Exactly nine years ago, Georgian artillery opened fire on the South Ossetian capital, the surrounding villages and positions of the Russian peacekeepers. Began the five-day war — the adventure of Mikhail Saakashvili, which ended with the defeat of the Georgian army and the creation of new strategic systems in the Caucasus. Now this system speaks for itself.
Nine years the date is not round, but it will be solemn – as in all previous years. Ossetian society has traditionally turned to the tragedy taking place in those August days, to the heroism of the defenders of the city and villages. This is a natural defensive reaction of national identity, since 1991, located in the informational isolation and blockade, the closed military communities.
So 8 and 9 August in Tskhinvali will be talking mostly about the memory of the dead and of the glory of the survivors in a much lesser extent, about politics. Maybe it’s for the best: the analyst – not the local Forte.
But the world was divided into “before and after” not only for the residents of Tskhinvali who survived those terrible days. It changed the whole configuration of political strategies in the Caucasus and in the broadest sense – in large parts of the former Soviet Union. That changed overnight, but for a long time, creating a new brave world. And this design was so stable that “anniversary” publications and analyses for these nine children become obtrusive and monotonous, is in the balance of power in the Caucasus, nothing has changed, and to say something new is extremely difficult.
Russia’s recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the establishment of diplomatic relations, the quartering in the new republics of the Russian military bases and large contingents, complete disintegration of the Georgian military and administrative system – all of this for years to eliminate the possibility of recurrence of bloody adventures, although the revanchist mood in Tbilisi not cancel can.
Initially in Tskhinvali remained “phantom fear”, they say, that will not be in Putin’s Russia – and Moscow we will pass the Georgians. This nonsense was justified by the “kitchen” geopolitical structure of the invention known to the local community. But with time it settled, forgotten, but the existing stable reality is still with us. In this reality there is no space for indication of a new aggression, despite the one-day visits of the Vice-President of the United States, the phrase “we Americans, shoulder to shoulder” and other romantic husk, which produces abundance of Tbilisi.
Another thing is that almost any Georgian politician or public figure who will speak about the need to recognize the independence of South Ossetia first, and the day after that will not live. There is no hope that Georgian society will ever be such a situation that force him to admit he was wrong in South Ossetia, at least since 1991 (or earlier per hundred years). The current military-political configuration – a long time, including because of a diplomatic solution to the core issue – the recognition of independence of South Ossetia from Tbilisi – no prospects. Each new generation of Georgian politicians is to nurture revanchist plans, which will remain at the level of the after-dinner conversations, because to change anything in Tbilisi. Or by third forces, or – especially – yourself.
As a specific game with daily changing rules and became the subject of “normalization of Russian-Georgian relations”. On the one hand, Tbilisi would like to have a legal possibility to influence the Russian position in the region, but sets pre-conditions, the first of which is the withdrawal of recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – just impossible.
On the other hand, Moscow made clear that the foreign policy of the Russian Federation (in separately taken region and in the whole planet) is easily accomplished without any regard to Georgia. That is, the position of Tbilisi can not be ignored, but even in the 90-ies at the Federal level were declared the importance of Georgia to Moscow as “the greater Caucasus States” and “historical ally”. As it turned out, the size is easily remedied, and on the issue of friends and allies let perform Tambov wolves.
In diplomacy it is not accepted to speak about such aloud, but by and large there is no practical need “to restore relations with Georgia,” Russia has no, and the role of a successful negotiator for all matters well takes the battery “Iskander”.
And will fulfill, because someone still has not apologized for the deaths of Russian peacekeepers.
Fall into disuse and widespread before (especially in intellectual circles) talk about “the great Georgian culture”, without which Russia can not survive. Periodically bursts of something tear on this theme are inspired from Georgia through the film and dance ensembles. But virtually the only real lobbyist for Georgian interests in Russia remained Patriarch Ilia II, who is not at the age to be considered effective in this battle. Other tools for lobbying Georgian interests in Russia, Tbilisi has left.
The massive influx of Russian tourists to the cheap ski resorts in Georgia is also the weather does. Although it would be nice to hang in front of the border checkpoint on the Georgian Military road, where the skiers cross the border, several large banners with photos of people in Tskhinvali were killed by Georgian artillery. However, this is one of those politically incorrect fiction.
The reality is that a reliable fixation of the contemporary strategic situation quickly propelled the region from active confrontation between the superpowers. “Big game” has shifted to Ukraine and the Balkans, turning the Caucasus into a quiet backwater, where the conflict is slowly and quietly even at the level of the media. Any ripple on it now looks like the tsunami, and meaningless events, public opinion sometimes blows up to gigantic proportions.
With local societies it has played a cruel joke. Rather stormy political life of South Ossetia last two or three years outside the Republic, no one was interested. Even tough election campaign for the presidency, culminating in the victory of the opposition candidate, was summoned to the Russian media, the response is only residual. However, local residents in force, again, mental characteristics still can be convinced that Vladimir Putin begins his working day with the question “and as there in Tskhinvali?” Did the asphalt on the street of Stalin?
It is worth to underline again that it took this total military defeat of Georgia in order to “RAM” the situation in the years ahead. Now visits of foreign politicians like Poroshenko on the border with South Ossetia for a few frames telephoto – maximum of what can Tbilisi. Diplomacy with Russian officials in Geneva has long become a dead ritual, a habit supported only career diplomats to save any of the historically formed a negotiating platform “just in case”. Moreover, it is possible to write the thesis, making the complex of Russian-Georgian relations are privatized part of the scientific career.
Of course, you can call it a foreign policy dead end. But only if there is a need to punch a forehead a wall of this impasse, built of revanchism and the concept of national exceptionalism, which in Georgia has no one condemned and abolished. Of course, now she’s not so Intrusive and noisy, as the President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. But it’s there, and because military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia will remain a far more effective guarantor of peace and stability in the Caucasus than the films of the “Love with an accent”. The past nine years of real proof.
The current situation can be represented as the quotient of the highway in the late evening – no one and nothing without demand you won’t. In this situation, before South Ossetia was sharply previously unknown problem of the peace of the state construction, the solution of which was extremely difficult. In Moscow like too faced for the first time (if you do not take the Soviet experience), inventing the system of “curating”, the main mistake which was ignoring everything that was in the republics until August 2008.
But “before and after” does not mean “from scratch” or “dictation”.
Because work in the region are many and much remains to be done, not reassured by the fact that the guns have fallen silent for a long time. Taking into account the errors of the past forward to a brighter future. Sounds archaic, but it is impossible to argue.
Any memorable date is pushing for the summing up by itself, even if it is impractical or pointless (on the same principle, people believe in the magic of the New year, as if January 1 begins a new life). But in a year when the war turns ten years old, really need to bring the system up. And not because the date of the round, but because too much feeling in the modern world can happen something that will give us a reason to count the results.
Meanwhile, the best proof of the stability of new political and military system in the Caucasus remains the world. And there’s nothing more important than peace obtained through military victory.
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