Political bribe in Russia -Nauruan Dollar Diplomacy
03 February, 2011

Exclusive comments by Nauru citizens on Abkhazian and S. Ossetian independence

August, 2008 - a war breaks out in so called South Ossetia, Georgia. Nino Elauri’s mother runs from the village on foot under the rainfall of bombs. Nino’s father is captured because his son is a soldier, defending his country. Nino Elauri is 20 years old.

 

A year later in 2009 she is homeless, living in a building of gymnasium; her father dies from injuries - the result of the torture he underwent during his captivity the previous year. Along with Nino, nearly 160, 000 people have been thrown out from their homes throughout Georgia. 362 people are dead. Dozens upon dozens are still missing.
Shunt in time to December 15, 2009; a fragile time for the smallest independent country in the world. The Republic of Nauru is desperate. Its most important source of income - phosphates formed from fossilized bird droppings over centuries is almost exhausted. The “Pleasant Island”, as it is known, must find a way to survive the crisis, but Nauru has to pay a price for it. The Russian Gambit unfolds and Nauru is a pawn in the game. Russia pays $50 million for “urgent social-economic projects” and in turn the island recognizes the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries. This offer is provided under the guise of economic aid, but is the largest republic in the world really helping the smallest?
Nauru has 11,000 inhabitants and no official capital city. With $33 million in foreign debt, Nauru relies on imports for nearly everything: from food and water to vehicles, drinks, cigarettes and entertainment systems. Furthermore Nauru has absolutely no defense structure. Since the 19th century when the population was merely 1,500 after an influenza epidemic, public policy for the tiny island nation has been “populate or perish”. Due to economic conditions each Nauruan supports ten people with his wages. The Pacific Island, which was one of the richest in the world, is today a tiny republic facing an uncertain future. The president and the head of the government, Marcus Stephen with an 18-man parliament resorts to accepting Russia’s “dollar diplomacy”, which is the promotion of Russia’s political or commercial interests abroad by using financial resources. This time Nauru puts price on the recognition of a state—12,700 km away and Russia is its new “sponsor”.
Nauru’s dollar diplomats began their work in 2002 when Nauru received $130 million in aid from China to de-recognize Taiwan. However, in 2005 in exchange for more aid from Taiwan, the “pleasant island” pleased Taiwan with its re-recognition. Between 2002 and 2009, the price of Nauruan recognition fell from $130 to $50 million. Apparently, the more often Nauru performs “recognition-for-sale” politics, the more its recognition value decreases. The question is: do these actions mean that not only the “recognition value” is decreasing, but also the invaluable and irretrievable national integrity of Nauru is also being devalued?
Still, despite the crisis, despite the entire government policy, the diplomatic games and the financial politics, the life of an average Nauruan has not changed. The Nauruan mother still goes to the Christian Protestant church in the morning, while her husband is already out fishing or selling straw hats and ornaments made of shell. Jake Ageidu, a Nauruan says: “Women mostly stay at home and prepare food and clean the house until their family comes back home”. But Barrick Harris, a student, explains:”It depends on the woman. If she chooses to stay at home to watch over the kids and the house at home and be a normal housewife, that’s entirely her choice, but if she finds that she has potential to work at an office or other jobs, then she may seek for jobs matching her qualifications”.  However, there are no women in Nauru politics. Some Nauruan women teach at school. Ninety percent of children attend school every day; the primary education is both free and compulsory. After school an average Nauruan child goes to the only pitch in Nauru to play soccer or Australian Football, which is very popular with the small island nation. Students say that another interest for Nauruan children is weightlifting, as they are inspired by President Marcus Stephen, whose seven gold and five silver medals in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games, are an issue of pride for the nation of Nauru. According to the survey of Nauru Bureau of Statistics, the average Nauruan drinks rainwater along with 90 percent of his fellow citizens. The population listens to the Australian radio channel FM 105.1. As 21 year-old George Quadina says: “Men usually work for government office and other departments like phosphate labor”. An average Nauruan father comes home in the evening, reads the popular fortnightly newspaper the “Bulletin” to get information about national and international news. He, like most on the islanders, watches Nauru Television ( NTV).
But is an average Nauruan really interested in politics—in the foreign policy of his republic, which affects other country’s territorial integrity? According to Octavian Harris, a Nauruan student, the average Nauruan should be interested in this, “Because the politics will determine how our country will run and how it further improves or deteriorates”.
After the recognition-in-cash of 2009, some things did change in Nauru. As Barrick Harris, a Nauruan student says: “It is not a profit (for each Nauruan), but it is “stored” to be fortnightly salaries for people who are working for the government; also quite a significant amount of that money has been invested in renovating hospitals and schools and even in building the new ones”. Nauruans see all the unusual changes in their republic, but they can barely connect this to the fact that this is a political bribe in Russia-Nauruan Dollar Diplomacy. According to one source close to the Nauruan government who has requested to remain anonymous, only 20 percent of the island’s population is likely to know about the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by their country’s government. While another source, close to a member of Nauruan Parliament, who also prefers to be anonymous, claims that 1-2 percent of Nauruans are aware that their country has recognized other country’s regions as independent.
The world chess game of countries and their inhabitants goes on and people from the Pleasant Island continue with their pleasant lives, while 350,000 homeless Georgians have the lives that are anything but pleasant, thousands of kilometers away.


