Finally, the first reaction of Russia’s politicians to the US intention to station its troops in Georgia was voiced yesterday. Head of the parliamentary commission for international affairs Dmitry Rogozin said today that the parliament is likely to consider recognition of Abkhazia’s independence. This is connected with the arrival of the US military specialists to Georgia. In Rogozin’s words, the information about the troops’ arrival “has caused the indignation of Moscow and regional deputies, who ask for an extraordinary session of the committee for international affairs with the participation of governmental representatives.”
“If US troops are coming to Georgia on the government’s invitation, without contacting the Russian government, the parliament will certainly consider the recognition of Abkhazia’s independence," Dmitry Rogozin said.
Abkhazian Prime Minister Anri Dzhergenia made an official statement today: if the US presence in Georgia grows, Sukhumi will appeal to Russia for the establishment of associate relations.
The Georgian side tried to reduce the tension. Georgian Ambassador to Russia Zurab Abashidze said that Georgia together with the Russian Security Council have developed a joint plan for the establishment of order and the organization of police activities in the Pankissky Gorge. Georgia and Russian specialists will transport Chechen refugees from the gorge. “As soon as we get the first results, we will consider further actions as well, and anti-terrorist operations are probable. Over past years, the defense ministries of Georgia and the USA have been cooperating with defense. The military program provides for assistance to Georgia’s armed forces. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the work has been oriented mostly on Georgia's anti-terrorist struggle. The USA helped with the establishment of an anti-terrorist center in Georgia. On the whole, we cooperate with those countries that are eager to assist. However, there are no joint operations or other special operations on the agenda yet.”
There are different opinions in Georgia. Some Georgian politicians would like to cooperate with the USA, and this nice perspective caused them to make rather harsh statements concerning Russia. Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili stated that Russia’s reaction to the US troops’ arrival to Georgia is “ hysterical propaganda”. In his address to the Georgian parliament, he said that Russia would not be allowed to interfere with the internal life of the country. The minister thinks that such hysterical propaganda is inadmissible.
However, it is clear that the USA never does anything without a particular reason. As soon as US troops enter Georgia, the country should forget about freedom once and for all. The political map of the Caucasus might be altered by the further development of the events. This pro-American line may ruin Shevardnadze’s regime. Now, the Tbilisi authorities have lost control over Abkhazia, South Osetia, and the Pankissky and Kodorsky gorges. The USA will probably break Georgia up into several hostile parts with NATO-controlled borders. If the situation becomes more strained, which is quite probable, Abkhazia and South Osetia will strive for membership in the Russian Federation. The USA will accept this breakup of Georgia, as the two hot spots will then be liquidated. This paradoxical situation will mean Georgia’s breakup, and it will not result in the independence that Georgians are dreaming of.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/28/37665.html