Monday, April 21, 2008

Week 14-20 April: Separatism or Social issues

In defining their own identities, people may rely on their job/level of life or on their cultural belonging. The first, at social level, is the economic cleavage, the second the national one. In Soviet time, because of the Marxist theory of the clash of classes, the first was the most stressed. In the era of the clash of civilizations, national issues are the most sensible ones. And thus, they can be used as tools of political pressures, if not of blackmail.

Georgian government, a month to the elections, is under the cleaver of Russian moves in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The RF government has taken the first steps for a recognition de facto of the two republics, although not yet of a political one. Putin’s instructions are that: “List of documents issued by Abkhaz and South Ossetian state agencies to individuals that are recognized by the state agencies of the Russian Federation is defined. Legal personality of legal entities, registered under the legislation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is considered as lex personalis of such legal entities, is recognized as well. Federal bodies of the executive authorities are instructed to carry out cooperation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in frames of legal assistance in the filed of civil, family and criminal laws. In case of necessity, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s local representations in Krasnodar district and in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania will perform consular functions to provide assistance to persons permanently living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia[…] It is also envisaged to develop additional proposals on concrete directions of further interaction with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in favor of the social-economic development of these republics, protection of rights of the population living there, including the Russian citizens”.

For such a step, Russian government is blaming the Saakashvili administration, “which neglects the capabilities of the existing mechanisms for establishing normal economic relations, solving social problems…”, recently addressed by the Resolution of the UN Security Council (April 15). Moscow is discrediting the present administrations in its ability to protect State’s territorial integrity, in having good relation with its neighbour, in peacefully negotiating. Its aim is to show that Russia has nothing again Georgia in itself (visa restriction to Georgian citizens has being lifted, decisions for a further normalization taken).

Karabakh is not mentioned in this effort to “promote … the stability in Caucasus”, as Lavrov said. But Razim Agaev, an Azeri political analyst, suggests that Russian support to separatism may spread to Karabakh. For sure, whoever plans a colour revolution in Azerbaijan, catching the chance of next presidential elections, must face the probability to loose the Karabakh. Or, at least, to be challenged on it.

In Armenia, the new administration will carry the same politics as the previous one, about the Karabakh issue. Another Karabakhi entered the cabinet, the Minister of Defense. But it is not the national cleavage that the new President wants to pursue. Quite the opposite, after the unpleasant and almost fratricide confrontation between Karabakhis and Armenians in the days of post-election demonstrations, the message about all the matter is just continuity and stability. The main focus of the Government is not the promotion of a micro-ethnicity (like Kosovarism, as a different Albanian identity), but social issues, the only ones that, if dealt successfully, can provide legitimacy and consensus to the four parties coalition government and the President.

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