Some events of the week seem to cast long and dark shadows on the days to come.
The first and more important international issue that affected the South Caucasus, and Georgia in particular, is the self declaration of independence of Kosovo. Nation-states are based on the balance between an internally&internationally recognized territorial integrity and the protection of minorities, which should be given the tools to keep and exercise their autonomy. In case such tools are not sufficiently provided, or perceived so, the precedent of Kosovo, for the first time, may make the principle of self-determination be predominant over the one of territorial integrity.
The 15th the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov met the leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity, to discuss the effects of the recognition in respect of the situation in the two provinces, which led to a new pick of tension between Tbilisi and Moscow. The opposition declared to be against the recognition of Kosovo.
Meanwhile, it’s carrying on its struggle, warning to start a hunger strike and to turn the city into a town of tents. Just one of their demands was fulfilled, and the persisting uncertainty is going on. Still, the rally of the 15th, with 30 000 demonstrators, cannot be compared with the massive participation deployed before.
Badri Patarkatsishivili's sudden death in London, although for a heart attack, cast another dark shadow on the Georgian government, “morally responsible” for his stress. Many mass media abroad, in Russia as well as in Azerbaijan, gave much relevance to the unexpected death of the contested opposition leader, sometimes openly pointing at Saakashvili as the probable plotter of his murder, linking this episode to the other “strange February death” of Zurab Zhvania, especially before the post-mortem made clear that he had died of natural coronary disease.
At the same time, in Azerbaijan Saakashvili is often quoted for his – and not only his – thesis that the Kosovo situation is a unicum, and that should be treated as such. Of course, the fear is that the new balance of the two principles may be applied to the Karabakh issue, as well, albeit at present all the lights are all on Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Armenia is focusing on the upcoming elections, with Ter-Petrosyan gaining the support of the Heritage, New Times parties, and some defectionists from Dashank. Still, the candidature of Sargsyan seems the strongest, and the supports to Ter-Petrosyan based much more on the need to be “against”, rather than on a fully and unconditionally “for”. During the week, the voices about his meeting with Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow made much ado, let’s see if about nothing…
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