Georgian analyst: West to maintain proper balance of relations in Caucasus
    Caliber.Az from Tbilisi

    INTERVIEWS  28 June 2022 - 12:23

    Tamilla Mammadova

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Ketevan Tomaradze, leading specialist of the Georgian Parliament apparatus, orientalist, publicist, and analyst.

    - What can you say about the current Georgian government's main course?

    - After the collapse of the USSR, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called a geopolitical catastrophe, the Georgian people, gaining independence, suffered a lot. Georgia lost 20 per cent of its territories and survived wars, and the worst of them was the civil war, which completely divided the people. The consolidation of the nation turned out to be the most difficult and to this day insurmountable problem in the process of democratic development of the country. The change of government after the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze took place not without the intervention of external forces - both western and northern neighbours.

    Georgia, as the central economic hub of the South Caucasus in the neighbourhood of Europe, with its culture that dates back thousands of years, as well as one of the strategic segments of the Silk Road, could become a significant player in European politics, and not only. The main discourse of Georgian foreign policy has become the collective West - the EU and the USA. Hoping for the support of Western politicians, the country has officially expressed a desire to become a member of the EU and NATO.

    - And how are relations with Russia developing, what course is the government taking in this case?

    - Russia reacted negatively to the Georgian government's statement about membership in hostile associations, as President Putin put it. So Georgia found itself, as they say, between two fires. It was clear that Russia would not allow Georgia's membership in the EU and NATO, which receives the main financial support from the United States. Moscow embarked on the path of a hybrid war with Tbilisi, which caused the country's difficult economic situation. Insufficient financial assistance from the West, unsuccessful reforms, and the corrupt Saakashvili government could lead the country to complete destruction. Saakashvili removed the people, but he could not part with the party because of the cooperation offered again by the West. Instead of starting negotiations with Russia and improving the political and economic situation of the country, the Georgian government was forced to agree to the conditions proposed by the United States. In complex political games and against the background of globalisation, the country could lose its independence, which it gained through blood and suffering.

    But Georgia has realised that all states have their own interests in big politics and few people take into account the interests of small nations. Recent events have shown that without a pragmatic foreign policy, Georgia may lose everything it has achieved, and the country may find itself in a difficult situation and have to rely only on verbal help and promises. Ignoring Russia, a country claiming global political and economic leadership, will lead Georgia to even greater destruction.

    - If elections were suddenly held in Georgia next Sunday, who do you think the people would vote for?

    - If elections are held in Georgia next Sunday, the people will vote for free development, a balanced foreign policy, real democracy and for the values that have been formed for centuries and which the people still accept, preserving their national face.

    - The attitude of Georgian society towards the country's possible accession to NATO and the EU?

    - The only thing Georgia needs is a reliable political and economic partner whose interests will coincide with the interests of the Georgian people. There are no friends in politics, there are only interests and cultural exchanges that bring people closer together and make politics more humane. No one will let my long-suffering country into NATO and the EU, especially since other surprises are expected on the map of Europe after Brexit.

    - How do you think the war in Ukraine will affect the Caucasus region?

    - Any war can affect the Caucasus region - it all depends on what position a particular country takes. We depend on economically strong states, and our policy should be based on a real basis - the preservation of peace and people's lives. My people are well aware that outside interference will bring only death and nothing positive. We must think about the future because even the worst peace is better than any war.

    - How do you assess Georgia's relations with Azerbaijan and Türkiye?

    - Georgia has formed the best relations with neighbouring states – Azerbaijan and Türkiye, which are based on mutually beneficial projects, trade and economic exchanges. They can become a kind of base for improving relations with the northern neighbour. Practice shows that the sooner the destroyed bridges are restored, the faster the development process of the South Caucasus, which is an outpost for Russia, will go.

    - What are your forecasts regarding the main geopolitical events in the next two years?

    - Today there is a redistribution of the planet Earth, which will be far from unipolar, as the United States would like. Some countries are developing very quickly, proudly declaring their achievements in the field of economics and intentions not to concede the laurels of the championship to anyone. Ukraine will have a completely different configuration in two years. So we will have to change the maps of countries and continents frequently and print them in a new, updated form. China, Russia, and India - states that claim a worthy place, as well as South America will develop rapidly. We must work tirelessly and develop. The mental revolution should help and unite, not divide, peoples.

    - At the summit, the European Union decided to grant candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine, and Georgia was informed that it needs to resolve certain problems. Why do you think the EU did this?

    - The part of society that believes that the only way out of the current situation in which Georgia finds itself is to join the EU is very disappointed with the decision of its high officials to keep only the prospect for Georgia as if leaving their door open for it. Meanwhile, Georgia has fulfilled all the conditions to become a worthy member of the EU. But, unfortunately, there were no decent people there who could face the truth and not side with the criminal opposition of Georgia. We know that it has been 35 years since Türkiye became a candidate for EU membership and there is no clear path for the country in the direction of Brussels yet.

    - Can this EU decision be considered political and related to the fact that Georgia has not opened a second front in support of Ukraine?

    - It cannot be said that any one fact caused the failure. There is a whole complex of negative perceptions of the policy pursued by the Georgian government, which, meanwhile, saved the country from the worst and saddest days in the history of our state.

    - And if Saakashvili had been in power, would the EU have given Georgia the status of a candidate?

    - As French President Macron pointed out, Georgia is hampered by a geopolitical factor - it is too far geographically from Europe. It would be good for Mr President to listen to a lecture on the history and culture of our country and the Caucasus as a whole in order to understand how deeply he is mistaken and how his statements distance Europe from peace and tranquillity on the continent.

    - Do you believe Georgia's desire to join the EU will soften now?

    - Everything will be shown by the time and decisions of world politicians, and their attitude to small nations.

    - How can this affect Georgia's relations with the  West?

    - The West does not give away anything so easily and does not take anything away. The West needs the Caucasus, and it will try not to lose the right balance of relations...

    - What are your expectations from the Madrid NATO Summit?

    - They will give what they gave in the EU...

    - Why, in your opinion, has there been an increase in pro-Russian sentiment in Georgia lately, primarily in the expert community?

    - I have already mentioned the reasons. We are gradually getting on the path of real politics.

    - Do you think Georgia should move strictly to the West, or should we still look to the East, towards Azerbaijan and Turkey?

    - Georgia should move towards revival. Whoever supports this idea will become a reliable partner of our country, a country with many opportunities and, most importantly, a country with spiritual strength...


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