13 March, 2014
Interview with Austrian researcher and analyst, Eugene Kogan

What’s going on in Ukraine, what is Crimea’s destiny and how will the Ukrainian events influence Georgia? We discussed these questions with Eugene Kogan, Austrian researcher and a Realpolitik expert who is currently in Georgia and cooperates with Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
Q. – What, to your mind, caused everything that has happened in Ukraine?
A. – Yanukovich decided to walk on the hairbreadth bridge between the European Union and
Russia, but in the end he couldn’t manage to keep balance.
Q. – So, you don’t see Yanukovich as Russia’s man?
A. – Yanukovich wasn’t Russia’s stooge as he is considered to be now. If he ever was a lackey, first of all he was a footman of those oligarchs who brought him to power. From the very beginning, Yanukovich wasn’t planning to sign the agreement because it would be the end of economic independence for his protégé oligarchs.
Q. – Let’s move to the Euro-Maidan… What conditioned the rally-participants’ victory?
A. – I think it was the hatred accumulated in people towards the political elite and universal corruption that reigned in the country. Yanukovich found himself facing a dilemma: either to yield to the raging people or order manslaughter. He chose the second despite the fact that, as he declares now, he didn’t issue such an order. But nobody but the President was authorized to make such a decision.
Q. – Is there any chance for Ukraine to get Crimea back?
A.– I rule it out. It was a pre-planned, detailed military-punitive operation. It’s difficult to believe that Putin, a ruler with such an instinct of a predator, will let such a chance of territorial expansion slip through his fingers.
Q. – Cannot Ukraine with its 50-million population and 140 000-strong army oppose such a development?
A. – Ukraine can’t oppose these processes because it has no political, economic or military resources to do so. Ukraine has no chance to win the war against Russia.
In the case Ukraine starts a war, it will be against its own people. They will sit shivering from cold because Russia will stop the gas supply.
Q. – What will be the position of USA and Europe on this?
A. – At this stage, the Europeans aren’t going to shed blood over Ukraine. A confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is still considered to be a part of the internal policy of Russia. As for the US, it’s too far away from all of this. They unswervingly pursue the policy of non-intervention and Obama only wants to have as little problems as possible during the remaining two years in order to fit a deserved cult image by the end of his presidential term.
Q. – But there are economic and diplomatic levers…Do you think the sanctions imposed by the EU and the US on Russia will deliver any result?
A. – I don’t think so because these sanctions aren’t spread on the spheres that are vital for Russia (i.e. economics and energy resources). They won’t even be enacted because the EU, with Germany as its engine - which has rather close economic relations with Russia, will harm itself. They aren’t ready for this.
Q. – What would you say about Turkey?
A. – When speaking about Turkey’s military potential, we have to remember one thing: the elite of the Turkish army, which was “brought up” at expense USA resources, was sent to prison by Erdogan. The Turkish army is demoralized. Higher and lower echelons don’t trust each other. Under these circumstances Erdogan’s declaration that he intends to assist the Crimean Tatars is simply funny. Besides, 65% of Turkish gas supply comes on Russia. Thus Turkey now, as during the 2008 war, will keep a neutral position.
Q. – To your mind, how the Ukrainian events will influence Georgia? After several months we’ll have to sign association agreement with the EU. What threats should we expect from Russia?
A. – The Crimean episode is very alarming for Georgia. We can draw parallels between the Crimean events and the 2008 war with the unfortunate difference that within these five years Russians became more mastered in gaining the maximum by losing the minimum. Whatever is going on in Crimea is Russia’s signal for Georgia and Moldova – if you take upon the Ukraine’s path and don’t abandon the idea of signing the agreement with the EU you will have the same fate. So, be careful and think well about what you are trying to achieve. Measure a hundred times – are you ready to fully endure this and take upon yourself the pressure from Russia and the burden of results that will follow your aspiration to sign the agreement? I emphasize – aspiration, not signing, because in this case I don’t think you’ll come up to signing. I’ll remind you about the aircraft that flew over Georgia several days ago. It’s only the beginning… I hope you won’t lose your nerve and respond to Russia’s provocations; but Russians don’t lack inventive minds either…
I’m only expressing my suppositions in order to make you stay alert. First of all, you have to expect this because Putin wants to control every transit point in the region from where oil and gas is supplied to Europe and Turkey.
Q. – Following your judgment, we shouldn’t, like Ukraine, count on outside assistance...
A. – If the West accepts the fact of Ukraine’s fiasco, it will swallow Georgia as well. Don’t expect anything serious from the West.
Q. – Experts with the pro-Russian orientation often discuss the following scenario: Russia offers us to set up a federal unity with Abkhazia and Ossetia and we return to the Russian flock… What do you think about this?
A. – It cannot be ruled out but in case Russia succeeds, it won’t swerve from its policy and will at most disperse the region. In the triumvirate of Abkhazia, Ossetia and Georgia it will use every means to make it so that the decisions will be taken by the majority; I believe you can guess what this means…
Other Stories

