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Rosa Solanes

Envíos 21

Enviado - 30 septiembre 2006 :  12:47:02  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Per a tot el que faci referència a l'enfrontament bèl·lic entre Geòrgia i Rússia iniciat el 8 d'agost de 2008 a Ossètia del Sud, vegeu OSSÈTIA / OSETIA (http://casadelest.org/foro/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=483).

Para todo lo que se refiera al enfrentamiento bélico entre Georgia y Rusia iniciado el 8 de agosto de 2008 en Osetia del Sur, véase OSSÈTIA / OSETIA (http://casadelest.org/foro/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=483).


Georgia charges four Russian officers with spying
Sep 29 2006, 11:10

Source: Kyiv Post

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Georgia on Friday charged four Russian officers with spying and was to put them on trial later in the day, a police spokesman said, as relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbors plummeted to a new low.

Shota Khizanishvili, spokesman for the Interior Minister, said the espionage charges were officially filed against four Russian military officers who were detained on Wednesday. A fifth officer, who served as a contract soldier, was released Friday, he said.

Meanwhile, Russia prepared to evacuate some of its citizens from Georgia, citing security concerns.

Infuriated by the detention of the officers, Moscow announced Thursday that it was recalling its ambassador, evacuating its diplomats and complained to the United Nations over Tbilisi's action. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov denounced Georgia as a "bandit" state.

Bilateral ties long have been strained over Georgia's bid to join NATO and Moscow's close links to Georgia's breakaway provinces.

The relations were further strained Friday when an official in one of Georgia's unrecognized breakaway provinces claimed that Georgian security officers beat a group of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone.

Irina Gagloyeva, spokeswoman for the internationally unrecognized South Ossetian government, said masked Georgian officers stopped a car carrying four Russian peacekeepers, a woman and a child in the village of Avnevi Thursday night. She said they shot at the car's wheels, and ordered the men out and beat them. One of the peacekeepers sustained a fractured skull, she said.

After being released, the peacekeepers drove to a nearby checkpoint maintained by Georgian police, who told them that the masked soldiers were elite Defense Ministry troops, Gagloyeva said.

Paata Bedianashvili, spokesman for Georgian peacekeepers in the region, denied the allegations. "It's all rubbish, nothing like that took place," he said.

Bedianashvili said Georgian police did stop a car containing Russian peacekeepers, but merely checked their documents and let them go.

The detentions on Wednesday prompted a barrage of angry statements from Moscow and a decision to begin a partial evacuation of Russian personnel and their families "in connection with a growing threat to their security." It said government planes would begin taking Russians out of the country on Friday.

The Foreign Ministry alerted all Russians to refrain from traveling to Georgia, and the embassy in Tbilisi stopped issuing visas to Georgian citizens.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili denounced the Russian moves as hysteria. "Russian personnel and their families face absolutely no threat here," he said.

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have become increasingly tense since Saakashvili came to power following Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution, pledging to move the country out of Russia's orbit.

Tbilisi officials have accused Russia of backing separatists in Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and making efforts to undermine Saakashvili's government - allegations Russia has denied.

Editado por - alazaro a las 09 agosto 2008 15:20:43


Envíos 10057

Enviado - 02 octubre 2006 :  22:52:47  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russia cuts links with Georgia as spy crisis worsens

By Devika Bhat and Tony Halpin
Times Online, London, October 02, 2006

Russia has suspended transport and communication links with Georgia today as the row over an alleged spying ring worsened, despite Georgian attempts to defuse the crisis.

Georgia this afternoon released four Russian military officers charged with espionage over to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The detention of the officers in Tbilisi has infuriated Moscow, which responded by recalling its Ambassador, evacuating scores of diplomats and their families in an emergency airlift and blocking the issue of any new visas for Georgians. Russian troops in Georgia have also been put on high alert.

Today, in further retaliation, the Russian transport and communication ministries said that all air, road, rail, sea and postal links would be suspended, despite Georgia’s announcement that the Russian officers would be released imminently. Russian carrier Aeroflot said it would stop all flights to Georgia from tomorrow.

Russia had previously threatened to impose economic sanctions against Georgia if it did not free the four men. Cutting off transport and communication links could lead to severe hardship in the small mountainous republic, which depends heavily on Russia for trade, energy and power.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have reached their worst in years after the arrest of the soldiers, who Georgian authorities claim were caught on video conspiring with Georgian citizens, exchanging money and discussing military installations, a charge dismissed by Moscow.

The four appeared in court on Friday, where they were formally charged with spying and ordered to be detained for a further two months, a move which was today replaced by the decision to hand over the men to the OSCE instead.

The men were released this afternoon to the transatlantic security body after talks between Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian President, and Karel De Gucht, Belgian Foreign Minister and current chairman of the OSCE.

A Georgian official read a statement to each of the four officers, informing them they were being expelled from the country on suspicion of espionage and would not be permitted to return. Each was then seated in a separate OSCE vehicle and driven away.

"We just wanted to show that we defend our national interests and that Russia like any other country should respect these interests," said Georgy Arveladze, Georgian presidential chief-of-staff. "It was not our goal to punish these people."

A spokesman for the OSCE in Vienna said the four would then be taken to the airport from where they would board a Russian plane home.

Mr De Gucht called for Russia to withdraw the transport and communications sanctions. "It’s very important that air traffic should be restored and land borders opened and normal transactions should again be possible between Russia and Georgia," he said.

Discussing the decision to free the men today, Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian President, told reporters that his country wanted to have good relations with Moscow but was not willing to be treated as a second-class state.

"We have a very solid case of espionage, subversion, trying to destabilise my country," he said, according to Reuters news agency.

Mr Saakashvili earlier accused the Kremlin of hysteria in its reaction to the arrests of the officers, saying that there was no threat to the security of Russians in Georgia.

Russian ministers and media have reacted furiously to what they regard as the latest in a series of provocations by Mr Saakashvili.

In a sign of further punitive measures, Boris Gryzlov, the Russian parliamentary speaker said the State Duma lower house planned to pass legislative amendments that would allow the government to ban banking operations with certain countries, Interfax agency reported.

If passed, such amendments would have dire consequences for the estimated one million Georgians in Russia sending £1 billion a year to relatives at home, helping to keep its impoverished economy afloat.

Vladimir Yakunin, the head of the Russian railways, meanwhile said that Russia would cancel a planned order worth 100 million roubles (US$3.75m) for spare parts for electric locomotives from Georgia, according to ITAR-Tass.

Yesterday Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, commented publicly on the crisis for the first time, denouncing the arrest of the Russian officers as "state terrorism," and accusing Georgian leaders of behaving like Stalinists.

Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Defence Minister, has accused Georgia of using the crisis to create a pretext for regaining control by force of two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are patrolled by Russian peacekeeping troops. Many of the people in both regions have Russian passports.

The dispute has plunged relations between Georgia and Russia to their worst level since Mr Saakashvili was swept to power in the Rose Revolution of November 2003.

He has clashed repeatedly with Moscow since then in his pursuit of pro-Western policies, including membership of Nato, that are intended to pull Georgia out of the Russian orbit.

Mr Saakashvili has accused Russia of trying to overthrow his regime and of supporting the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. World leaders have urged both sides to exercise restraint. Russia had appealed to the UN Security Council to condemn Georgia, but the United States and Britain objected to the wording of its resolution.

Mr Saakashvili earlier accused the Kremlin of hysteria in its reaction to the arrests of the officers, saying that there was no threat to the security of Russians in Georgia.

Russian ministers and media have reacted furiously to what they regard as the latest in a series of provocations by Mr Saakashvili.

In a sign of further punitive measures, Boris Gryzlov, the Russian parliamentary speaker said the State Duma lower house planned to pass legislative amendments that would allow the government to ban banking operations with certain countries, Interfax agency reported.

If passed, such amendments would have dire consequences for the estimated one million Georgians in Russia sending £1 billion a year to relatives at home, helping to keep its impoverished economy afloat.

Vladimir Yakunin, the head of the Russian railways, meanwhile said that Russia would cancel a planned order worth 100 million roubles (US$3.75m) for spare parts for electric locomotives from Georgia, according to ITAR-Tass.

Yesterday Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, commented publicly on the crisis for the first time, denouncing the arrest of the Russian officers as "state terrorism," and accusing Georgian leaders of behaving like Stalinists.

Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Defence Minister, has accused Georgia of using the crisis to create a pretext for regaining control by force of two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are patrolled by Russian peacekeeping troops. Many of the people in both regions have Russian passports.

The dispute has plunged relations between Georgia and Russia to their worst level since Mr Saakashvili was swept to power in the Rose Revolution of November 2003.

He has clashed repeatedly with Moscow since then in his pursuit of pro-Western policies, including membership of Nato, that are intended to pull Georgia out of the Russian orbit.

Mr Saakashvili has accused Russia of trying to overthrow his regime and of supporting the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. World leaders have urged both sides to exercise restraint. Russia had appealed to the UN Security Council to condemn Georgia, but the United States and Britain objected to the wording of its resolution.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 02 octubre 2006 :  23:00:40  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
(El punto de vista ruso)


20:00 | 02/ 10/ 2006

¿Cómo ha de reaccionar el Kremlin al desafío lanzado por Mijaíl Saakashvili? Rusia está condenada a la confrontación con las actuales autoridades de Georgia. De ahí, al enfrentarse con tal adversario se puede emplear los métodos más duros. Lo fundamental es que sean "adecuados" (precisamente este término utilizó la semana pasada el ministro de Defensa, Sergei Ivanov).

Después de que en marzo pasado Rusia decretara la prohibición de importar vinos y agua mineral de Georgia, el arca pública de Georgia percibió 80 millones de dólares menos de lo que se esperaba. Otro punto flaco es la energía. Georgia de hecho depende plenamente de la importación del gas ruso: 1.800 millones de metros cúbicos al año. Ahora Moscú lo vende a $110 por mil metros cúbicos. Si mañana Moscú decide subir el precio o cortar los suministros, Georgia tendrá que buscar urgentemente fuentes alternativas. Gasprom en reiteradas ocasiones anunció el propósito de exportar gas a los países de la CEI a precios mundiales. Las centrales hidroeléctricas de Georgia generan suficiente energía solo en primavera, cuando en los ríos hay suficiente caudal.