 

Other Stories
Gilead uses Georgia as free-drug testbed for hepatitis C elimination
Gilead Sciences is seeking to convince governments and multilateral agencies worldwide that hepatitis C can be eliminated with a demonstration project in Georgia
Georgians ‘in Fashion’ in Ukrainian Reformist Government
Georgians always performed key roles in modern Ukrainian history. Infamous Ioseb “Stalin” Jugashvili aside, we could start with Giorgi Gongadze, a Georgian-born
U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland’s Year at Home Raising His Kids
Almost three decades have elapsed since I wrote this article, yet answers to the challenging question of how to balance family life and career
“Both Formal and Informal Prime Ministers have Robbed this Country of a Historical Chance”- Irakli Alasania
Former Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania is currently preparing for the 2016 elections and pinning a lot of hope on them.
Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia files a resignation request
Georgia’s Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Shavliashvili has addressed the Georgian Prime Minister
Putin Uses the S-300 Missile to Dominate Its Neighbors. Now Iran Can, Too.
Israel isn’t the only country that will be threatened if S-300 missile systems arrive in Iran. The Saudis and Turks had better be worried as well,
Georgia grants refugee or humanitarian status to 95% of asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq
According to Irakli Kokaia, a representative of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons, Resettlement and Refugees, Georgia grants refugee or humanitarian status to 95% of asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq.
Russian Military Drills Grip NATO with Novel Strategy
One year after the Russian seizure of Crimea, a new era of information warfare has begun to unsettle the nuclear balance that had been at a stalemate
Step-By-Step: Guide To Georgia’s European Future
Exclusive: EU Ambassador Herman Looks to a Bright, Better and European Future for Georgia
“The blood of innocent patriots was reflected two years later in the Independence Act” – Georgia’s President
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has paid tribute to the memory of the 9 April victims.
The Man who Caused the Blame Game - Exclusive
Ryan Grist is a former British Army captain, a diplomatic veteran and a man denounced as a Russian spy by former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili becomes a father for the third time
A third child was born to Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgia’s Prime Minister and his wife Nunuka Tamazashvili yesterday, at the Khareba celebration
New official residence at Atoneli street in Tbilisi - View the first photos
Construction of the Residence at Atoneli Street, Tbilisi has been completed.
Consultations with French side successfully continue - Mindia Janelidze
As Georgia’s Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze has declared on the TV program “Maestro’s 9”, consultations with the French side continue and negotiations are successfully underway.
“All cliches aside, Georgia is truly our strategic partner”
Few countries, if any, hold as much strategic importance to Georgia as Turkey. Political, economic, cultural and social ties - Turkey is well represented
IRI posts survey results on political parties
The International Republican Institute (IRI) has posted new survey results on its website.
Ukraine refuses to extradite Mikheil Saakashvili
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office has again refused to extradite former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, - the Prosecutor General's press office reports.
"Georgia’s problems need to be on the international political agenda permanently' – President Margvelashvili
As President Giorgi Margvelashvili has declared while delivering his annual report, Georgia’s problems need to be on the international political agenda
The President did not shake my hand - Zakaria Kutsnashvili
As member of the parliamentary majority Zakaria Kutsnashvili has declared, President Giorgi Margvelashvili did not shake his hand.
Candid photo of Georgian MP in a casino
A photo, that recently spread throughout social networks depicts National Movement member Giorgi Vashadze at casino.
NATO assists Georgia more than others in strengthening its defense capacity - James Appathurai
NATO assists Georgia more than Moldova or Ukraine in strengthening its defense capacity, - NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus
Former Defense Minister Alasania ready to appear on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s talk show
Free Democrats’ leader and former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, recently announced on Imedi TV that he is ready to take part in
Confrontations between PM Gharibashvili and Ex Defense Minister Alasania reach a new level
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili called former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania’s statements "immoral" and added, courageous men should not be busy with speculating about classified cases.
Most of IRI respondents trust Giorgi Margvelashvili and Davit Sergeenko
According to the survey of the International Republican Institute (IRI), President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko enjoy highest confidence among respondents.
National Movement’s Protest at Liberty Square
A protest organized by National Movement is now underway at Freedom Square. The protesters are demanding resignation of the incumbent government.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.2844
EUR
1
EUR
2.4747
GBP
1
GBP
3.4565
RUB
100
RUB
4.4874
Other Stories
Georgian MP Guguli Maghradze has made a speech at the European Council Assembly. The recording of it was published
Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, during his two-day visit to the Vatican met Pope Francis along with his wife Maka Chichua.
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili has visited the Vazisubani settlement where he personally offered his deepest condolences to the family of murdered
Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret has rewarded 29 Georgian volunteers for their sacrifice and love for Ukraine with medals. The ceremony was attended by Georgia's fomer President
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili speaks to CNN's Brooke Baldwin about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On the 27th of January, Tbilisi’s Mayor Davit Narmania was observing the process of cleaning an underground walkway near Tbilisi Concert Hall.
"We want to transform Georgia into real European state"
Irakli Gharibashvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia along with Eka Siradze-Delone, the ambassador of Georgia to France, were met by Francois Hollande at Elise’s palace,
Aside from the regular parish, the Christmas liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral was attended by politicians as well. The attending group of officials included representatives
The United States Embassy in Georgia has released a video that depicts its employees wishing Merry Christmas to the Georgian population and taking turns reciting