Georgian ex-president: Vladimir Putin’s return to post of Russian president is not disaster

Georgia Materials 3 October 2011 13:23 (UTC +04:00)
Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze believes Russia’s current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s returning to the post of president is not a catastrophe.

Georgia, Tbilisi, Oct. 3 / Trend , N.Kirtzkhalia /

Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze believes Russia's current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's returning to the post of president is not a catastrophe.

"Georgia can find a common language with Putin, so his return to the post of Russia's president should not be regarded as a catastrophe," Shevardnadze said in an interview with the Georgian weekly "Asaval-Dasavali.

The Georgian authorities have stated that Putin's return would be a catastrophe for Georgia and may lead to a new occupation. But Shevardnadze continues: "I have known Putin for a long time and I can definitely say he lacks hatred towards the Georgians."

He noted that relations with Putin can be established, if Georgia "would know its place", but also "its value."

"But that does not mean that if you know your worth, you should not respect others. Russia is our great neighbor and it must be respected," Shevardnadze said.

He said Russia "is not interested in occupation" of Georgian territory. "Why should it care for occupation? It has achieved its goal - Russia has established nearly complete control over key sectors of the economy, and more importantly, Moscow has recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Why, then, would it need to occupy Georgia?" he added.

Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia and later Russian troops occupied the city and drove the Georgian military back to Georgia.

Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Aug. 26 and established diplomatic relations on Sept. 9, 2008. Georgia's autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia unilaterally declared independence from Georgia after the August 2008 war.