its decision regarding participating in the Sochi Olympic Games. The argument was that politics and sports should be separate. Besides, boycotting the Sochi games would only hurt the Georgian athletes who have a chance to perform on the international stage.

It should be mentioned that this decision is not popular among the Georgian population. The majority still support the idea of boycotting the Olympics. The precondition for these skeptics is that Russia should behave in an appropriate way and take positive steps towards Georgia. Many also remember that when Georgia endorsed Russia’s membership in the WTO, Georgia received no benefits in return.

Recently, Russia took an additional unfriendly step. In a document released online, Russia named Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent participants of the upcoming Olympic Games. Of course, no such countries exist according to international law; these are only virtual entities invented, supported and led by the Russian Federation. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not recognize them as independent states. Therefore, neither of these two would be accepted to the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The Georgian Olympic Committee has applied to the IOC for this case and as a result, the issue has been settled. Zurab Abashidze made a statement stressing that this is impossible even theoretically.

However, by knowing Russia’s aggressive and unpredictable attitude towards Georgia, it is not excluded that at the last moment, Moscow might suggest some “surprise” for Georgia. So the Georgian government will have to call back its delegation. This will take place when Ivanishvili will resign form politics. It will become a headache for the next Prime Minister.