Eduard Shevardnadze, the president of the republic of Georgia, is set to further exacerbate his relations with Moscow. Today, he repeatedly accused Russia of destabilizing the situation in the Caucasian region. In Mr. Shevardnadze’s words, some prominent Russian politicians and officials take the liberty to speak out insultingly of Georgia, of its internal and external policies and its leadership. Also the Georgian leader reiterated what he had earlier said of Chechen rebel commander Ruslan Gelayev, who together with a group of other rebels managed to break out from the encirclement and supposedly get to the Pankissi Gorge in Georgia (the gorge has become a hideaway for Chechen guerrillas). Mr. Shevardnadze also said the other day that Mr. Galayev was well-educated and sober man and that there were no data in Georgia of Mr. Galayev’s engagement in terrorist activities. Having made such a statement, Mr. Shevardnadze, mildly speaking, is going too far. His statement has not remained unanswered not only in Moscow, but also in the USA. US President George Bush’s words, uttered from the UN podium that “all countries sheltering terrorists, should be punished,” apply to Georgia, too. Those were not only George Bush’s words, it is the UN experts’ opinion. The US experts think Mr. Bush expressed the overall view when he said that there were “no bad or good terrorists.” This formula might as well apply to the situation with Ruslan Gelayev, one of the leading Chechen rebel commanders. After that, Mr. Shevardnadze will hardly like Moscow’s toughness. Georgia’s president also should not forget that he will hardly remain sitting in his presidential chair without Moscow’s political and economic support. Especially as concerns energy supplies, and the the Abkhazian conflict.
Dmitri Litvinovich PRAVDARu
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/11/12/33730.html