Thu, 28/09/2006 - 12:37

Militarization of Georgia is going on with an unprecedented pace for such a small country. The President Michael Saakashvili repeatedly stated that army is his favorite. Why astronomic amounts of money are spent to procure arms when the economic situation of the country is far from being successful? Considering recent declarations of Georgia to settle the territorial disputes by peaceful means, which external enemy the Georgian leadership is afraid of? When with the neighbors Georgia, with the exception of Russia, co-exists more or less peacefully. Regardless Saakashvili’s state of mind Georgia could hardly confront Russia in the battlefield. If we assume that Georgia is arming against Abkhazia and South Ossetia and consider the urge of Georgia towards entering NATO, everything becomes clear. That is why the budget of the Defense Ministry reached this year 614 million of dollars. Taking into account that in 2003 the Government of Shevardnadze spent about 50 million dollars, the military budget increased for more than 10 times. The number of the country’s military forces reaches 30 000 people. Serious assistance to the Georgian military forces is provided by the United States of America, Turkey, and Great Britain. Modern arms are procured for the army in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, some are received as aid from other countries.
The next step for the country’s militarization is to attract wide layers of the population to the so called “reservist movement”. On a yearly basis thousands of Georgian citizens are trained in the reservists camps scattered all over the territory of Georgia and nearby the conflict zones – around Abkhazia and South Ossetia
According to the Head of the National Guard of the Georgian Defense Ministry Akaki Bobokhidze, during the nearest 6-8 months the number of reservists in Georgia will reach 100 000 people. Every resident of the Republic up to 40 years should receive basic reservist skills.
Considerable amounts are allocated for creation of military infrastructure, renovation of military quarters, increase of money allowances.
The other important factor for increasing military service prestige is that Saakashvili promises to every military man a job after demobilization. As in the old times in Europe, the recruiters levied to the national army in the villages.
Of course on the ground the arrangements do not go smoothly. Georgia is the only country in the world where is it legally possible to buy off from the army. Yearly postponement costs 200 lari (110 dollars), it is possible to be totally exempted by paying for 10 years in advance. Independent military experts claim that part of the reservists will try to buy off from military trainings. That the value of the reserve prepared during 14 days is zero as in most of the countries this period last for 6-8 weeks. Besides accommodation, food, uniform, transport, people should receive compensations during the training period. If we add to this traditionally high level of corruption in Georgia, it is obvious that not all the allocated funds will be used for the purpose.
Still the volume of military preparations is excessive for a country that only prepares for defense. Saakashvili and his entourage are going to engage into a bloody gamble the outcome of which for Georgia is quite doubtful. Numerous historical examples show how difficult it was for regular armies to break down the resistance of a whole nation and how many human lives were sacrificed for nothing.

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