The Georgian army? Maybe, Chechen guerrillas?
The Georgian parliament started a debate regarding the future of the relations between Russia and Georgia after the bombing of August 23, 2002. Nevertheless, it is not known if the bombing took place or not. Russia says it didn't; Georgia says it did.
The wild discussion in the Georgian parliament could create very serious problems for Moscow. Someone suggested pulling out from the Commonwealth of Independent States and for Russia to withdraw from its military bases in Georgia. It was even suggested that Georgia should put an end to diplomatic relations with Russia; to withdraw the Georgian ambassador from Moscow.
Luckily, Georgian deputies struck out the paragraph concerning the breaking of diplomatic relations. Other paragraphs remained valid. We have to mention here that the opinions of the deputies differed a lot from that of the president, but this is not a surprising thing. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told the deputies that he had already sent his ideas and thoughts to Vladimir Putin. Shevardnadze offered not to hurry things up: “The letter was short, but it was filled with thoughts.” Shevardnadze has not received an answer from Putin yet, but it is likely to follow soon.
The withdrawal of Russian peacemakers from Georgia will disturb the balance of forces in the unstable region. The unrecognized republic of Abkhazia will lose control, as well as the Georgian guerrillas. Everybody will be willing to participate in the turmoil, including Mujahideens. Secondly, if Georgia pulls out from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Georgia will experience serious economic and political consequences. Georgia’s debt to Russia is huge, so the ambitions of local politicians do not really suit the situation. Georgia depends on Russian gas, and if Russia cuts its gas to Georgia, then Shevardnadze will be ruined. Neither Turkey nor America will save him. He definitely realizes this, which is why he suggested not to hurry things up.
However, yielding to Moscow implies damage to the image of Georgia. Something has to be said. Therefore, Shevardnadze released a statement in which he claimed that Georgian anti-aircraft systems would down Russian aircraft. We wonder where these systems are, because Georgia does not have a real army, actually. Maybe they will do it with terrorists’ Stinger missiles?
Furthermore, the Georgian president is playing the game of militarist general and ignorant president. Putin allegedly knew nothing of the bombing. Shevardnadze kills two birds with one stone at that. He splits the presidential milieu and gives an ill presentation of Putin. Shevardnadze stated, “It is hard to imagine that Putin knew of the plans to bomb Georgia, that he approved of the murder of innocent people.”
Well, what will happen next? Russian politicians do not hurry to make their conclusions. Yet, they suggest that the presidents of the two countries meet and discuss everything personally. Let’s see what Putin has to say on the subject.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969