Sunday, February 24, 2008

Week 18-24 February: Arm Wrestling and the Kosovo Syndrome

An arm wrestling match can last from few seconds to pretty long. And the end is often unpredictable.

The match between the nine opposition parties and the ruling ones in Georgia is shifting from revolution to reforms. Seven weeks passed from the Presidential Elections, and appeals to hunger strikes and rallies leave place to a more moderate rhetoric. Gachechiladze said that he wants – as well - to present the opposition to foreign observers as a real alternative to the present Government, not just as a radical force, but as a responsible, serious and capable of dialogue one. At the same time, positions are kept firm on key demands: release of political prisoners; a new general director of Public TV; replacement of the chairman of the Central Election Commission.

The match between Levon Ter-Petrosyan and the ruling government is taking shape right now. The Presidential election of 19th sanctioned the victory of the front-runner Serž Sargsyan at the first round (53%) and left Ter-Petrosyan ranked second, with his contested 21%. Then rallies started, and the swing of the numbers of participants. It’s hard to say that in the last 10 years Ter-Petrosyan made the general public regret too much that he was no longer the President, and that a overwhelming majority of population is ready to follow him in his “struggle till the end”. Still something is moving, may be in the army, where Ter-Petrosyan claimed to have relevant support. Yesterday seven Generals and eight Colonels left the Organization Yerkrapah, expressing dislike about the political role played by the organization in the election.
Those who backed his run stand by him, but it’s hard to foresee, with international recognition of acceptably free and fair elections, if such a strategy can lead to a stroke, as he seems to expect.

Another big match, that concerns the Caucasus a lot, is the one between the concepts of Nation-State and the one of Ethnic-State that is emerging after the recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
In Abkhazia and South Ossetia there are early polls for Russian Presidential Elections, and the leaders of the two provinces, together with Transdniestria should meet soon to decide what’s going to be their next step to be recognized as fully flagged independent states, notwithstanding the official declarations of Tbilisi that Kosova will not be recognized by Georgia.

The 21st Saakashvili and Putin met, and apparently the first received guarantees that Russia will not recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, thus preventing what can be described not only as the Kosovo precedent but as the Kosovo syndrome from spreading.
In the same days Ilham Aliyev was in Moscow, where he was proclaimed honorary Professor of the MGU, Moscow State University Lomonosov, for his activity in strengthening the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan. Still, the news of the official invitation to the Russian Duma of a delegation of the NK Government in March for the session about conflict-solution in the CIS space was not welcomed at all by the Azeri public opinion. Indeed, the syndrome is spreading, at least as a fear.


Marilisa Lorusso said...

On February 23 Saakashvili, Kocharian and Aliyev participated at the unofficial summit of the CIS heads of States held at the House of Receptions of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Marilisa Lorusso said...

Leaders of the CIS states have gathered in Moscow the 22th . One of the key issues to be discussed at the meeting is the concept for further development of the CIS and steps for its implementation, as well as searching for specific ways to increase effectiveness of the commonwealth activity and optimization of its structures.

Among other issues on the summit agenda are migration policy, interaction in transport and humanitarian fields. Apart from this, it is planned to draw up a draft plan of basic actions for celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War Victory, and to consider possibilities for active operation of the intestate TV and radio company MIR to form a general informational space in the CIS.

According to Russian mess media, Russian First Vice Premier Dmitriy Medvedev will make the acquaintance of CIS leaders and make a separate report during the meeting.

The unofficial meeting of CIS leaders will be held behind closed doors in the Reception House of the Russian Government, and will last for 1.5 hours.

Source: Portal of the Ukrainian Government.