Pero el principal instrumento de influencia son los migrantes laborales. Según apreciaciones del Servicio Federal de Migración, el año pasado, llegaron de Georgia a Rusia más de 320 mil personas. Sólo el 1% de este total cumplimentó todos los trámites reglamentarios. Al propio tiempo, la suma que transfieren a su patria los georgianos residentes en Rusia alcanza el 20% del PIB de Georgia.

"Las consecuencias del empeoramiento de las relaciones con Rusia serán muy notables para la economía de Georgia. De ello no cabe la menor duda -afirma Konstantín Kosachov, presidente del comité parlamentario para asuntos internacionales-. Pero espero que las cosas no lleguen a tal extremo. En un buen momento el pueblo de Georgia parará a sus dirigentes y les hará entrar en razón".

(RIA Novosti, Moscú. - http://sp.rian.ru/onlinenews/20061002/54452704.html)
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 03 octubre 2006 :  20:39:36  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Eurasia Insight


Diana Petriashvili: 10/02/06

In a surprise move, Georgia on October 2 released four Russian officers arrested for espionage, and agreed to the inclusion of Russian peacekeepers in international monitoring of the Kodori Gorge, a strip of Georgian-controlled territory in the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Despite earlier contrary statements by Russian military officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also confirmed that Russia’s troop withdrawal from Georgia will continue as planned. Nonetheless, Moscow’s response to the arrests does not promise to soften. The Kremlin has announced the suspension of all transportation and postal ties with Georgia, while the Russian Duma has announced plans to stop money transfers "to certain countries."

In a televised ceremony late in the afternoon on October 2 at the General Prosecutor’s Office, Georgia handed over the four Russian officers recently arrested on espionage charges to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The officers, escorted by police, were transported in OSCE cars to Tbilisi’s airport, where a plane from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations flew them to Moscow. The decision to hand the officers over occurred after talks between Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Karel De Gucht, who flew to Tbilisi on October 2 to discuss the spy crisis with the Georgian leader.

Commenting on the decision to reporters, President Saakashvili stressed that the handover represented "a good gesture towards Georgia’s Western friends," but not a reaction to perceived Russian threats. According to the president, the Georgian side has also handed over to the OSCE evidence in its case against the arrested officers.

Four Russian officers and 11 Georgian citizens were arrested on September 27 and charged with espionage. On September 29, the Tbilisi City Court ordered the officers to remain in pre-trial detention. The Georgian prisoners remain in custody. A greatly reduced police presence was continuing in front of the Russian military headquarters, where the Georgian government alleges a fifth espionage suspect is hiding.

What the handover means for this officer remains unclear. A representative of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s press office stated that the government believes that the officer, identified as Lt Col. Konstantin Pichugin, is still on Georgian territory, but did not choose to make an official statement "because of the handover of the spies to the OSCE." Russian officials have denied the government’s claims, and have stated that Pichugin is in "a safe location."

Prior to the release, the Russian Ministry of Transportation stated that it had stopped all air, rail, car, and sea traffic with Georgia. According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the ministry also announced on October 2 that postal communications between Russia and Georgia would be suspended.

Meanwhile, in the Duma, proposed amendments to existing legislation would end all money transfers "to certain countries" in emergency situations. "The Duma must react to this situation," Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said, RIA Novosti reported. He added that "$350 million was officially sent [by Georgian labor migrants] from Russia; according to non-official data, this amount amounts to over $1 billion." A vote is expected on October 4.

The thousands of Georgians who work in Russia as seasonal laborers could also come under scrutiny. Thirteen Georgian citizens, including children, have been arrested in Moscow for allegedly working illegally in Russia, Rustavi-2 reported Georgian Consul in Moscow Zurab Pataradze as saying. The Georgian Embassy in Moscow has reported that deportation proceedings against the 13 detainees are in progress.

Georgian politicians reacted to the news of Russia’s transportation and postal services ban as fresh proof of a Russian strategy to pressure Georgia into letting Moscow have its own way.

"By acting this way, Russia intends to make Georgia do what Russia wants," David Kirkitadze, a parliamentarian from the ruling National Movement Party, stated at a news briefing. "Russia wants us to refuse to restore Georgia’s territorial integrity," he said in reference to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia which the Saakashvili administration wants to recover.

One key concession, however, appears to have been made by Tbilisi with the announcement of the government’s decision to no longer oppose the inclusion of Russian peacekeepers among an international peacekeeping contingent that would monitor the situation in the Kodori Gorge. Late on October 2, the office of Georgia’s State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues released a statement that said that Tbilisi had agreed to accept Russian peacekeepers as part of any international peacekeeping force, after "taking into account the opinions of the international community and the parties involved," English-language excerpts published on the Civil Georgia news bulletin site read. Responses from Moscow and the de facto Abkhazian leadership have not yet been made public.

Throughout the crisis, the issue of Georgia’s relations with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has continued to simmer. On October 2, both Sergei Bagapsh, the de facto president of Abkhazia, and de facto South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity announced that they would withdraw from peace talks with the Georgians. The press service of the de-facto Abkhazian leader issued a statement saying that the Georgian side is violating existing peace agreements by keeping troops in the Kodori Gorge, while South Ossetia’s Eduard Kokoity claimed that Georgia has not responded to South Ossetian proposals to hold peace talks in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, RIA Novosti reported.

Both Bagapsh and Kokoity took part on September 29 in a round table discussion on economic development in southern Russia chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met separately with Bagapsh to discuss the conflict with Georgia over Abkhazia, news reports stated. The Russian president’s official website listed both de-facto leaders as the "presidents" of states neighboring Russia.

In response to the meeting, the Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that argued that Russia had shown "once again" that it "is not and cannot be an unbiased and impartial mediator in the process of settlement of conflicts in Georgia. This once again confirms the need for an immediate change in the existing formats of the negotiating process and the peacekeeping operation."

Meanwhile, Russian officials maintain that their security concerns continue. On September 30, the Russian embassy evacuated all remaining staff and their families from Tbilisi except for two diplomats and a security guard detail.

The commander of Russian troops in Georgia, Andrei Popov, also announced on October 1 that special buses would be used to transport the children of Russian servicemen in Georgia to school to prevent the students’ arrest as spies. "Of course. Why not? They certainly could," Popov told Georgian Public Television when asked to confirm his worry that Georgian law enforcement would arrest the children.

In keeping with that tact, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Georgia of using Stalinist techniques in its arrest of the four officers for espionage, describing the act as "state terrorism with hostage-taking."

"It is a sign of the heritage of Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria [a notorious ethnic Georgian chief of the Soviet secret police under Joseph Stalin] both inside of the country and in the international arena," Putin said in an October 1 meeting with the Russian Security Council, Russian news agencies reported.

"It is absolutely clear that there are attempts to pinch Russia as painfully as possible, to provoke it. This should be obvious to everyone," Putin continued in reference to the spy dispute with Georgia. "These people think that they can feel comfortable and secure under the roof of their foreign sponsors."

In an apparent attempt to show that Moscow cannot be provoked, Putin also stated that the troop withdrawal from Russian bases in the Georgian towns of Akhalkalaki, Batumi and Russian forces’ headquarters in Tbilisi would continue. On Saturday, September 20, the Russian commander for the North Caucasus, General Alexander Baranov, had announced that the withdrawal would be suspended. All three military installations were also placed on high alert, according to Russian news agencies.

Responding to Putin’s charges, President Saakashvili argued that the Russian leader had overreacted. "I don’t think this is serious… It is an overreaction caused by nervousness that they have created by themselves," Rustavi-2 television reported Saakashvili as telling foreign journalists in the Black Sea port city of Batumi. "They have become hostages of their own propaganda," Georgian president commented.

"Some people could consider our action as something that has been coordinated by Washington. This is not true. The US State Department made it very clear that this is a bilateral issue between Georgia and Russia," Saakashvili added. The Russian presidential press office issued a statement on October 2 that Putin had discussed the situation in Georgia with US President George W. Bush.

To many in the Georgian capital, problems with the Russian troops’ pull-out had looked like one of the possible consequences of this crisis. Now, however, attention is focusing in other directions.

At a September 30 news conference, Georgian Fuel and Energy Minister Nika Gelauri downplayed the possibility that Moscow would cut off electricity and gas supplies to Georgia, as some Russian politicians have urged the government to do. The minister told media that Georgia is ready to import power from Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran, the Georgian television station Imedi reported.

"We will be able to import at least 50 megawatts of electricity from Armenia," Gelauri said referring to a recent meeting in Yerevan where Georgian, Armenian and Iranian energy ministry officials participated. "We will continue talks to increase this amount." Gelauri added that in case of necessity Georgia will import 100 megawatts of power from Turkey. Azerbaijan, he told reporters, has reportedly agreed to supply Georgia with 300 million cubic meters of gas this year, a fivefold increase from initially planned amounts.

Little can be done to prepare for other events, however. A demonstration by 20 Russian youths outside the Georgian embassy in Moscow continued on Monday, with participants expressing support for the arrested Russian officers and carrying banners condemning the Saakashvili administration. On September 30, Russian television showed footage of a man darting out of the embassy to give a kick in the seat to one of the demonstrators being restrained by police. The footage has prompted strong protests from Russian media commentators and pundits, but has elicited no public response yet from Tbilisi.

Editor’s Note: Diana Petriashvili is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 04 octubre 2006 :  20:31:01  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
As Russian-Georgian relations hit a new low, the whole region is nervous

By Mikhail Vignansky in Tbilisi

"I have a ticket to fly to Moscow tomorrow. Will I be able to fly?" enquires a caller to Tbilisi airport's information bureau. "There are no flights to Russia right now. Could you call later? Things may change," comes the response.

Over the past few days, operators at the bureau have had to deal with a flood of such calls.