Statement which caused the uproar

When the results of the investigation were published, the people, politicians and experts were discussing whether the investigation was carried out fairly. Besides, if the government’s version is correct, eavesdropping devices were installed at Rustavi 2 TV with the knowledge of the management. Law enforcers must take this case to an end. Expert Alexander Tvalchrelidze is sure that the recording devices were not installed under the current authorities:
First Trilateral Summit-Level Meeting
Turkish Ambassador talked with Georgian Journal about visit of Turkish President

Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, paid his second official visit to Georgia. On the first day of the visit, the trilateral summit among Georgian, Turkish and Azeri Presidents took place. Georgian Journal seized the opportunity and recorded the interview right after the three-day visit of the Turkish President, with the Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia, H.E. Mr. Levent Gümrükçü.
Polish Book on Georgians and Abkhazians
Interview with the Ambassador of Poland to Georgia

Poland, together with the Czech Republic and Hungary, celebrates its 15th anniversary of joining NATO. With the V4 and Baltic States, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta it celebrates its 10th anniversary of EU accession. Georgian Journal spoke with the Ambassador of Poland to Georgia, Mr. Andrzej Cieszkowski, about the EU, his challenges as a diplomat while living abroad for the second time and his first ambassadorial mission as well as about personal interests. Stay with us.
Ambition to have Ukraine as one’s own part
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.
Sochi threatened
Russia created a special 11-km wide zone deep in occupied Abkhazia

For almost two months Sochi will host athletes, public figures and journalists from up to 90 countries.
Interview with expert Kakhi Kakhishvili

We hope Bidzina Ivanishvili will stay neutral to the end and in case of reasoned criticism of authorities he will side with civil society. By the way, Ivanishvili kept one more promise and, on leaving, nominated Davit Narmania as the candidate for the Tbilisi Mayor’s post. We began the interview with expert Kakhi Kakhishvili with this issue.
Will the monster created by the previous powers disintegrate?

Last week Irakli Gharibashvili, candidate for the PM post, first named Otar Partskhaladze as the substitute for Chief Prosecutor, and then Alexander Chikaidze as the candidate for the post of Interior Minister. Why did the Chief Prosecutor leave his post? What do the cadre changes mean for us? Expert Kakha Kakhishvili shares his opinion:
Summoning Patience and Consistency

Exclusive Interview with Mrs. Elita Gavele, Latvian Ambassador to Georgia

It is always difficult to predict what will happen in the future. The easiest thing is to wait to make things clear. All we know at the present time is that we have a new president Giorgi Margvelashvili from the ruling party. Let's see what will change. However, there are many expectations and hopes for the better in the society that had a total feeling of injustice. Georgian Journal talked to Mrs. Elita Gavele, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to Georgia and Armenia.

Interview with philosopher Zaza Piralishvili

Why the 2013 Presidential elections don’t resemble previous ones? Do the election programs, promises and political views of presidential candidates differ from one another? Below Philosopher Zaza Piralishvili dissects these issues.
“Prosecutors’ Office  Still a Black  Hole”
Interview with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili

Last week traditionally proved to be politically tense in Georgia. We witnessed Bidzina Ivanishvili’s “talk show” - this time featuring representatives of TV channels. In another development, MIA found an identity of the Jihad Video fabricator. Finally, the general assembly of the National Movement Party closed the week. Our interview with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili started with this event staged by the Nationals.
Russians Have Not Paid the Fee
In a live interview from New-York, President Mikheil Saakashvili said the following: “In the last weeks and months we lost more agricultural lands than in Kurta and Tamarasheni villages combined.”
Mikheil Saakashvili was the President during the August 2008 war too. So, he is supposed to be the most knowledgeable of all that during those tragic days Georgia was ripped of not just Tamarasheni and Kurta arable lands but around 20% of the country’s area! This loss should have been more than enough for any decent, homeland loving leader of the country to recognize the strategic mistakes he committed before and during the war, and resign.
Mamuka AreshidzeInterview with expert

One year after the change in the ruling power, political pressure is rising in the country again. There are a plenty of reasons – promises are being fulfilled at a low tempo or not at all. In the given situation, the decision by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili to leave politics feeds into the public fear of future. We spoke with expert Mamuka Areshidze about this and other interesting topics:
Interview with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili

Today the most urgent topic is whether Ivanishvili leaves or stays in politics. We discussed this and other topical issues with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili.
Demise of Nabucco

Eugene Kogen: I don’t see Georgia as a EU member for another 25 years to come…

”Nabucco was a victim of clash of interests in Brussels” – says South Caucasus security expert Eugene Kogen. In an exclusive interview, he talked about the demise of much-talked project of Nabucco pipeline and his own, skeptical view of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future.

