Georgia’s New Old Geopolitical Function
16 February, 2012
Georgia’s New Old Geopolitical Function

In terms of international politics, Eduard Shevardnadze found a new historical function for Georgia. He gave a new life to the idea of ‘Silk Road’, which had been utterly abandoned for centuries. Shevardnadze came up with an idea of building a pipeline with a new geopolitical significance. Professor Maskharashvili has more.


GJ – Unbelievable! Just impossible to believe! Was it really the institution of the so called ‘legalized thieves’ that was trusted by the society so much?

S.M. – Yes, it was!

It was just they who assumed the function of judges and mediators, which was a pernicious example for the younger generation. It looked like the most respected and authoritative figure in the country was a ‘legalized thief’. Thus in the eyes of the Georgian youth, they became the figures to emulate which was conducive to the criminalization of young people.

GJ – Based on what you are saying and issuing from the character of the situation described by you, I cannot see a very big difference whether Georgadze ruled the country or Shevardnadze – the country was headed towards the precipice anyway, wasn’t it?

S.M. – In difference from Georgadze, Shevardnadze was playing a dual game. In terms of international politics, Eduard Shevardnadze found a new historical function for Georgia. He gave a new life to the idea of ‘Silk Road’, which had been utterly abandoned for centuries. Shevardnadze came up with an idea of building a pipeline with a new geopolitical significance. One global trade and energy road crosses Iran, Turkey and Iraq via South Caucasus; the other one passes through Russia towards Europe; there might be the third road that could come from China and Mid-Asia, go across Georgia and connect Asia and Europe by beeline, bypassing both Russia and Iran. And that’s the road, historically named as ‘Silk Road’. Granted, there was corruption in Shevardnadze’s Georgia, and the level of crime was disturbing too, but it was he who came up with an idea of building the famous Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. In the 1990’s the West was overwhelmed with an illusion of Russia becoming a fulltime partner to the free democratic world both in terms of energy supply and ideology, hoping that Russia would create a state based on western values. Dazed with this illusion, the international community was somewhat ignoring Georgia, not seeing its place in global processes. By the end of the 1990’s Shevardnadze managed to demonstrate to the world that Georgia, if nothing else, has at least a value of transit territory for Russia. And in 2000, when Putin came to power in Russia and started monopolizing not only politics but businesses too, putting everything in the hands of state, Georgia became even more topical with its prospective functions. One of the first steps to corroborate Georgia’s functionality was the alternative Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. The idea of the Nabucco pipeline was conceived at the same time which has not yet come to fruition, but still exists as an idea. Georgia’s security is one of the preconditions for implementing those international projects. The idea of Georgia’s accession to NATO was also born at that time.

GJ – And the first step towards that goal was made by Shevardnadze, wasn’t it?

S.M. – Very true! It was during the Shevardnadze period that Georgia got actively included into the initiation programs, leading towards Georgia’s involvement in NATO. Shevardnadze offered the world for consideration Georgia’s new geopolitical function which was equal to a trump card for Georgia in the future. Please stay assured that Georgadze could never have offered to Georgia anything like this.

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