With Russia and Georgia experiencing probably their stormiest row since the collapse of the Soviet Union 15 years ago, Moscow has effectively declared a blockade of Georgia, cancelling all transport and postal links with its southern neighbour. The shutdown is also hurting ordinary people and businesses in Armenia and the North Caucasus.

The tough measures followed the very public arrest on September 27 of four Russian military officers whom the Georgian authorities accused of spying - and continued to do so even after their release.

Initially, Georgia refused to return the arrested, later changing its mind. But even the nature of the handover of the four was insulting for Moscow. Lieutenant colonels Dmitry Kazantsev, Alexander Savva, Alexander Baranov and Captain Alexander Zavgorodny listened to the accusations of espionage against them outside the Georgian general prosecutor's office on October 2 and were then told they were being deported.

Georgian foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili and current OSCE chairman in office and Belgian foreign minister Karel De Gucht, who had come to Georgia specially to resolve the crisis, were present for this rather theatrical ceremony.

Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov who met the officers at the airport in Moscow stressed that the men who were "spies" in Georgia were heroes in Russia.

President Mikheil Saakashvili said "there are no threats that can intimidate Georgia", but also pointed out that he wanted a good relationship with Russia. "We do not need Russian military officers but we need Russian tourists. We do not need Russian spies but we need Russian business. Russia and Georgia are historic partners. Our countries are linked by cultures and national traditions and have always lived side by side," said the Georgian leader.

In a conciliatory gesture, Georgia has also agreed to allow Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia to monitor the Kodori Gorge region alongside UN peacekeepers, something it had previously opposed.

Karel De Gucht urged Moscow to cancel its blockade and "defuse the situation".

Russian president Vladimir Putin had earlier accused "foreign sponsors" of being behind an attempt to "pinch" his country "as hard as possible." And he reportedly told US president George Bush that "any actions by third countries that could be interpreted by Georgia as encouragement of its destructive policy are unacceptable".

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze said it was significant that the men had been handed over to an intermediary, not directly to Russia. "So even if this was a concession on Georgia's part, it was made to the international community. The international community wanted to regulate the crisis and we decided not to cause them problems. It means that Georgia needs a mediator to speak with Russia," he said.

Georgian politicians dismiss the charge that they are being encouraged in Washington. Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze told IWPR, "Russian political circles seem to be running short of imagination.... Even if we presume that all this is being dictated from overseas, which is absolutely untrue, it nevertheless becomes clear how weak Russia's position is. This means that Russia cannot dictate to Georgia what is advantageous for it but the United States, which is thousands of kilometres away can do this."

Flights between the two countries were halted at midnight Moscow time on October 3 and Russia has also severed maritime, road, and railway links as well as postal communications with Georgia.

Russian parliamentary speaker Boris Gryzlov said, "The sanctions that Russia is imposing are directed against the Saakashvili authorities, not against the Georgian people."

However, it is ordinary Georgian citizens who are suffering the most. "I couldn't go to my brother's funeral to Moscow. My heart is breaking with grief," said Shota who had not left Tbilisi airport for three days, waiting for a flight to Moscow.

Citizens of landlocked Armenia are also desperately worried about the blockade on Georgia, as Georgia provides them with their main land route to Russia. Businessmen are complaining of halted cargos and potentially huge losses.

"In the long-term this could do serious damage to the economy of Armenia as our route not only to Georgia itself but to the countries of the CIS and Europe lies via Georgia," said Tatul Manaserian, economist and member of the Armenian parliament.

Vahan Hovhannesian, deputy speaker of parliament, said, "I think it is not the first time that Russia is defining its relations with Georgia and not taking into account the interests of Armenia. Maybe they expect understanding from us, but I for one don't have any. Because Russia, which is our strategic ally, whether it wants it or not, is taking part in the blockade of Armenia."

Many in the Russian North Caucasus are also unhappy. The main border crossing between North Ossetia and Georgia at Verkhny Lars has been closed since July for "repair work". A demonstration was held in Vladikavkaz in September calling for the crossing to be reopened. "Not just Georgians living in North Ossetia but also Ossetians took part in it," said Alexander Rekhviashvili of Vladikavkaz University. "Both are losing a great deal because the border is closed."

In Georgia, people are afraid above all of a cold winter without the electricity and gas that Georgia mainly receives from Russia.

Although the Georgia's energy ministry frequently reassures people with statements about alternative energy resources in the event of an energy blockade by Russia, on the very first day of the downturn in Russian-Georgian relations, pensioner Nelly Kakabadze found time to go to the marketplace and buy a kerosene heater.

"I should also stock up on kerosene and flour. Warmth and bread are the only things that I need," she told IWPR.

The Russian Duma is also considering banning money transfers to - and other banking operations - with Georgia. This information was especially painful news in Georgia. According to information here, during the first eight months of this year, 324 million dollars in transfers was sent to Georgia from foreign countries. By far the largest amount - 219 million dollars - was transferred from Russia and 61 million dollars was sent from Georgia to Russia during the same period. According to Russian data broadcast by the Russian television channel NTV, the remittances to Georgia from Russia are worth 330 million dollars, which is equal to US assistance for Georgia over the last three years.

Georgians living in Russia say that restrictions are already being imposed on them. "Yesterday (October 3), there were long lines of Georgians in almost all banks in Moscow, as we knew that money transfers would soon be stopped," Nani Baramidze who lives in Moscow, told IWPR. "However, by four o'clock yesterday, we were told that it is already impossible to transfer money to Georgia. I have parents there and I send them a small sum every month. I do not know what to do."

There are also expectations in Tbilisi of a rise in the price of energy resources and food products, including bread.

Economic expert Niko Orvelashvili said it was quite possible Russia would move to raise the price of the energy it supplies to Georgia or suspend supplies altogether. "If Russia uses the lever of energy resources for political purposes, it will show the entire international community that it cannot be a reliable partner in this field," he said. "Anyway, our authorities should already be thinking about creating stocks of oil products and people about how to survive one more 'dark' winter."

The crisis has also changed the domestic political climate in Georgia. Ahead of the October 5 local elections, almost all political movements, including the opposition, stated that, despite internal divisions, they had no differences from the government on policy towards Russia. Opposition Conservative Party leader Koba Davitashvili called for a "human chain" to be made round the Russian embassy on October 4 as a demonstration of Georgian unity.

"Russian politicians should not harbour any illusions that any pressure not only on the government but also Georgia and the Georgian nation will achieve results, and forces that will agree to succumb to Russia's will can emerge in this country," he said.

Mikhail Vignansky is a correspondent for Spanish news agency EFE and the Moscow newspaper Vremya Novostei. Armenian journalists Tatul Hakobian and Diana Markosian and IWPR North Caucasus coordinator Valery Dzutsev also contributed to this report.

(From IWPR'S CAUCASUS REPORTING SERVICE, No. 360, October 4, 2006.)
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 06 octubre 2006 :  23:03:45  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Georgia e Russia ai ferri corti
scrive Mihaela Iordache

L’arresto da parte delle autorità di Tblisi di 4 ufficiali russi accusati di spionaggio ha messo a dura prova i già tesi rapporti tra la Georgia e la Russia. Nonostante il rilascio degli ufficiali la crisi tra i due paesi continua

I già difficili rapporti tra la Georgia e la Russia si sono ulteriormente deteriorati nei giorni scorsi. Mercoledì scorso (27 settembre) le autorità georgiane hanno arrestato - con l'accusa di spionaggio - quattro ufficiali russi del GRU, il sevizio segreto militare. Per rappresaglia la Russia ha ritirato l’ambasciatore a Tbilisi, evacuato i diplomatici russi e posto le basi militari russe in Georgia in stato di allerta; alle truppe è stato anche ordinato di sparare a vista su ogni provocatore. Centinaia di agenti della polizia georgiana hanno circondato il quartiere generale delle forze armate russe vicino a Tbilisi allo scopo di ottenere la consegna del colonnello delle truppe russe in Transcaucasia, Konstantin Pugachin, anch’egli accusato di spionaggio.

Mosca dispone in Georgia di oltre 2000 militari dislocati "con compiti di pace" è pare non essere intesa a ritirarli presto nonostante in passato abbia assunto impegni in tal senso. Il contenzioso russo-georgiano riveste infatti connotazioni di natura politica e geostrategica. Il pretesto di mantenere la pace nelle due repubbliche separatiste Abhkazia e Ossezia del Sud - peraltro non riconosciute da alcuno stato al mondo, abitate da gruppi etnici filo russi e teatro di ripetute violenze - dall'inizio degli anni novanta permette alla Russia di avere truppe sul territorio della Georgia, il cui governo filo occidentale si sforza di accelerare i negoziati per l’adesione alla NATO.

Mosca ha concesso passaporti della Federazione russa a molti cittadini delle repubbliche separatiste e molti aspirano all’unione con la Russia. È sullo sfondo dei già tesissimi rapporti che è accaduto nei giorni scorsi l’arresto dei quattro ufficiali di Mosca, definito dal ministro degli esteri russo Serghei Lavrov una provocazione, un atto politico orchestrato contro la Russia.

Oltre ai quattro russi, Tbilisi ha arrestato anche 12 cittadini georgiani, accusati di collaborare con Mosca. Secondo il ministro dell’interno georgiano, Vano Merabishvili, le persone arrestate stavano per preparare una provocazione di grandi proporzioni, avevano mostrato particolare interesse per le capacità della difesa della Georgia, per il programma di adesione alla NATO, per la sicurezza energetica, per i partiti politici e organizzazioni e raccoglievano informazioni sulle forze armate e le infrastrutture. Per documentare una parte delle accuse, le autorità di Tbilisi hanno reso pubblico un filmato che - affermano - mostrerebbe gli ufficiali russi mentre parlano con cittadini georgiani sui dispositivi militari della Georgia offrendo loro denaro in cambio di informazioni. Le autorità di Tbilisi sono anche certe che Mosca appoggi i separatisti dell'Abhkazia e dell’Ossezia del Sud, minando così la sovranità della Georgia.

