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Guram Nikolaishvili: Georgia is a threat to itself with its political course and orientation

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Guram Nikolaishvili

In a comment to the media on the August 2008 war, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia spoke about the country’s European and Euro-Atlantic course and said that despite a number of difficulties, which in itself posed some obstacles, Georgia is unprecedentedly close to its historic choice. He said that the country has withstood all challenges with dignity on this path (yes, of course, it’s very decent that we lost territories and halved the country’s population, destroyed our economy and made us slaves to Europe-America. Slavery is a remarkably decent situation) and   finally proved that it is ready for membership in the Alliance. In his speech, the Prime Minister also stressed that the right policy pursued by Georgia on the path to aspiration towards Euro-Atlantic structures is properly appreciated by the Western partners, which was clearly reflected in the recent statements of support by US Congressmen. However, the Prime Minister did not explain what exactly Washington’s support for Georgia shows and reflects, or what steps can be taken in the future to more or less protect the country from the “Russian threat” invented by them …

For note: The “Republican” Congressman of the United States Adam Kinzinger said at an international online conference a few days ago that it is time for Georgia to become a full member of NATO. The ouster of the government was immediately followed by an uproar, but little was reported in the media, in which the congressman said that the occupation of one-third of the territories should not become a barrier to the country’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Against this background, the Prime Minister tells us that Georgia is unprecedentedly close to its historical choice …

 What does the Prime Minister’s statement on Georgia’s full readiness for NATO membership mean in the current situation, and what does Kinzinger’s reference to the fact that “the occupation should not be an obstacle to integration” mean in the light of all this? Lieutenant General Guram Nikolaishvili talks to us about these and other important issues.

– Mr. Guram, Prime Minister Gakharia told the media earlier that Georgia is more than ever ready for membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, which, it turns out, is also seen and appreciated by our Western partners. For their part, certain political circles in the West, mainly destructive political groups, have repeatedly told us that we should think about integration without Abkhazia and Samachablo. Recently, Kinsinger made a similar statement. What do you think about all this, what political calculations might be behind it and what will it bring us?

– I   think the rhetoric that as if Georgia is getting closer to NATO day by day and this is the result of the right policy pursued by the government, after all, has become an indicator of the weakness and incompetence of this government. What do I mean? The fact that, despite the futility of this propaganda, in terms of domestic consumption, the ruling team has no other more optimal sayings left for the people. This, no more, no less, means that the government is politically bankrupt, and not just the government, the whole spectrum, which, for 15 years now, has been running a kind of race on the path of commitment to the Euro-Atlantic structures. As for the Prime Minister’s statement on Georgia’s full readiness for membership in the Alliance, he has already “rejoiced” the society many times that Georgia is closer to NATO than ever and, if not today, we will definitely be accepted tomorrow. First of all, Gakharia is the head of the government and, at least, he should understand that any of his words have a special political significance, and secondly, can such an official make a statement without giving a single argument ?! Name at least one statistic that shows that we are making progress, say, in terms of improving defense capabilities or armaments … complete regression in all components and what readiness are we talking about ?! By the way, we have been hearing the rhetoric that we will definitely become a member of NATO since 1994, when the Partnership for Peace program was launched. Here, from that period, the Americans promised to accept us into the alliance until 1998, at least, 2000, but then, we all know how the  events developed. At first it was reasoned that Russian military bases were located here; Then, when the bases passed, they told us that democratic reforms were to be carried out; Then you have to hold free elections. In short, the promise has remained a promise, and  causes for not fulfilling it have not been exhausted.

– Years ago, when we were given specific deadlines for joining the Alliance, was this issue really on the agenda or was it still serving certain political goals?

– I will recall one fact. On April 22, 1994, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Chikvaidze, and I were in Eduard Shevardnadze’s office to discuss a number of issues. I remember it was a Latin T-shaped table. I sit on the right, Chikvaidze – on the left, naturally in the middle – the president. Chikvaidze started talking and assured Shevardnadze that NATO is ready to accept Georgia, I have already talked to the leadership and they promise us. After a short pause, Shevardnadze slapped his hand on the table and said that nothing would come out of it. I was very surprised. The management team had a completely different mood and expectations … Two days later we left for the NATO summit and there it was officially announced that we would join the project, “Partnership for Peace.” We have heard many promises as well. Now, why am I saying all this: from the very beginning, when there were still behind-the-scenes talks about Georgia becoming a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, the highest political echelons did not take it seriously. That is, the president, the country’s supreme commander-in-chief, did not believe the issue would be taken seriously and did not believe it because he adequately assessed the current political situation. And today we see that everyone, starting with the Prime Minister, ending with the President and the Speaker of the Parliament, are throwing words in the air and shouting lies from the high tribunes in such a way that they do not even formally think about convincing this lie.

 -, On the day Gakharia spoke about his readiness for NATO membership, US Congressman Adam Kinzinger stressed at one of the online conferences that the occupation should not hinder Georgia’s integration into NATO. That is, in his opinion, Georgia should be accepted without the occupied territories, i.e. We must formally renounce part of our land. Do you think that the government’s statement that Georgia has no way beyond the alliance means agreeing to join the military bloc without Abkhazia and Samachablo?

Neither with Abkhazia – Tskhinvali or without them, no one will allow us to join NATO, it has already been said by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the main thing in this case is not this, the main thing is the attitude of the country and people who have been the only guarantor of our territorial integrity since independence. As for Kinsinger, obviously, he does not express the position of the American supreme government, but, unfortunately, we do not hear such a statement for the first time. You may remember that in his time Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the same thing and then it was followed by a sharp reaction in our society. These statements are a clear demonstration that they do not even theoretically address the main state task of Georgia – the restoration of territorial integrity. Well, it would be good for journalists to ask Mr. Prime Minister what he thinks about NATO membership without the occupied territories. I know that there are people in the current government who say in private that this is permissible in the given circumstances. I wonder what the head of the government thinks about all this …

 – Some experts suggest that the manipulation of Georgia’s accession to NATO without Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region serves for irritation of Russia by the West. In the current situation, is there a real threat that the Kremlin  to make more active steps in the South?

– In September, Russia plans a large-scale military training  “Caucasus-2020”, which, according to official information, will be held at a number of land and sea training grounds. Up to 150,000 military personnel, up to 26,000 military equipment, 404 aircraft and 106 naval vessels will take part in it … This is the Kremlin’s response to any existing and expected threat posed by the confronting  political vector.

As for the threats, Georgia has been a threat to itself for the last 15 years due to its political course and orientation, and this has already become a kind of practice. The “success” of our government is determined by how it manages to serve the interests of others to its own detriment. I think as long as the country is ruled by such anomalous approaches, the threat is from the north, the south, the west and the east. It is therefore necessary to declare military neutrality and keep the country away from military blocs. Now someone will say that this is a Russian narrative and in fact we will not be allowed to become neutral, but, this is said by a group of Western-funded politicians who pursue the interests of foreign special services. Such people either have to be expelled from the political spectrum and the country in general, or to investigate  their activities and, I am sure, there will be a lot of arrests. However, I do not have the illusion of such changes under the current government. If we talk about change, first of all, we must keep in mind that both forces – the “Dream” and the “National Movement” – must be  removed forever from the  power and, there must be  no place for such anti-state entities in the political spectrum.

Interviewed by Jaba Zhvania 

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