Attempts to draw South Ossetia into Georgia are doomed to failure - expert

Fri, 05/10/2012 - 16:48

Flash-poll: How, in your opinion, the outcome of the parliamentary elections in Georgia may affect a relationship between South Ossetia and Georgia?

Kosta Dzugaev, Candidate of Philosophy, associate professor of the South-Ossetian State University:
I think that any positive changes will not take place until 2014.

Murat Dzhioev, the RSO Presidential Envoy for post-conflict settlement:
Parliamentary election is the business of the people of Georgia. I think, the Georgian voters had to consider seriously with whom they were going to tie their future.
For South Ossetia it was the election in the neighboring state with which we`ll have to face the process of settling the bilateral relations. We will carry on a dialogue with all the positive forces that will be really interested in peace in the region and in the establishment of good neighborly relations.

Gennady Kokoev, parliamentary deputy of the RSO:
Of course, change of the leadership will affect to some extent the political course of Tbilisi. The changes will take place, but it is not clear what kind of changes they will be. One cannot talk about the landslide victory of Ivanishvili. "National Movement" has received more than 40 percent of votes and will continue to play a role in forming the course of the Tbilisi leadership. Ivanishvili and his "Dream" will have to reckon with a factor of the "National Movement". Another thing is that in relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian political elite, including Ivanishvili, has not invented anything new. On the contrary, they repeat the same concept of political settlement, which has been under Saakashvili, ie the inclusion of South Ossetia into Georgia by creating an attractive image of Georgia by means of political and economic reforms. They think that in this case the Ossetians and Abkhazians will strive themselves to join the Georgian state.
Though, the adherents of this position try to pass the desirable for reality including such seemingly self-restrained and competent politician as Paata Zakareishvili. He seems to believe that the Ossetians and Abkhazians may regard failure to exterminate the peoples of these republics as a significant impetus to join Georgia. It is clear that such opinions are faulty, but from a human point of view – they are cynical and mean. Economic, democratic and legal factors do not play any role in this respect. From countries that are in an advanced stage of economic development and observance of human rights - Canada, Spain, UK, etc. - split off Quebec, Basque Country, Catalonia, Scotland, etc., respectively. That is, such statements have nothing to doboth with the world politics and with common sense.
We should not deny attempts to contact and to resolve the conflict by political, diplomatic way, but ... Only after the recognition of the state independence of South Ossetia by Georgia on the principles of equality. Only in this case one can count on the long-term cooperation and good neighborly relations. True, this is the distant future, as bloodshed never melts completely, and for many years it casts a dark shadow on interethnic relations. Frankly, I would not want to repeat the history of the 20-30-years' prescription when Ossetians and Georgians have been intertwined, in my opinion, too closely.
Many experts say that with the advent of Ivanishvili will be traced a course of some settlement between Russia and Georgia, and conclude that South Ossetia may become a bargaining chip in relations between the Kremlin and Tbilisi. Allegedly, in exchange for settlement of the Russian-Georgian relations South Ossetia may be offered the smooth entry into the federal or confederative Georgia. It is unlikely that such a scenario will be implemented. The fact is that in this case, Russia, not even indirectly but directly, will admit the wrongness of its decision made in August 2008, faultiness and illegality not only of the military attacks, and stationing of the military bases in the territory of the sovereign state of South Ossetia, but also inferiority of the state foreign policy associated with the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow will not achieve any political benefits, but enormous damage is quite obvious. It is also absolutely clear that South Ossetia and its leadership in the foreseeable future will never agree to join the State of Georgia with any offered status. The Republic of South Ossetia is an independent state, recognized by one of the permanent members of the UN Security State, and this is the reality, from which we have to proceed.

Inal Pliev, an independent expert:
The Georgian leadership has had good reasons to believe that, having such a powerful propaganda and administrative resources, as well as a number of quite successful projects, it will be able to retain the power. But they have failed not taking into account the other factors that are also of great value for people, for voters: respect for an individual, respect for the inalienable rights of a man and, at least, unwillingness of the Georgian people to be a hostage of the aggressive foreign policy aspirations of a small group of individuals.
There were also ignored such factors as a desire of the majority of the Georgian voters to normalize relations with Russia, to recognize the new political realities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and not to fight against us, but build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Bidzina Ivanishvili has shown himself a very capable manager. He managed in the short term to consolidate around a lot of different people. I do not think that in this matter the money played a decisive role. The main thing is the idea, including the above mentioned ones.
We must not forget that the victory of the "Georgian Dream" is not unconditional. According to the currently available information, the votes have been approximately equally divided. This suggests a deep split in the Georgian society. Though different experts and politicians are talking a lot about the transitionof Saakashvili and his "National Movement" to the opposition, they maintain the highly influential position. There will be some differences between the "Georgian Dream" and the "National Movement", at least, on the assigning seats and ministerial portfolios. The split will also be obvious on the other, more grass-roots levels. In order to overcome this split, the two leaders will need the image of the common enemy represented by Russia and South Ossetia.
At the beginning Ivanishvili`s rhetoric, related to South Ossetia, will be peaceful. Although most of the Georgian people during the time of Shevardnadze perceived South Ossetia as a separate country, and did not mind this. Ivanishvili will not say anything explicitly under the massive propaganda work carried out by the Georgian authorities while Saakashvili is at the helm of a state. He will attempt another humanitarian assault, like the early Saakashvili, but using milder methods. I think, he will act on the South Ossetian sector with the circles in Russia, including the bureaucracy, which secretly and openly are working against the independence of South Ossetia, being not afraid to express discontent against Vladimir Putin. I mean those forces in Russia that contributed to so disastrous situation in the rehabilitation process of the Republic.
As for relations between South Ossetia and Georgia, they can be normalized only if Georgia withdraw its troops and armed structures posts from the state border of South Ossetia, will sign a legally binding document on the non-use of force against South Ossetia, recognize the independence of our country, repair a damage, caused in the course of military aggression in 1989-1992, 2004 and 2008, and release all the hostages seized for propaganda purposes to "show the criminal nature" of South Ossetia and after the unjust trials thrown in jails on unproven charges.
In any case, attempts to draw South Ossetia into Georgia in any way (which is constantly repeated by some unscrupulous people, who are wrongly calling themselves political scientists and experts) will lead to crash and bloody failure. It may be softening of rhetoric against Russia, but, having caught South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgia will again say Russia: "Thank you, dear, good-bye!" The notorious policy of "hook" led to the bloodshed of the Russian peacekeepers and citizens of Russia. The apologists of this policy forever covered themselves with disgrace as the shortsighted amateurs and the ignoramuses in politics. What will happen, if you revive the construction, which has once led to bloodshed? It will be another bloodbath, and the construction, however, will collapse again.

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