Georgia Becomes the CIS member
26 January, 2012
Georgia Becomes the CIS member

Russia puts forward a plan for Georgia’s split-up into several parts, and it was absolutely clear that the Russians would do anything to fulfill that plan. The only choice remaining for Georgia was to join CIS – the Commonwealth of independent States. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.


GJ – What this heavy and painful process of the Russian-Georgian war on the territory of Apkhazeti (Abkhazia) lacked was the national unanimity of the Georgian people. How true does this statement sound?

S.M. –

I have to agree with you that it was one of the problems which the nation faced at that time. The state system had actually collapsed. And it collapsed so badly that the state structures lost control over the situation even in the capital of the country. We can easily say that by the fall of 1993 the statehood of Georgia was seriously endangered.  The Russian tanks were roaming the entire territory of Georgia. The Russian militants were making numerous sorts of suspicious deals with various bands and criminal formations of unknown origin and social belonging. Russians were trying to utterly boost the civil confrontation and inter-ethnic animosity, being aware of Georgia’s multinational character. Russia put forward a plan for Georgia’s split-up into several parts, and it was absolutely clear that the Russians would do anything to fulfill that plan. The only choice remaining for Georgia was to join CIS – the Commonwealth of independent States.

GJ – What did the new leader of the country Eduard Shevardnadze undertake at that crucial moment of the Georgian history?

S.M. – Shevardnadze did not have much of a choice to make. As a matter of fact, he applied to international organizations and various societies. It would be fair to note that the world at that time was greatly fascinated with what the new Russian leader Boris Yeltsin was doing, who pompously celebrated his victory over the Soviet putschist right in October of 1993. Yeltsin was trying to play a great democrat in the world’s eyes. What happened as a result was that the international community put the decision of Georgia’s historical fate into Boris Yeltsin’s hands.

GJ – So the world trusted the Russian leader, didn’t it?

S.M. – Exactly! The international community was simply obsessed with the Yeltinist illusions. They just thought that with Yeltsin’s help and blessing democracy was finally celebrated in Russia. Meanwhile, the Russian secret service well managed to present Georgia to the world as a country involved in ethnic conflicts, and as a destructive area for free criminal activity of various band-formations. Notwithstanding Shevardnadze’s international reputation and his familiarity to the world, the international community thought that Georgia was not interesting enough a nation to consider – if anybody was able at all to cope with Georgia’s current problems that could only be Russia and nobody else. In a word, Georgia was left alone for Russia to trample and pillage it. Eventually, everything ended in Shevardnadze’s consent to accept Georgia’s membership in CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States). And the main precondition for the imposed membership in the political and economic association of the former soviet republics was the maintenance of Georgia’s territorial integrity. President of Russia Boris Yeltsin stated unreservedly that he was going to break up Georgia into several pieces, hoping that the international community would not object to this move.

GJ –So the great ‘democrat’ Yeltsin was nursing that perfidious plan, wasn’t he?

S.M. – Yes! During negotiations with Shevardnadze in Moscow, he told the Georgian leader straight into his face that if Shevardnadze did not agree to accede to CIS, the border between Russia and Georgia would be marked along the Likhi Range – the mountain range dividing Georgia into East and West. Meanwhile, Yeltsin had an international image of the great Russia which had embarked on ‘democratic’ development, and Georgia was thought of as a small unlikely country, infested with criminals and totally drowning in civil confrontation. For some unascertained reason, Georgia was also taken as part of the Slavic orthodox Christian civilization (Which it was not!), and hands were washed off it thoughtlessly.

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