Nei giorni scorsi il presidente del Parlamento della Georgia, Nino Burdzhanadze, aveva provato a modo suo ad usare un tono moderato, cercando di fornire assicurazioni sul fatto che gli ufficiali russi avrebbero ricevuto un processo equo dalla giustizia georgiana. "Siamo un paese democratico dove tutto deve essere basato sulle procedure legali sicché la giustizia deciderà se queste persone sono o no colpevoli. Saranno trattati secondo le leggi internazionali. Quelli che sono amici della Georgia sono benvenuti, ma quelli che vogliono minare la sicurezza del nostro paese saranno aspramente puniti.” - annuncia il parlamentare georgiano.

Intanto la Russia dopo aver respinto tutte le accuse delle autorità di Tbilisi aveva avvertito che sarebbe ricorsa a tutti i mezzi a sua disposizione per liberare gli ufficiali russi. Dopo aver ritirato il suo ambasciatore a Tbilisi, Mosca ha raccomandato ai cittadini russi di non visitare la Georgia e ha sospeso i visti per i georgiani. La Federazione Russa ha chiesto al Consiglio di Sicurezza dell'ONU di prendere posizione rispetto “le provocazioni inaccettabili e pericolose della Georgia”.

In una prima fase, un portavoce del ministero della difesa russo aveva annunciato la decisione della Russia di interrompere le operazioni di ritiro delle proprie truppe dalle due basi in Georgia, a Batumi sulla costa del Mar Nero e ad Akhalkalaki, nel sud, vicino al confine con l’Armenia. Il giorno dopo, il presidente russo, Vladimir Putin, è intervenuto precisando che il ritiro proseguirà nonostante la crisi tra i due paesi. La Russia dovrebbe ritirare i suoi militari dislocati sul territorio della Georgia entro il 2008, in osservanza agli impegni internazionali assunti, ma le operazioni in merito proseguono a passo di lumaca.

Alla fine della riunione del Consiglio di Sicurezza Putin aveva dichiarato: “È assolutamente chiaro che si fa questo per colpire dolorosamente la Russia e per provocarla. Deve essere ovvio a tutti. E secondo ogni apparenza, quelli che fanno questo credono che l’orientamento anti-russo nella politica estera sia nell’interesse del popolo georgiano. Io non credo che sia cosi”. Putin considera l’arresto degli ufficiali russi “un atto di terrorismo di stato, con presa di ostaggi”.

Lunedì 2 ottobre, nonostante i 4 ufficiali russi accusati di spionaggio siano stati rilasciati e abbiano già fatto rientro a Mosca, il Ministero russo per i trasporti ha annunciato di voler sospendere tutti i collegamenti (aerei, terresti, marittimi), i collegamenti postali e i trasferimenti bancari con la Georgia. Le conseguenze di questa decisione incideranno sia sul commercio fra i due paesi sia sui georgiani che lavorano in Russia e che inviano i soldi alle loro famiglie.

I rapporti sono talmente tesi che la Georgia teme ora sanzioni economiche da parte di Mosca come ritorsione alla sua politica indipendentista e filo americana. I rapporti bilaterali tra Mosca e Tbilisi divennero difficili dopo la cosiddetta rivoluzione delle rose (2003) che nel 2004 portò al potere l'attuale presidente filo occidentale Mihail Saakashvili. Le possibili sanzioni economiche non sarebbero certo una novità dal momento che Mosca è solita esercitare questo tipo di pressione sui paesi ex satelliti che ora invece gravitano intorno agli USA. E’ già accaduto con l'Ucraina e con la Moldova che tuttora non può esportare i suoi vini nella Federazione Russa.

Secondo i dati rilasciati dall'ambasciata russa a Tbilisi, la Russia costituisce il principale partner commerciale della Georgia che vi importa soprattutto prodotti agricoli ed energetici. I prodotti agricoli russi potrebbero eventualmente essere sostituiti con importazioni dall'Ucraina, ma sarebbe certamente più difficile trovare alternative energetiche proprio ora con l'inverno alle porte. Nel gennaio 2006, in piena guerra del gas tra la Russia e l’Ucraina, un’esplosione interruppe i gasdotti tra la Georgia e la Russia facendo piombare la Georgia al buio e al freddo. Allora il presidente Saakasvilli parlò di un atto di sabotaggio, mentre il Cremlino definì la dichiarazione “isterica e scandalosa”.
Coincidenza o no, l’arresto degli ufficiali russi, considerati spie, è arrivato una settimana prima delle elezioni municipali, un importante test per il presidente georgiano Mikhail Saakashvili. Inoltre, questo mese il Consiglio di Sicurezza ONU esaminerà la questione del prolungamento del mandato delle forze di pace russe in Abkhazia.

Saakashvili, forte dell’appoggio americano, esercita pressioni internazionali affinché i soldati russi vengano sostituiti con soldati di altri paesi. La Nato ha offerto a Tbilisi il cosiddetto “status di dialogo intensificato” il che significa che il paese è ad un passo dal diventare membro della NATO; anche se la vera e propria adesione potrà avvenire anche tra qualche anno.

La Georgia risulta essere un paese importante tanto per gli USA che per la Federazione Russa non solo per le rotte di petrolio del Mar Caspio ma anche per la valenza geo-strategica della sua collocazione tra il Mar Nero e il Caspio, tra l’Asia centrale ed il vicino Oriente.

(Da Osservatorio sui Balcani, "News dal Caucaso", Newsletter 39 / 2006. - http://www.osservatoriobalcani.org/article/articleview/6215/1/204/)
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Enviado - 06 octubre 2006 :  23:08:57  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Rusia recrudece la crisis de los espías al deportar a más de cien georgianos
Moscú ordena a sus escuelas que faciliten listados para localizar a alumnos georgianos y a sus padres

ELPAIS.es - Internacional - 06-10-2006 - 13:50

El conflicto diplomático entre Rusia y Georgia por la detención de cuatro presuntos espías rusos cobra más virulencia día a día. Hoy, las autoridades rusas han expulsado del país a varias decenas de georgianos, hasta 200, según las fuentes, que se encontraban en situación irregular en Rusia. Además, el Gobierno ruso ha pedido a las escuelas de Moscú que les entreguen listas de sus alumnos para localizar a los niños con apellido georgiano y, a partir de ahí, averiguar la situación legal de sus padres.

A raíz de la detención, a finales de septiembre, de cuatro militare rusos a los que Tbilisi acusaba de espionaje, se ha desatado una grave crisis entre Rusia y Georgia y Moscú ha iniciado una campaña de sanciones contra su vecino del sur. Pese a que Georgia ha entregado ya a los cuatro militares, la ira de Moscú dista de estar aplacada. El presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, ha ordenado el cierre de las comunicaciones –por tierra, mar y aire- con la república ex soviética, cuyas nuevas autoridades intentan un giro europeísta. Así, ha endurecido la política migratoria con especial énfasis hacia los georgianos, aboliendo las cuotas para conseguir permisos de trabajo e incluso ha paralizado la retirada de las tropas que mantiene en el país desde la era comunista. Los empresarios y trabajadores georgianos en Rusia están sufriendo el acoso ruso.

Aún más allá, la policía moscovita está recabando las listas de los alumnos de las escuelas de la capital rusa para detectar los apellidos de niños georgianos. De ese modo, puede llegar hasta sus padres y verificar si viven legalmente en Rusia y si no, deportarlos. Este extremo ha sido publicado por el diario ruso Kommersant y ha sido confirmado a la agencia France Presse por los servicios de educación del ayuntamiento de Moscú, que reconoce que “algunas escuelas han recibido la consigna” de facilitar los listados, aunque precisa que “no habrá medidas para ‘fichar’ a los niños georgianos en las escuelas”.

Mientras, se producen redadas en los comercios o negocios regentados por georgianos para detener a todo el que esté en Rusia de manera ilegal. Se han cerrado algunos restaurantes y más de un centenar de ciudadanos de la república vecina han sido detenidos en redadas practicadas en los últimos días. Más de un centenar de ellos, hasta 200 según la agencia France Presse, han salido hoy de Moscú en un avión fletado especialmente con destino a Tbilisi, según han confirmado funcionarios rusos y georgianos.

© El País S.L. | Prisacom S.A.
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Enviado - 07 octubre 2006 :  23:32:24  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
El Kremlin desencadena una campaña de acoso y expulsión de georgianos
La policía de Moscú rastrea a los emigrantes ilegales a través de los niños de las escuelas

EL PAÍS - Internacional - 07-10-2006

La policía rusa quiso ayer utilizar a los niños como arma en su campaña contra Georgia, pero tuvo que dar marcha atrás ante la repulsa provocada por el intento de rastrear a los emigrantes ilegales de origen georgiano a partir de los apellidos de los escolares moscovitas. De forma expeditiva, 132 georgianos acusados de ser emigrantes ilegales fueron deportados por vía aérea desde Moscú a Tbilisi, mientras siguen los cierres de casinos regentados por georgianos y las redadas en los mercados del país con un balance de miles de detenidos hasta ayer sólo en la región de Moscú.

De la histeria no se libraron personajes de origen georgiano conocidos como Zurab Zereteli, el escultor favorito del Ayuntamiento de la capital rusa, ni el escritor de novelas policiacas Boris Akunin, cuyas finanzas e impuestos, respectivamente, eran inspeccionados, según la emisora El Eco de Moscú. Tanto Zereteli como Akunin son ciudadanos rusos y el segundo, que en realidad se llama Grigori Chjartishvili, nació en Rusia y no habla la lengua de sus antepasados. "No pensé que llegaría a vivir cómo se realizan limpiezas étnicas en el país", dijo el escritor. En Moscú viven unos cien mil georgianos y se calcula en casi un millón el número de residentes en Rusia.

La noticia, según la cual el conflicto político entre el Kremlin y Georgia se había transferido a los escolares, la dio ayer por la mañana Kommersant. Según este diario, las comisarías de Moscú llamaban a las escuelas y les pedían la lista de los alumnos con apellido georgiano para que la policía pudiera inspeccionar el permiso de residencia y de trabajo así como la declaración de impuestos de sus padres. La ley rusa prevé que todos los niños, con independencia de la situación legal de sus progenitores, tienen derecho a ser escolarizados.

