‘By selling gas pipeline we would lose more than we will gain’
20 January, 2011
‘By selling gas pipeline we would lose more than we will gain’

The Katin tragedy seems to have different layers, not all of them clean and clear. This is what can be easily deduced from the anti-Russian re-incarnation of openly pro-Russian Donald Tusk.

The Polish Prime-Minister blames the Russian airport operators for the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other 95 Polish people in the airplane crash near the city of Smolensk, Russia. Tusk says the calamity would not have happened, had the Severni airport operators refused landing to the Presidential plane. The

reality is that finding the truth is a matter of pride for the Polish nation.
Meanwhile, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili brought much of exaltation to the audience gathered at the American Enterprise. Many European leaders would be pleased to sign under such brilliant speeches. We talked with expert Ramaz  Sakvarelidze on current events unfolding in our country and abroad:
Q: The White House released the information about Obama-Saakashvili meeting. The Presidents were later joined by Joseph Biden, the US Vice-President. It turns out the Georgian issue remains on the agenda of Obama’s Administration.
A: First of all, I’d like to congratulate you as the Journalist of the Year as the one chosen by the readers out of a strong team of Kviris Palitra journalists. Regarding your question, every time such a meeting occurs, a question lends itself to interested audience as to whether the meeting has changed anything in the American attitude to Georgia. If we look deeper into the meetings, at least at whatever bits of news reach us, we would see that nothing really important happens there. Certainly to an extent Obama cares more about frequent criticism towards him that he abandoned Georgia than about the solution of the Georgian issue itself. That is why occasionally the Obama’s Administration touches the issue, even if sideways.
Q: Vladimer Sanakoev, the former leader of the Kokoiti Fandarast movement and ex-officer of the so called South Ossetian Transitional Administration stated that he used to fulfill the Russian FSB tasks as its secret agent under the code-name Iron. Do you believe in Sanakoev’s confessions?
A: Add to the said Vladikavkaz statement his live interview to one of the Georgian TV channels where he denied he was an agent and that he had never accepted money for spying. He asserted at that time that he had only friendly connections with special services, nothing more than that. All in all, his declarations in the interview were not congruent. This leads us to believe that the whole story is concocted. It’s hard to say why Sanakoev needed it. I believe the explanation proposed by expert Mamuka Areshidze. Areshidze doubts the validity of Sanakoev’s claims about his espionage; he believes that Sanakoev does not have either serious information or strong enough influence to be an agent. Accordingly, he must have acted on personal motives. In other words, he set everything up just for the sake of personal gains.
Q: The Russian Authorities can destroy validity of  Sanakoev’s words instantly. If we also consider protest statements made by him in Tskhinvali, Sanakoev may be heading for a big trouble.
A: Russia can not only destroy Sanakoev’s story but also sue him for false accusations. If Sanakoev has been an agent in real, he should not have spoken out about it in public. He is not a serious figure. However, he might have been doing trifle tasks time and again. You know, that this kind of people lack wits. I do not rule out that Russian special services are trying to discredit the Georgian Authorities, including the so called Tskhinvali Transitional Administration.
Q: The Georgian Opposition is not lounging in the heaven at the turn of 2011 - quite the opposite. They spent time accusing each other of bribery and treachery. A bit later, more dirt surfaced about Maestro TV channel. And this year Ministry of Justice happily gave the required response - in the positive form - to the formal decision of anti-Nogaideli members of Just Georgia party to downgrade the former PM from leadership to a regular position in the governing board of the party. In his turn, Nogaideli, expelled from his own party, is not going to cover liabilities owed to the former party members. He said that those people who took part in the betrayal would never receive money. What caused these turbulences – infantilism of Georgian opposition or experience of Georgian Authorities?
A: Perhaps the Authorities had a hand in the Nogaideli story. Nogaideli does blame them for interference and foul play. Yet, there was a reason as well: Nogaideli did not allegedly reimburse all due salaries. If he did not do it, no one could blame the Authorities for the justified protests of the party members against their boss. Even if the Authorities somehow coerced the frustrated party members to act, the financial liabilities could not be denied. Naturally, abstinence of Nogaideli from due salary payments should not be seen as surprising. Everyone may remember his ministerial spell which was characterized by tough financial restrains. It must be in his nature. It cannot be clearly said that this trait of his character is either entirely bad or good. For the Minister of Finances at least, it could be good.
Moreover, this man also has a degree of rudeness in his character. Not once did we hear about his fallout with journalists because of his master-to-servant attitudes to the media representatives. No one should treat even his servants with this kind of rudeness. This sort of conflicts led to the natural development of fatal discords, which Nogaideli could have avoided by careful thinking. So, things look so natural that I do not see any room for the purported manipulations from the Authorities. They were simply not needed. Just look, the Georgian Party showed claws to Burjanadze via Okruashvili, while the husband of Burjanadze – Badri Bitsadze - retorted by his media revelations against Gachechiladze, another Georgian Party leader. Bitsadze did not quite comprehend he was talking to a journalist, not just a person, and that anything he would say could fill the first page of the newspaper. I think, in the end we got the story in the shape as it is now.
Burjanadze, Bitsadze - and the journalist - were so frequently changing controversial versions that it was this ridiculous final picture that created the scandal. If you ask me, all these things must have turned everything upside down in Burjanadze’s and Bitsadze’s camp and less so in Gachechiladze’s party because no one believed it after the scandalous way it was publicized. It could have been more believable before the publication thanks to the discussions about the Gachechiladze-Saakashvili meeting used to take place many times before.
Q: Azeri State Oil Corporation is conducting negotiations with Georgia on the possible purchase of the Georgian part of Russian-Armenian gas pipeline. This was said by the corporation president Rovnag Abdulaev to the APA agency. Abdulaev noted that Azerbaijan plans to use the pipeline for the transportation of their gas to the Black Sea coast. The Georgian Authorities have not commented on that yet. If Georgia strikes the deal with Azerbaijan, what changes should we expect on the Caucasian political arena, given the fact that the pipeline is quintessential for Armenia which feeds on it?
A: The first thing I can tell you is that both Georgian-Armenian and Georgian-Azeri relations would undergo extensive transformation. Certainly the former would worsen as trust and partnership between Tbilisi and Yerevan would be dealt a lethal blow. Neither the latter would experience any positive shift because by handing over the pipeline to Azerbaijan Georgia loses a considerable strategic and geopolitical weight connected with the pipeline. So, if the news is founded on reality, Georgia would be set to lose from selling the gas pipeline more than we may gain from it.


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