After going for downhill skiing and being in gracious mood, amid the beauty of the Caucasian mountains the president himself in a yellow jacket glowed with the spiritual health and happiness. In a word, he was a marked contrast to himself he was two years ago when quite informally in front of cameras he could, either falling into a deep reverie, or being in a fit of melancholy, go and chew up his own tie.
First of all, answering a question of a journalist about the threat from Georgia to the Sochi Olympics, Saakashvili assured that this threat is ‘zero’. “Moreover, in due time, when it was decided where to hold the Olympics, we very openly and with great enthusiasm at the political level supported hosting the Olympics in Sochi just because it would allow us to avoid those negative trends that were quite obvious, especially with regard to Abkhazia, that is our (!) territory,” said Saakashvili.
Saakashvili, in his own words, does not believe in threat of the Russian-Georgian war recurrence, that’s a mercy. The president explained questionable recurrence of the events in August 2008 by the fact that today “an international regional situation” does not favor to this, meaning the ‘orange’ events in the Middle East. Russia now, as he explained, “in purely physical terms”, is not ready for large-scale war. True, Saakashvili made a reservation that it is “his logic” and “they”, of course, can think in another way. That is the president just in case has left opened to monsters of cruelty over the other side of the Caucasus Mountains the hypothetical possibility to unleash war and to wipe Georgia off the face of the earth.
In an interview Saakashvili has also commented on the decision of the official Tbilisi to abolish the visa regime for residents of the North Caucasian republics, which set off a negative reaction in the Kremlin. The president movingly explained Tbilisi’s position on this issue by care about ordinary people whose families have been “separated by mountains”, and “namesakes and relatives … have no opportunity to communicate with common ancestors, tombs”, etc. It was the immigration policy’s fault, the president did not specify, whose policy precisely, but the context revealed it even without that. However, the issue could be settled by Russia’s and Georgia’s joint efforts, according to Saakashvili, which would much better the lot of “thousands and tens of thousands” of Georgian families residing in Russia.
Yet, despite some departure from the outright provocative anti-Russian rhetoric, Saakashvili is the same notorious ‘hunchback’ who will only be straighten ... well, let’s say, not in this life. The president’s speech is full of numerous stock phrases that had become quite familiar: Abkhazia is still “ours” and “the place from which more than 400 thousands of ‘our citizens’ (i.e. ethnic Georgians), had been expatriated.” In addition, there are “daily violations of human rights there... daily practices of apartheid and ideology of ethnic cleansing.”
At the same time, Georgia is “not in favor of territorial changes” ... It is difficult to conform all this, for example, with recent statements by Chairman of parliamentary commission for territorial integrity of Georgia Shota Malashkhia he made after his meeting with Ambassador of Japan to Georgia Masayoshi Kamohara. According to Malashkhia, the Georgian side has made the Japanese parliament consider the issue relating to the occupation of Georgian territories by Russia.
The president’s interview coincided with the Georgian Patriarchate’s visit to Russia. According to the former Georgian ambassador to Russia, advisor of the Patriarchate of Georgia, Zurab Abashidze, representatives of the Russian and Georgian clergies are planning to discuss in Moscow an issue of preparation of the visit to Abkhazia by Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and the Metropolitan Pitsunda and Tskhum-Abkhazia Ilia II.
According to the Primate Georgian Orthodox Church, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, the leaders of Georgia and Russia need to come to dialogue. “I appeal to the leaders of both countries, call on them to show their wisdom, courage, and begin dialogue at various levels to consider and resolve the backlog of difficult issues,” said the Georgian Patriarch.
Yet for the most part observers can see more down-to-earth reason for ‘relaxation’ of Saakashvili’s position with regard to Moscow, not trying to connect it with changes in the Georgian leader’s approach to solving bilateral problems. Most likely, Saakashvili has received an unequivocal ‘kick’ from across the ocean, where one already almost openly complains of Georgia’s excessive activity at the cross-border Russian region. There are reports that the U.S. intelligence, when analyzing for the Senate the situation in troubled regions, including Georgia, pointed out that some moves of Tbilisi towards the North Caucasus “are mounting tension in the region.” Washington, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, allegedly did not explain what ‘steps’ exactly affect the Caucasian sensitive nerve in the Russian-Georgian relations.
In addition, some ‘dissatisfaction’ of the U.S. by Georgia’s policy in the North Caucasus is noticeable not for the first time. Thus, according to the Member of the Representative Public Organizational Group, Lasha Amirejibi, the US President Barack Obama during a recent conversation with Saakashvili, “demanded to stop speculations about the North Caucasus.”
Amirejibi also said that “particularly hard Saakashvili was told to stop provocative talks about the genocide of the Circassian people.” The Georgian president was supposedly given to understand, according to Amirejibi, that beyond the seas one is interested in good relations with Moscow. “The Circassian genocide is not your business, Saakashvili was told directly,” said Amirejibi.
Meanwhile, the First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, member of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, Alexander Torshin said that in the Domodedovo act of terror case there is a Georgian trace. A Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Security Committee Vladimir Kolesnikov considered such a statement by the senator not being without reason.
“The act of terror was organized, I am sure, from abroad... I understand that my words can cause a storm of anger and misunderstanding, but in my opinion, it was Georgia and its ruling regime,” said Torshin. In support the Senator said that the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili “does not hide his grudge” towards Russia. “He had made long ago anti-Russian attitudes a competitive product he is selling,” said Torshin.
In his commentary on the senator’s words the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Security Committee, member of the United Russia, Vladimir Kolesnikov, called the situation in Georgia and the region “difficult” and recognized not unfounded the statements by Alexander Torshin about the Georgia’s possible involvement in the terrorist attack in Domodedovo. “It is difficult for me to comment on Torshin’s statements. I guess he has appropriate reasons to make such statements. I do not rule out such a possibility, but to be categorical, it is necessary to have relevant information. However, analyzing all the component parts, I can draw an inference that these statements are not unfounded,” said Kolesnikov.