La reacción de los responsables de la enseñanza fue clara. Liubob Kézina, jefe del departamento de Educación de Moscú, dijo que no se permitiría la discriminación étnica de los escolares, porque "no se puede luchar con los niños". Ella Pamfílova, jefa del Consejo Presidencial para el Desarrollo de la Sociedad Civil, que asesora al presidente Vladímir Putin, calificó de "intolerable" esta iniciativa.

En nombre del Ministerio del Interior, Valeri Gribakin, negó la existencia de una operación de rastreo, y ya bien entrada la tarde, el general Vladímir Pronin, el responsable de la policía de Moscú, desmintió la información sobre el requerimiento de las listas de escolares. El general, sin embargo, "no excluyó que se hubieran podido producir intentos de recoger información por parte de funcionarios policiales" y afirmó que, si éste era el caso, se adoptarían medidas disciplinarias contra "los funcionarios con exceso de celo", según Interfax.

En la deportación de georgianos efectuada ayer por Rusia se cometieron ilegalidades, según el cónsul georgiano en Moscú, Zurab Pataradze, ya que entre ellos había personas que tenían visado y permiso de residencia. Los deportados estaban internados en centros de emigrantes ilegales y en todos los casos había una orden judicial de expulsión, según las autoridades rusas.

Desde Tbilisi llegaron ayer cerca de dos centenares de ciudadanos rusos que habían expresado su deseo de repatriarse. Por todas partes, las autoridades rusas parecían encontrar de repente delincuentes georgianos -y sólo georgianos- que han ignorado durante años. En Moscú se clausuró el casino Cosmos, que, según la policía, había estado "bajo el control de un grupo delictivo georgiano". El comentarista Alexandr Arjángelski advertía de las peligrosas consecuencias que la histeria puede tener para Rusia. A los "pacíficos comerciantes georgianos" o bien "los arruinarán o les impondrán un doble tributo", y el lugar de los mafiosos de esta nacionalidad será ocupado por otros grupos delictivos, ya sean azerbaiyanos, chechenos o de las provincias rusas, afirmaba.

Pese a este clima de excitación, la Duma Estatal de Rusia aprobó ayer dos acuerdos firmados con Tbilisi, uno que contempla la retirada de las tropas rusas de sus bases en Georgia hasta fines de 2008 y otro, que establece las condiciones de tránsito militar por su territorio, algo que es importante para Moscú para el abastecimiento de su base militar en Armenia.

© El País S.L. | Prisacom S.A.

Georgia acusa a Rusia de emprender una "limpieza étnica atenuada"

EFE - Tiflis
ELPAIS.es - Internacional - 07-10-2006 - 17:53

El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Georgia, Guela Bezhuashvili, ha acusado hoy a Rusia de lanzar una "atenuada limpieza étnica" contra los georgianos que viven en territorio ruso. El ministro se refiere a la supuesta campaña de "acoso" emprendida por las autoridades rusas contra los georgianos: cierre de restaurantes, casinos, registro de innumerables negocios y, sobre todo, la deportación de inmigrantes considerados indocumentados.

"Tiene lugar una limpieza étnica, en una forma atenuada, de los georgianos que viven en Rusia", ha afirmado el ministro georgiano de Exteriores en una entrevista en la sede del ministerio en Tiflis. La campaña a la que se refiere Bezhuashvili se suma al bloqueo por aire, tierra y mar impuesto por Moscú el pasado lunes tras la detención por espionaje en Georgia de cuatro presuntos miembros del Servicio de Inteligencia Militar(GRU) de Rusia. "Se nos intenta castigar sólo porque nuestra elección no les gusta a los que se encuentran en el Kremlin". Esta elección se refiere a la disposición de Georgia de integrarse en Europa y en la OTAN.

El titular de Exteriores ha aseverado que su país está dispuesto a “acoger” a los georgianos deportados. "Hemos conseguido llamar la atención de la comunidad internacional sobre que Georgia es castigada por su elección. Ningún europeo ni norteamericano alberga duda alguna al respecto. Eso es lo que ha conseguido Rusia, al comportarse como un irresponsable con Georgia", ha explicado.

Un avión del ministerio de Situaciones de Emergencia de Rusia deportó el viernes a un grupo de 143 inmigrantes georgianos indocumentados. Horas después, el jefe del departamento consular de la embajada georgiana en Moscú, Zurab Pataradze, denunció que algunos de los expulsados disponían de permiso de residencia. Las autoridades rusas mantienen que la gran mayoría de georgianos que trabajan en Rusia -en torno al millón- son ilegales, por lo que deben regularizar su situación o regresar a su país de origen.

Según el Servicio de Migración de Rusia (SMR), cerca de 80.000 georgianos llegaron a Rusia en los primeros seis meses de este año, de los que 29.000 no figuran en sus listas. "Uno de cada cien georgianos viola la ley, mientras en el caso de otras nacionalidades este porcentaje es de uno de cada mil", asegura Mijaíl Tiurkin, subdirector del SMR.

Bezhuashvili tiene previsto viajar a Moscú el próximo 1 de noviembre para reunirse con su homólogo ruso, Serguéi Lavrov, en el marco de la Organización para la Cooperación Económica del Mar Negro. "Debemos calmarnos y encontrar la forma de satisfacer los intereses de ambos países. Georgia está dispuesta a ser socio de Rusia, tener en cuenta los intereses rusos, pero sólo si se comporta de manera responsable".

Mientras, dos aviones del ministerio de Situaciones de Emergencia evacuarán en los próximos días a los 300 rusos que desean abandonar Georgia debido a la escalada de la tensión entre ambos países.

© El País S.L. | Prisacom S.A.

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Enviado - 08 octubre 2006 :  15:07:13  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Avec la Géorgie, «Poutine agit comme l’empereur Caligula»
Boris Akounine, célèbre auteur russe d'origine géorgienne, fait actuellement l'objet d'intimidations de la part des autorités russes. Il dénonce «cette politique odieuse menée par Moscou»

Par Lorraine MILLOT
LIBERATION.FR : Vendredi 6 octobre 2006 - 19:40

En représailles après la crise des espions, la Russie expulse à tour de bras des familles géorgiennes et s’en prend aux membres les plus célèbres de cette diaspora en Russie. L’écrivain Boris Akounine, d’origine géorgienne, est ainsi dans le collimateur. Son éditrice a été convoquée jeudi par le fisc pour être interrogée sur «les revenus élevés» du célèbre auteur de polars, dont le vrai nom est Grigori Tchkhartichvili. Le fisc est l’un des services les plus souvent utilisés par les autorités pour intimider les opposants. Dans une interview à notre correspondante à Moscou, l’écrivain dénonce l’hystérie antigéorgienne qui s’est emparée des autorités russes.

Pour qui bat votre coeur dans ce conflit?
Je n’ai passé qu’un mois en Géorgie après ma naissance et je n’y suis retourné qu’une fois à l’âge adulte. J’ai passé toute ma vie à Moscou, je suis russe, de culture russe. M’interroger sur la Géorgie équivaut à demander à Alexandre Dumas de commenter la politique en Haïti. Mais c’est justement en tant que russe que je veux dire aujourd’hui combien cette politique odieuse menée par Moscou m’inquiète et me stupéfie. On a sorti de la bouteille le mauvais génie de la xénophobie, qu’on ne pourra plus renfermer de sitôt. L’Etat, dont la mission est de contenir ce microbe du racisme et des conflits ethniques, est en train aujourd’hui de jeter de l’huile sur le feu. Il est ignoble de voir avec quel zèle les policiers russes profitent de ce blanc-seing pour donner libre cours à leur xénophobie, faire des descentes sur les marchés et s’en prendre aux Géorgiens pour leur extorquer des bakchichs. On laisse se développer une atmosphère de protofascisme.

Comment expliquez-vous cette crise?
Après l’amputation d’un membre, on ressent encore la douleur du membre qui a été sectionné. La Russie n’arrive pas à se faire à l’idée qu’elle a perdu la Géorgie [rattachée à l’Empire russe en 1801, la Géorgie a pris son indépendance en 1991 à la faveur de l’éclatement de l’URSS, ndlr], qu’elle a cessé d’être un empire et une des deux plus grandes puissances mondiales. Poutine agit comme l’empereur Caligula, qui ne veut pas tant être aimé que redouté. Le machisme infantile le plus primitif est à l’œuvre. Nous coupons le gaz, nous coupons les routes et nous montrons aux Géorgiens, et au monde, que nous sommes les plus forts ! Le drame est que cette politique ne fait que nous aliéner davantage la Géorgie et nos autres voisins. Avec cette politique, la Russie n’aura bientôt plus pour amis que des régimes autoritaires, le Turkménistan, l’Ouzbékistan et la Biélorussie.

(Libération, Paris, 7.10.2006. - http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/monde/209060.FR.php)

Editado por - alazaro a las 08 octubre 2006 15:07:40
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 17 octubre 2006 :  23:55:23  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Georgia and Russia: with you, without you
Wine and roses, spies and sanctions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia...Tbilisi's long, intimate and turbulent relationship with Moscow has gone badly wrong. Donald Rayfield explains how and why

Donald Rayfield

The current quarrel between Georgia and Russia - which started with the arrest of an alleged Russian spy-ring on Georgian territory, and quickly intensified via embittering mutual accusations towards the imposition of a range of severe sanctions by Russia on its small southern neighbour - is based on more than a conflict of interests; it has all the viciousness of a love affair gone sour, which is why it seems so hard to see an end to the ever-escalating series of recriminations between the two countries.

For centuries, Russia was for Sakartvelo (Georgia) a distant, fellow-Christian neighbour, if one slowly but surely expanding towards Georgia's northern frontiers. After the collapse of the Byzantine empire and the devastations wrought by the Mongols, Georgia became for hundreds of years vulnerable to invasion and despoliation by Iran from the east and Ottoman Turkey from the west, while the wild highland tribes of the north periodically came down like wolves on the fold. Russia during this period was a land more of myth than reality: only a few inter-dynastic marriages linked the ruling families of the two countries, and the remnants of the Scythians and the Golden Horde put an impenetrable barrier between them.

