Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr A. Gasymova / The Georgian President's Decree on cessation of interaction with Russia regarding activities pertaining to the Georgian-Osetian conflict is the first alarm signal of escalation of tensions in the Caucasus. "The act of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, reflects Georgia's current policy towards Russia, revealing the depth of a mutual distrust between the Russian and Georgian Administrations," the Director of the Moscow Department of the Heritage Foundation, politician Yevgeni Volk, said.
Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, has already signed the decree on cessation of the effect term of the agreement between the Georgian and Russian Governments on interaction in restoration of economy in the area of the Georgian-Osetian conflict and returning of refugees. The decree was signed as far back as in April 2007. However it has been publicized only recently.
Tbilisi officials repeatedly warned about the possibility of a cessation of the effect term of the agreement in case the Russian side does not stop unilateral operations in the area of the Georgian-Osetian conflict and does not coordinates them with the Georgian Administration. The problem in question is irrespective of donors of the OSCE direct financing of different projects in the territory under control of the Authorities of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Osetia.
On 21 June, Volk reported from Moscow, that despite the politeness and self-respect demonstrated by the Georgian and Russian Presidents during their last meeting in Saint-Petersburg, the disagreements between the two countries are deep. "Saakashvili openly supports the West and does so through establishing relationships with the United States and the European Union, while Russia considers Georgia to be within its geopolitical zone like other post-Soviet countries," the politician noted.
According to Volk, the main struggle between the countries is caused by two major factors - Abkhazia and South Osetia.
The Georgian-Abkhazian conflict is an ethno-political conflict between the Georgian central power and the separatist administration of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia. Tensions between Georgians and Abkhazians escalated at the beginning of the 1980s. They were caused by the calls of Georgian national groups for independence from the USSR. Meanwhile, on 18 October 2006 , the National Assembly of Abkhazia applied to the Russian Administration requiring recognition of its independence and establishment of corresponding relationships between the two countries.
The Georgian-Osetian conflict began in 1989. It was caused by the formation and rapid development of the national movement in Georgia, as well as the empowerment of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who promoted the slogan ' Georgia for Georgians'.
" Russia is determined to provide independence for Abkhazia and include it as a Republic in the Russian Federation. The majority of the Abkhazian population has already been issued Russian citizenship. Georgia, however, does not want to recognize those territorial formations as independent," Volk said.
According to the politician, the matter will depend on the settlement of the Kosovo problem. If the independence of Kosovo is recognized then Russia will easily achieve recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Osetia. "That will be a serious factor in further complicating the relationship between Russia and Georgia," Volk added.