Pankisi too precious for Shevardnadze to give it up
Last night, Georgia delivered five terrorists to Russia; the people were among the 13 ones captured on the Russia-Georgia border in the night on August 4. This was reported by the head of the international legal department in Georgia prosecutor’s office, Paata Mskhiladze, but allowed no more comments at that. The 13 armed Chechens are accused “of unauthorized crossing the Georgian state border, illegal storage and bearing of weapons.” The incident was investigated by Georgia’s Ministry for State Security. Russia has been demanding that the criminals should be delivered since August, as it has evidences of crimes committed by the people on the Russian territory.
The Russian side on its turn denies the information. A source in the Russian law enforcement authority informed on Thursday, Georgia hadn’t delivered the five Chechen militants to Russia yet. As of 9:15 a.m. today, the extradition hasn’t started yet. The source says it is connected with protests among the Chechen diaspora. Russian Office of General Prosecutor doesn’t confirm the extradition either.
It is significant that Georgia seldom meets Russia’s wishes concerning the terrorist problem. There have been just few extraditions of terrorists from Georgia to Russia. This usually happened only when Shevardnadze felt he might lose his post. That is why, with a view to please the Kremlin, Shevardnadze decided to give up some terrorists, who were traditionally small fries only. We don’t remember an occasion when Georgia extradited some significant persons. Not to mention Ruslan Gelayev, who is treated as an untouchable person.
As long as Gelayev controls the situation in Pankisi Gorge, Shevardnadze, his family and other people close to him, feel in freedom. They receive great profits from traffic of drugs, weapons and trafficking of human beings, which they will hardly give up.
If the information about delivery of the terrorists is confirmed, it means that Shevardnadze’s position is unsteady once again and he resorts to his habitual trick: carries out an operation whish is to bring no results. What is more important for the Georgian president in this case is much noise about the operation itself. And when it’s over, Georgia will once again make eyes at Europe and the USA and ask for help, otherwise, they say Russia will bomb Georgia. And Georgia would better like the NATO contingent to be introduced in the country instead of the Russian one.