Likewise, Georgia was at first a Shangri-La for Russia, a Christian kingdom which would in principle be an ally in the expansion of Russian rule and Orthodoxy throughout the orient, a state which had a common interest in dominating the Circassians and Chechens who resisted all forms of statehood and empire.

A wary embrace

Only in the 17th and 18th century did reality modify the dreams; Russia and Georgia made contact, at first over the Caspian sea and then, spasmodically, across the mountain passes. Russia provided hospitality for Georgian exiles and refugees from Iranian depredations; through Russia, Georgians got a European education, access to western culture, and experience as officers in the Russian armies. They were even given large estates and their aristocratic rank was recognised.

Finally, in the 1780s Russia offered military assistance in repelling the Iranian forces. And here the first rifts appeared in the relationship. Russian help consisted too often in encouraging the Georgians to attack Persians or Turks, standing by while both sides fought each other to a standstill, and then mopping up the remnants. Georgians had their first lesson in modern Realpolitik.

When in 1783 the exhausted Georgian kingdom accepted the Russian offer of protectorate status, they had their second lesson: within two decades the Georgian kingdom was dismantled, the royal family was exiled (comfortably and respectfully) to St Petersburg, the Georgian church was incorporated into the Russian church - its frescoes whitewashed, its polyphonic singing replaced by chant - and a Russian viceroy governed the country.

Still, under Russian rule a corrupt, ignorant bureaucracy was a distinct improvement over Persian and Turkish satraps. Nobody was beheaded, castrated or enslaved, even if they were taxed and occasionally exiled, and Georgian nobles enjoyed unfettered control over their peasants and protection from bankruptcy. The Georgian rebellions against Russian rule were half-hearted, and for most of the 19th century, given liberal viceroys, the gratitude was greater than the grievances.

The aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 transformed the picture. Soviet rule in 1921 violently crushed the independent Georgian state that had sprung up in 1917; while lip-service was paid to the status of Georgian language and culture, both Lenin and Stalin systematically destroyed all hopes of any real autonomy. Instead, autonomy (accompamnied in some cases by Russification) was granted to several of Georgia's provinces - Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Adzharia - following the same tactics of divide and rule that the Iranian shahs had applied. Georgians were subjected to mass arrests and executions in the "great terror" of 1937-38, and their male population was reduced by a fifth in the terrible fighting of the second world war.

The problem is that, relatively, Georgia remained a land of plenty, even in the hungriest years of the 1930s and 1940s. Soviet Russia, like Czarist Russia, was convinced that it had provided the protective mantle under which grateful Georgians could enjoy peace and prosperity. But gratitude was not apparent; many Russians were aware of Georgian attitudes to them as a nation of male boors and female sluts. After Stalin's death the conviction steadily grew among ordinary Russians that Georgians had parasitically exploited Soviet tolerance.

On the rocks

Today's mutual hostility has escalated from this misunderstanding. Georgia's eagerness to declare independence in 1990 was taken by many Russians as monstrous ingratitude. Within two years, Georgia seemed on the verge of dismemberment, as Abkhazia broke away, South Ossetia rose up against the abolition of its autonomy and Adzharia fell into the hands of a narco-baron (Aslan Abashidze) with close links to the mayor of Moscow.

Much of the responsibility for the loss of Georgia's provinces has to be blamed on Georgian politicians and their inflammatory, nationalist - at times even fascist - rhetoric, in which they insisted that their own minorities (Abkhaz, Ossetes, even Armenians) were just "guests" on Georgian territory. But Georgian suspicions that Russia was surreptitiously fomenting separatism are justified. South Ossetia is a paradise for racketeers among the Russian army "peacekeepers", while Abkhazia's magnificent villas and resorts are coveted by the Russian business and bureaucratic elites. The issue of offering Russian passports to the population of Abkhazia, the Georgians rightly believe, amounts to effective annexation of Georgian territory.

There are many varieties of anti-Georgian opinion in Russia. At the crudest level is the view that all Caucasians are gangsters; at a higher level, Eduard Shevardnadze (the former Soviet foreign minister who returned to head Georgia in 1992 after the chaotic rule of Zviad Gamsakhurdia) is seen as the traitor who enabled Mikhail Gorbachev to dismantle the Soviet Union and hand the remnants to the Americans. Mikheil Saakashvili's "rose revolution" of November 2003-January 2004 was in fact given tacit assent by elements in the Russian government: primarily in order to punish Shevardnadze, and secondarily because Saakashvili was seen as an amateur who would not be able to intrigue as cunningly as his tetri melia (white fox) predecessor.

In fact Saakashvili has shown a mixture of astuteness and incompetence. On one hand, he secured the return of a lost province, hounding out Abashidze from Adzharia, and he has made the Russians agree eventually to evacuate their military bases. On the other hand, to assuage his electorate he has made one inflammatory statement after another, for each of which Georgia has been punished by denial of energy and bans of exports.

No Georgian politician dares admit to the electorate that Abkhazia is lost forever, like a wife that has run off to be with a bigger and richer man, and that South Ossetia is now almost certainly irrecoverable; nor would he or she have the wisdom of a Czech or Hungarian politician to say that the country is all the better off for being smaller and ethnically more homogeneous.
Meanwhile, although Russia has reconciled itself to the independence of the Baltic states, Russian public opinion cannot swallow the idea of an independent Georgia. Given the disparity of size and power between the two countries, and given the certainty that if the Americans and Europeans ever have to make a choice they will side with the Russians (who have gas, oil and platinum, whereas the Georgians have only a pipeline route to offer), Georgia is going to get the worst of the conflict.

Donald Rayfield is professor in the department of modern languages, Queen Mary College, University of London. Among his books is Stalin and his Hangmen (Random House, 2005)

(From: Open Democracy. - http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-caucasus/russia_georgia_3961.jsp)
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Enviado - 20 octubre 2006 :  21:37:00  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Eurasia Insight

Molly Corso

Both Russia and Georgia have hailed the United Nations Security Council’s October 13 resolution on the Abkhazian conflict zone as a victory for their respective policy positions on Georgia’s right to reclaim the breakaway Black Sea region.

The Russia-sponsored resolution called on the Georgian government to refrain from provocative actions in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, whose separatist government has strong ties to Moscow. It also extended by six months the mandate of United Nations (UN) monitors in the conflict zone, which was due to expire on October 15.

Moscow began pushing for the resolution amidst a recent dispute with Tbilisi over Georgia’s arrest of Russian military officers on espionage charges that led to the evacuation of scores of Russian citizens from Georgia and the recall of the Russian ambassador to Tbilisi for consultations. Further measures by Russian authorities have included the deportation of Georgians working in Russia, the closure of various Georgian-owned businesses and reported police requests for lists of schoolchildren with Georgian last names.

Responding to the Security Council vote, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on October 13 that the resolution was “based on fact” and a victory for Russian interests. The resolution “reflected all of Russia’s fundamental suggestions,” Lavrov was quoted by news agencies as saying.

Lavrov argued that the resolution “unambiguously” blames Georgia’s July 2006 police action in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge, a strip of Abkhazian territory still controlled by Georgia, for the current tensions in the conflict zone. [For details, see the Eurasia Insight archive.] “Now, when the UN Security Council has spoken out, I think that they [the Georgian authorities] will have to follow these requirements,” he said on October 13, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

But Georgia, at least officially, maintains that the resolution is a defeat for Russia and its objections to the pro-Georgian Abkhazian government-in-exile’s presence in the Gorge. In a televised press conference the day of the UN Security Council vote, President Saakashvili noted that the resolution makes “no mention” that Georgia must vacate the part of the Kodori Gorge it controls or remove the “legitimate” Abkhazian government from the area. The government-in-exile moved from Tbilisi to the upper Kodori Gorge in late September.

“[T]here were two most important things that Russian diplomats wanted. The first was the unconditional condemnation of Georgia's operation in the Kodori Gorge, [U]pper Abkhazia. Such a document, although not compulsory for implementation, would have had significant legal force,” he said, according to transcripts from the broadcast on Rustavi-2 television. “This was not supported, and it is a good thing it was not… everyone must understand that not one iota of territory that is already under [Georgian] control - that is one third of Abkhazia's territory - will be handed back to the separatists.”

Saakashvili went on to call on Georgian citizens living abroad to return home to help with the government’s efforts in the upper Kodori Gorge. “Your own country needs you today,” he said. “We have achieved much for the unification of our country. We are preparing for the return of Abkhazia, and we will need our citizens to revive this region.”

De facto Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh has characterized the remarks as “extravagant.” “If the Georgian president has problems with geography, we can remind him that the upper part of Kodori Gorge is Abkhaz territory and it will remain part of Abkhazia,” the Russian television station Novy Mir quoted the separatist leader as saying. On October 12, UN military observers and Russian peacekeepers began monitoring the upper Kodori Gorge again for the first time since 2003.

Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Relations Chief of Staff Vasili Tchkhoidze, however, views the resolution as a sign that the Security Council supports the territorial integrity of Georgia.” The fact that US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton described Washington as “very concerned” about the unresolved conflict in Abkhazia and regretted Russia’s decision to veto an earlier resolution on the conflict “was a reply to Russia’s declarations of victory,” Tchkhoidze said. “[Some] cold water for the Russian authorities.”

Russia rejected an earlier resolution on Georgia after charging that the United States had ammended the document without consultation with Security Council members. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin also took issue with a refusal by the US Embassy in Moscow to grant a visa to Abkhazia’s de facto foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, to travel to New York to address the UN.

Not all Georgian observers, however, share the government’s official interpretation of the resolution. The document’s wording is “nebulous” and includes apparent approval of Russian peacekeepers’ performance, commented Giorgi Khelashvili, a professor of political science at Tbilisi State University. “Georgia failed to achieve a clause in the document concerning the ineffectualness of the Russian troops,” said Khelashvili. “These little changes that are registered now could have long-term implications.”

