Expert opinion
Ambition to have Ukraine as one’s own part
06 March, 2014
Below Ramaz Sakvarelidze, a political expert, answers Georgian Journal’s questions on the current situation of Georgia, the way of integration into Europe and signing of the Association Agreement. At the same time, we are concerned about the events in Ukraine, the political expert assesses risks that Georgia may face on its way into Europe while avoiding pressure and danger from Russia.
Q. What do you make of the political situation in Georgia? Are we ready to sign the Association Agreement
and how can we prevent provocations from Russia till then?
A. Russia has the ambition to have Ukraine as its own part. But the steps Ukraine made towards Europe and its growing chances to join this political space made Russia use military force. This is clear argument for Russia. An analogous situation was seen in Georgia which made Russia to use military power. In the early 90s, Russia put out a trap for Georgia causing problems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It was clear that Georgia was not going to remain under control of Russia while the latter wanted to maintain control over the post-Soviet republics. Russia has no power to use economic lever.
Q. The readiness of Russia to act quickly in Ukraine is an example for us to be alert. What kind of provocations and actions can we expect from Russia in Georgia before the signing of the Association Agreement?
A. Georgia is an interesting nation. We have to remember that Russian tanks are only 60 km away from the capital and this is why Russia has to be in a hurry. At every given moment, Russia can disconnect the whole of Georgia and separate it into parts. It has already occupied territories. So the events we now see in Ukraine have already happened in Georgia in 2008. It is hard to read Russia’s real aim but the fact is that Russia reacts on some emotional issues. Russia was irritated that they were neglected during the Kosovo issue and Russia punished Georgia, instead of the US.
Q. It seems that Georgia and Ukraine are perceived by Russia as territories which can only be under the control of Russia or Europe?
A. Russia can say that you are a state but you have to be under my control and Russia does not want the status of the state from you.
Q. How do you estimate our position on the way of integration into European structures?
A. We are positioned quite well because we fulfill all the recommendations. But Europe evaluates and gives a mark, and Europe will not give us the maximum mark because it doesn’t want to irritate Russia. We saw the reaction of Europe towards Ukraine. There were things that happened in Georgia and it was dreadful, but we haven’t seen any concern from Europe.
Q. Are the upcoming self-government elections important on the way of signing the Association Agreement?
A. We need elections that will not cause any doubts about being fair elections. As for the pre-election campaign, there are different ways to prepare it. I think that mainly the Georgian Dream coalition has to be active. As for the National Movement, it has more problems with bold activity as it provokes some aggression. Georgian Dream, it seems, has no other alternative than to perform in the passive way.