‘I don’t Expect Any Major Response from USA...‘
Interview with Michael Cecire, associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

- Former PM Vano Merabishvili, present-day UNM Secretary General, and ex-Healthcare Minister Zurab Chiaberashvili, currently Governor of Kakheti region, were arrested.
Georgia Targets on Innovations
Innovation Research and Development Council was created at Georgian parliament to base national economy on innovations in pursuance with the best world experience. The Council will peruse each innovation proposal and scientific work so as to use the country’s intellectual potential take its nich among developed economies.
Scandalous Detail of August War
Umpteenth violation of International Agreement on the part of the Kremlin

The August war in 2008 left indelible trace in the minds of many people world over thanks to a number of video and photo materials depicting Russians grabbing and taking away weaponry and military machinery of Georgian Army but this Blitzkrieg war had another episode, which did not take up the headlines. It should have caused an international scandal for sure. Now it’s late.
ne of the Georgian Army units which retreated from its Tskhinvali outskirts position in August 2008, brought 16 Strela-2 - man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system – to Tbilisi. This weapon was abandoned by Russian instructors and Ossetian separatists fighting Georgian troops.
After several-year interval Georgian-Russian dialog has ensued. What does Georgia expect from this dialog with 88% of its population, supporting relations with Russia? Answer to this question is intertwined with the reasons that conditioned increase of the supporters of the dialog with Russia while Russia as an image of enemy, is considered as a stigma for the last 20 years and not only desire of relations but even mentioning it in a slightly positive context, was almost equivalent of expulsion from the society.
‘Akhalaia’s release in return for ambassadors is inadmissible’

There is a smell of new provocation in the air in Georgia that is called ‘religious confrontation’. Our compatriot Christians and Muslims declare that instigators are trying to aggravate the situation. This way or that way the authorities didn’t have adequate and timely reaction; we may get a result that even the instigators of this escalation didn’t want or expect. The expert Kote Zhgenti hopes that the situation won’t aggravate. According to him the authors of this artificial process don’t consider that interests of the country may be sacrificed to all this.

‘Georgian authorities are doing everything for blood-shedding’

High-ranking diplomats and International Organizations can’t hide their concern about the events undergoing in the country. OSCE sees the signs of Leninism and according to Terry Benhem, an American expert on election issues, adviser of NGO ‘Open Democracy Committee’, the voters’ lists, fines and rule of law are under a question mark in Georgia.



Interview with Mamuka Areshidze, political scientist


Everybody and everything in Georgia are in possession of pre-election fever. The authorities being under time pressure because of Ivanishvili’s unexpected appearance in politics can’t cope with issuing fines or other sanctions. It seems they hope in Saakashvili’s team that victors are not judged… We are talking about the peripety in Georgian politics with political scientist Mamuka Areshidze.


Why didn’t Saakashvili have face-to-face meeting with State Minister?

Against the background of recent appointment/sacking process conducted by the authorities, UN General Assembly’s resolution on Georgia was left beyond public attention. With this issue we began our interview with Mamuka Areshidze, an expert of Caucasian issues:

“Sarkozy Was Minister of Internal Affairs Too Before Becoming President”

Appointment of currently former Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili to the post of Prime-Minister of Georgia overshadowed nearly all other recent political events. Is it promotion of Vano Merabishvili or downgrading of his power? We put this question on the top of issues discussed in our interview with political expert Soso Tsiskarishvili.


Expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze on Mrs. Clinton’s visit to Georgia

We began our interview with expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze with recent hullabaloo about National Exam Center. We’ll remind you that Dimitri Shashkin, Minister of Education of Georgia sacked Maia Miminoshvili, head of National Center.


Interview with Khatuna Lagazidze, political scientist

After MP Jondi Bagaturia, from the Parliamentary rostrum put under doubt the correctness of recognition of Circassian genocide and spoke about the genocide of Armenians, Azeri Suleimanov, a majority MP from Marneuli called Jondi Bagaturia an Armenian and ‘Bagaturian’ and threw a Vaseline tube at him. We are discussing last week’s important events with political scientist Khatuna Lagazidze.

GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
GEL Exchange