Others see the resolution as positive because it extends the stay of the United Nations Observer Mission. The fact that the upper Kodori Gorge -- recently renamed Upper Abkhazia by the Georgian government -- is mentioned in the text “four or five times” indicates that the area has become a centerpoint of UN attention regarding the situation in the conflict zone, commented Giorgi Gogua, a Tbilisi-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, an international conflict-prevention non-governmental organization.

Editor’s Note: Molly Corso is a reporter and photojournalist based in Tbilisi.

(From: EURASIANET.ORG. - http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav101606a.shtml)

Editado por - alazaro a las 20 octubre 2006 21:38:25
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Enviado - 22 octubre 2006 :  00:10:39  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
NATO Expansion Talk Worries Moscow
19 October 2006

If NATO continues to extend its reach, Moscow may look to form a new counter-bloc, argues a Russian foreign analyst.

["The Global Irritant," article by Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs]

Text of report by Russian Gazeta.ru website on 12 October:

The explosion in relations between Russia and Georgia had been building up for a long time, but a particular event served as the detonator. The decision of the North Atlantic Alliance to intensify the dialogue with Tbilisi inspired Mikheil Saakashvili and infuriated the Kremlin. After one and a half decades of pretending, Russian politicians are once again reaching for their pistols when they hear the word "NATO."

Meanwhile only former rivals in the global confrontation consider the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "great and terrible." By the start of the 21st century, NATO, the victor in the Cold War, found itself in a strange position. In Moscow and the capitals of the former Soviet republics, enormous military-political significance continues to be attributed to the Alliance: by some with a plus sign and by others with a minus sign. Outside the boundaries of the former "theater of military actions," the role of the "aggressive bloc" is less and less defined. Relying on its own forces and the help of selected allies, the United States does not see it as an instrument for ensuring security. But Europe, above all "old" Europe, is showing very little desire to fit into the global operations of the American patron.

Because of the prestige it gained during the Cold War, NATO remains an attractive symbol. Countries that are in the transitional stage of development (above all southeast and post-Soviet Europe) consider membership in the Alliance the only available way for them to join the elite club. The NATO "great powers" look on these aspirations favorably as an unimposed opportunity to "bind" unstable states and bring them out of the orbit of Russian influence for good.

While remaining a crucial – above all, psychological – factor of post-Soviet politics, NATO is clearly losing its former significance in the international arena. New "applicants for membership" – Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia – will be established at the November summit meeting in Riga. But future expansion to the European periphery does not help define the new mission. Most likely it is just the opposite – it drives NATO even deeper into a conceptual impasse.

Little is changing from the standpoint of the strategic prospects of the bloc's success in adding territories. Of all the states that have become part of NATO since the late 1990s, only Poland has made any contribution to reinforcing its might. Warsaw is enthusiastic, since with considerable reason it considers participating in the Alliance an effective way to enhance its political role in general. It is Poland that is saving the NATO mission in Afghanistan, having responded in September 2006 to the call to expand the contingent. Warsaw is ready to send 1,000 soldiers of the 2,500 requested by the command. The other participants have certainly shown no enthusiasm at all from the beginning.

Ukraine could become a potential "second Poland," that is, a country that would try to make a substantial contribution to the organization's activity in order to use NATO membership for international self-identification.

But the internal Ukrainian situation and Russia's inevitable response make the question of Kiev's participation quite unrealistic.

Further expansion in the spirit of 1999 and 2004 (when the countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Baltic region were admitted) would not mean switching to new goals, but following the previous algorithm set by the logic of the results of the Cold War. A fundamental change in mission and reorientation to future theaters of military actions – the Greater Near East and (as China's influence and ambitions rise) the Pacific Ocean region – require a different view.

The topic of the updated mission has been actively discussed in the Euro-Atlantic community since the start of 2006. The initiative naturally comes from Washington, which in principle would like to adapt its customary instrument to the changed situation. In the opinion of Victoria Nuland (formerly Vice President Dick Cheney's assistant), the U.S. representative to NATO, the bloc should be transformed into a "military force able to be deployed throughout the entire world," while such countries as Australia, Japan, and South Korea should become its close partners. The American researchers Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier call for changing the North Atlantic Treaty and removing the provision whereby only European countries can become new members of the Alliance. Among the potential participants in NATO operations, experts name, in addition to the three mentioned above, New Zealand, Brazil, India, and the RSA [South Africa]. There are even more radical proposals. Speaking in March 2006 at the Institute of Contemporary Problems in Jerusalem, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar called for a serious examination of the question of Israel's admission to the Alliance.

In the event that the scenarios being discussed are realized, the confrontation in the world would not diminish but would instead become more intense.

Plans to convert NATO into a global player make Russia, and China, and the Muslim world apprehensive. Such an approach can push those who sense danger from a "global NATO" to a desire to create an alternative alliance.

What is more, tracing different "triangles" has been the long-time amusement of the warriors against American hegemony.

During the Cold War, the confrontation of the two blocs was not only a source of tension, but in part even a guarantee of security. In the 21st century, now that the world has become much less manageable and nonstate "actors" have entered the arena, a bloc-based international order can certainly provide the first (tension), but will not ensure the second (stability).

Of course, today's debates do not mean that NATO will be changed in exactly that way, although a discussion of the global mission has been announced for the summit meeting in Riga set for November. There is no guarantee that a serious transformation could be launched at all. Washington, which is up to its neck in foreign political problems, may simply not have enough prestige and forces to transform the Alliance in the direction it needs and direct it to accomplishing the missions that America needs.

But if the direction of development does not change, the incorporation of post-Soviet space will continue to cause alienation between Moscow and the West.

And at the same time, it will manage to reinforce in Russia the atmosphere of paranoia that is so effectively used now not only in foreign but in domestic policy.

(From: BBC Monitoring, in Transitions Online. -
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Enviado - 23 octubre 2006 :  22:37:02  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Un grupo ultranacionalista ruso destruye la exposición del pintor georgiano Alexandr Dzhikia

LA VANGUARDIA, Barcelona, 21/10/2006 | Actualizada a las 22:14h

Moscú. (EFE).- Veinte cuadros del pintor georgiano Alexandr Dzhikia fueron destrozados hoy por varios individuos que irrumpieron en la galería que los exponía en Moscú y golpearon a los empleados, en un ataque atribuido a grupos ultranacionalistas rusos.

Este asalto, llevado a cabo en plena crisis diplomática con Georgia, "fue un acto de intimidación: no robaron nada, sólo destruyeron veinte obras de Dzhikia", indicó el director de la sala, el ruso Marat Guélman.

Una decena de individuos irrumpió en la galería, golpeó a los guardias de seguridad, empleados y al propio Guélman, y destruyó los cuadros del pintor georgiano expuestos al público, informó el galerista a la emisora de radio 'Eco de Moscú'. Precisó que los atacantes intimidaron a golpes a los empleados y les quitaron sus teléfonos móviles para impedir que avisaran a la policía.

Gélman tuvo que pedir asistencia médica, sin que se le apreciaran lesiones graves.

El departamento de policía de Moscú confirmó a la agencia Interfax el ataque contra la Galería Guélman, mientras la Fiscalía de la capital rusa anunció que ha incoado un expediente penal.

El galerista dijo desconocer a qué grupo ultranacionalista pertenecen los autores del ataque, que se produce en plena crisis entre Rusia y Georgia.

Las duras medidas adoptadas contra los georgianos que viven en territorio ruso por parte de las autoridades han llevado al ministro de Exteriores de Georgia, Guela Bezhuashvili, a acusar recientemente a Rusia de llevar a cabo una "atenuada limpieza étnica".

Bezhuashvili denunció que en las ciudades rusas "se están deshaciendo de los negocios detentados por georgianos, y en las escuelas rusas de todos los escolares georgianos". "Se nos intenta castigar sólo porque nuestra elección no le gusta a los que se encuentran en el Kremlin, en las estructuras estatales rusas", señaló el ministro georgiano en alusión a la aspiración de su país de "integrarse en Europa y la OTAN".

Las tensiones entre Rusia y Georgia degeneraron en una crisis a principios de este mes, cuando las autoridades de Tiflis detuvieron y deportaron a cuatro presuntos espías militares rusos.

En respuesta, Moscú impuso a Georgia un bloqueo por tierra, aire y mar, además de sanciones económicas, y puso en marcha una deportación masiva de georgianos residentes ilegalmente en Rusia, que fue calificada por la prensa liberal rusa de "purgas étnicas".

El Kremlin acusó a Georgia de "terrorismo de Estado", y las autoridades rusas procedieron a cerrar restaurantes, casinos y mercados y a deportar a centenares de georgianos, presuntamente al carecer de papeles en regla.

El cónsul de Georgia en Moscú, Zurab Pataradze, informó hoy de que hasta la fecha fueron deportados de Rusia 807 georgianos, mientras otros 2.117 esperan todavía su expulsión.

El presidente georgiano, Mijaíl Saakashvili, ha advertido del riesgo de la "retórica racista" de la propaganda del Kremlin, que ha convertido a los georgianos en el nuevo "enemigo del pueblo" ruso.

Defensores rusos de los derechos humanos denuncian asimismo el peligro que supone ese discurso ultranacionalista oficial en un país donde los ataques y asesinatos racistas se cobran a diario víctimas entre extranjeros procedentes del Cáucaso, Asia, Africa y América Latina.

Mientras, varias organizaciones ultranacionalistas anunciaron que el 4 de noviembre celebrarán en Moscú una nueva 'Marcha Rusa' como el año pasado, cuando centenares de cabezas rapados recorrieron la capital golpeando a foráneos bajo el lema de 'Rusia para los rusos'.

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Enviado - 06 noviembre 2006 :  22:24:20  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Eurasia Insight:

Sergei Blagov: 1.11.2006

As Georgia's foreign minister met his Russian counterpart in Moscow at a session of an economic alliance of Black Sea countries on November 1-2, the Kremlin appeared to be sending mixed signals on whether it was willing to normalize relations with Georgia.

