08.08.2013 Author: Andrey Belyaev

South Ossetia and Georgia: The Five Year Mark

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South Ossetia celebrates the fifth anniversary of the military conflict with Georgia as a partially recognized state.The states that drowns in miles and miles of barbed wire, presented with a handful of economic challenges that, it seems at times, cannot be addressed without the external help, the troubled state.

 But there’s people who look at this situation from a different perspective – says the Russian Ambassador in South Ossetia Dmitry Medoev. He’s pretty confident that there’s still room for hope and optimism in this state today due to its geographical position and the deposits of natural resources. All these allows the young Republic to improve its economic situation within a relatively short time span. “If they play it right” – D.Medoev insists – “there will be a drastic change”.

A 20 years long political and economical siege of this country has put it in dire straits. And the Georgian military aggression has struck the final blow on the well-being of South Ossetia. But this was a prosperous region back in the USSR days D.Medoev says, and there’ s no preventing it from development today.

“What is of utmost importance is to create a legislative field in South Ossetia, that will be adequate to the present day realities. When it’s done, we can negotiate the possible invesments” – hints D.Medoev.

It’s clear that when we’re talking about investments, we speak about the Russian interest in the economical development of this country. There’s little chance that other countries are going to invest their funds in the partially recognized state. There’s a chance that Venezuela that has recognized South Ossetia is going to help it, but it looks more like a wishful thinking that anything else.

After the so-called Five-Day-War in South Ossetia, the Russian Federation took the responsibilities of providing peace and stability in this country. But some aspects of bilateral relations of the two countries are getting on the nerves of the South Ossetian politics. According to the recent statement that the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvev has made during his interview to Russia Today TV channel shows that Russia is not going to prevent South Ossetia and Abkahzia from reuniting with Georgia if the people of the former two states see it fit.

This statement was considered to be a good omen in Tbilisi. Today the former pro-national regime in Georgia, out of the blue, starts to call the former “separatists and unworthy traitors” no less than “the dear Abkazian and South Ossetian neigbours”. It doesn’t mean that Georgians have turned back on the idea of bringing the two former regions back. The difference is in the methods they are ready to employ to achieve this goal. According to the Georgian authorities they want to show that it’s more convenient to leave within Georgia borders than across them.

This position is not new, the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was a keen defender of the creation of the attractive image of Georgia, telling time and time again that he wanted Georgia to be a home for anybody, regardless of his nationality or believes. But when the things got complicated Saakashvili decided that such a hospitable country as Georgia can easily point barrels at its former citizens.

“Discussing a so-called friendly approach to the conflict may and will be regarded as a childish position. South Ossetia is a country, independent country and it’s a fact. The Georgian authorities don’t want to look at the situation this way. But sooner or later they will have to understand that they must find a way to build respectful bilateral relations with South Ossetia. But it takes political maturity, which is a rare thing in the present day Georgia” – says D.Medoev.

As far as the Georgian refugees are concerned, Dmitry Medoev believes that they would be better called Saakashvili’s accomplices, since they left their house more than two weeks before the conflict started. This means that they were aware of the Georgian intentions and approved of them. They should hold responsible themselves and their government for the property they’ve lost.

Andrey Belyaev, an expert on  South Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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