The meeting was not intended as a venue for important bilateral discussions. The 12-member Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation prioritizes collaboration in energy, transportation and telecommunications, Andrei Kondakov, head of the economic cooperation department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on the eve of the meeting. Notably, Russia is particularly interested in the Black Sea transport corridor, which would become part of Euro-Asian routes, he said on October 30.

However, at the request of the Georgian side, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to hold a separate meeting with his Georgian counterpart Gela Bezhuashvili, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Settlements of Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts, as well as crisis of Russian-Georgian relations came as main issues at the meeting, it said. Bezhuashvili traveled to Moscow with Georgian Conflict Resolution Minister Merab Antadze.

Yet even before the meeting, scheduled for later in the day on November 1, there were indications that any breakthrough in bilateral relations remained a distant possibility. Notably, Russian news agencies cited Kremlin sources as saying that President Vladimir Putin had declined to meet Georgia's foreign minister during his trip to Moscow.

Russian officials conceded that relations with Georgia are far from normal, but blame Tbilisi. Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov announced on October 31 that the bilateral tensions came as a "result of the Georgian leadership's policy." Commenting on Bezhuashvili's trip to Moscow, Ivanov said that such interaction cannot solve these problems. The Georgian withdrawal of what Russia claims are military troops from the Upper Kodori Gorge, a strip of territory in the breakaway region of Abkhazia controlled by Georgia, or agreements for a peaceful resolution to Tbilisi’s disputes with the separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could help to improve relations between Russia and Georgia, Ivanov said, Interfax reported.

Speaking with reporters in Baku on October 31 before flying to Moscow, Bezhuashvili noted that Georgia was ready for constructive dialogue.

“[W]e are ready to take into consideration Moscow’s interests in the Caucasus, but we do expect the same from the Russian side,” he said, Georgian news outlets reported. “We are going to Moscow to see what Russia wants.”

The meeting between Russian and Georgian top diplomats comes as an attempt to deal with the growing rift between Russia and Georgia. Although relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have long been strained over the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, bilateral ties plunged to new lows in September when Georgia detained four Russian officers and accused them of spying.

Russia responded by cutting its embassy staff in Tbilisi, suspending postal and travel links with Georgia, and shutting down casinos in Moscow allegedly owned by the Georgian mafia. The Russian law enforcement agencies also arrested Georgian individuals seen as leaders of the Georgian crime underworld in Russia. These measures came after earlier economic restrictions against Georgia that included a Russian ban on the import of Georgian mineral water and wine.

Although Moscow insists it does not target any specific ethnic group in its immigration policy, the Russian authorities have continued to deport hundreds of Georgian nationals, who were allegedly living in Russia without registration. On October 28, 48 deported Georgian nationals arrived in Tbilisi, while dozens of others still await deportation in Moscow.

Despite the variety of measures aimed at Georgia and Georgians, Moscow nonetheless insists that Tbilisi should take the first steps towards reconciliation. Tbilisi should confirm that "Georgia does not consider Russian as a hostile state,” Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian State Duma's foreign affairs committee, said on the eve of Bezhuashvili's trip to Moscow, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Kosachev also urged Tbilisi to guarantee that force would not be used in the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts.

Meanwhile, Moscow remains reluctant to resend its ambassador to Tbilisi. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said on October 27 that the return of Russian Ambassador Vyacheslav Kovalenko to Georgia was still some time off. “We don’t see any conditions that might foster his return to Georgia,” he said, Interfax reported. On October 30, Kovalenko told the Russian news agency Interfax only that “[c]onsultations continue” about his return to the Georgian capital.

Most of the embassy staff and their family members, including Kovalenko, left Georgia on September 29 in a “partial evacuation” from Georgia in response to the arrest of four Russian military officers charged with espionage. Although the officers were released on October 2, the embassy staffers have yet to return.

One possible gesture towards Tbilisi has been made, however. On October 30, the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, indicated it would not send official observers to the South Ossetian independence referendum and presidential election slated for November 12. "It was decided that an official delegation will not be sent to South Ossetia," Interfax quoted Igor Demin, spokesman for the United Russia party, parliament’s majority party, as saying.

However, even this minor gesture proved ambiguous. Demin also said that Duma deputies still could observe the vote as individuals because South Ossetians have Russian citizenship. Subsequently, some Duma deputies have indicated readiness to travel to South Ossetia to monitor the vote. On October 31, Konstantin Zatulin, member of the United Russia party, confirmed he was going to visit South Ossetia.

Furthermore, Russian media coverage has remained biased in favor of Georgia's breakaway regions. On October 31, Russian state-run media outlets headlined the news about a violent incident in South Ossetia in which local authorities claimed that they had “eliminated” four terrorists allegedly sent by Georgia to stage provocations on the eve of the elections. Russian television channels featured pictures of the suspected slain terrorists, and their arms and explosives. Russian media generally supported South Ossetian claims that the terrorists were ethnic Chechens sent from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, although Bezhuashvili's denial of the incident was also mentioned.

Following the October 31 incident, South Ossetian de facto President Eduard Kokoity accused Georgia of "state terrorism" and ruled out any compromise with the Georgian government. The separatist leadership recently declined a Georgian offer for talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili at the Georgian ski resort of Bakuriani, located in a region with many ethnic Ossetians.

During a visit to Russia's Kabardino-Balkaria republic in the North Caucasus, Kokoity described the conflict with Georgia as a political and not an ethnic feud. He also accused Tbilisi of trying to enforce "norms of Western democracy," incompatible with traditional Caucasian values, news outlets reported.

Kokoity's trip to Russia's North Caucasus, presumably aimed at drumming up support for his position toward Georgia, brought some immediate results. On October 31, the parliament of Russia's North Ossetia officially asked the State Duma to recognize "the genocide against the Ossetian people in 1918-1920 and 1989-1992 by the Georgian military-political leadership." The move followed a similar appeal by the parliament of South Ossetia on October 12.

However, Moscow's hard-line approach toward Georgia has not proven universally popular among Russian pundits. At an October 30 press conference in Tbilisi, Andrei Illarionov, President Putin's former economic adviser and now a senior fellow at the Washington, DC-based Cato Institute, hailed Georgia’s economic reforms and improved business climate. He also dismissed the long-term significance of Russia’s sanctions against Georgia, arguing that the measures could benefit the South Caucasus state if it manages to diversify its foreign markets.

Illarionov dismissed a report by the Russian daily Kommersant that he has been allegedly invited to become Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s economic adviser.

Editor’s Note: Sergei Blagov is a Moscow-based specialist in CIS political affairs.

(From: EURASIANET.ORG. - http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav110106_pr.shtml)
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Enviado - 07 noviembre 2006 :  22:50:47  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Rusia refuerza el cerco económico a Georgia al duplicar el precio del gas
El presidente Putin ignora al ministro de Exteriores georgiano, en viaje oficial a Moscú

EL PAÍS - Internacional - 03-11-2006

A las medidas de bloqueo económico a Georgia, Rusia quiere añadir una subida de más del doble en el precio del gas que exporta al país vecino. Portavoces de Gazprom confirmaron ayer que este consorcio, controlado por el Estado ruso, ha exigido a Georgia 230 dólares (180 euros) por 1.000 metros cúbicos de gas, en lugar de los 110 dólares que cobra actualmente. A título comparativo, Rusia ha llegado hace poco a un acuerdo para exportar gas a Ucrania al precio de 130 dólares por 1.000 metros cúbicos en 2007, en lugar de los 95 dólares que le cobra hoy.
El precio exigido a Georgia sería, pues, el más alto de todos cuantos Rusia pide a sus clientes en la Comunidad de Estados Independientes (CEI, o asociación de países post-soviéticos).

En 2006 Georgia importará 2.000 millones de metros cúbicos de gas ruso y los contratos para 2007 deben ser negociados aún. Sin embargo, la cifra inicial exigida por Gazprom es una señal más de que el clima entre Moscú y Tbilisi sigue siendo gélido. "En este precio hay más política que economía", dijo ayer el ministro de Exteriores de Georgia, Gela Bezhuashvili, en Moscú, al término del primer viaje oficial que realiza a Rusia desde que se inició la última crisis en las relaciones bilaterales. Bezhuashvlii expresó su confianza en que Rusia cumpla sus "garantías" de que no cortará el gas o la electricidad a Georgia el próximo invierno.

Las relaciones entre los dos países, ya de por sí frías desde la llegada al poder del presidente Mijaíl Saakashvili, se deterioraron tras la detención de cuatro oficiales rusos a los que Tbilisi acusó de espionaje. A pesar de que fueron liberados, el conflicto no sólo no amainó, sino que derivó en una explosión de histeria antigeorgiana en Rusia y expulsiones de emigrantes de este país.

La agencia gubernamental rusa Ría-Nóvosti informó ayer de que el presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, se negó a recibir al ministro de Exteriores georgiano, quien, tras entrevistarse con su homólogo, Serguéi Lavrov, reconoció que las tensiones no se habían disipado. Bezhuashvili reiteró que la causa de los problemas son los conflictos separatistas no resueltos en territorio de Georgia y acusó a Moscú haber "ahondado las divergencias".

Tbilisi ha insistido en que las tropas de pacificación rusas en Osetia del Sur y Abjasia deben ser sustituidas por un contingente internacional bajo los auspicios de la ONU. Rusia se opone.

Para diversificar su suministro energético, hoy mayoritariamente dependiente de Rusia, Georgia confía en la construcción de un gasoducto desde Azerbaiyán, que debe concluirse el próximo diciembre. Por su parte, Rusia construye un gasoducto transcaucásico de 163 kilómetros hasta la región secesionista de Osetia del Sur, que debe concluirse a fines de 2007, y que aseguraría el aprovisionamiento de gas ruso a la región rebelde, que ahora recibe todo su gas a través del territorio georgiano.

A las tensiones entre Tbilisi y Moscú contribuye también el referéndum para reafirmar la independencia de Osetia del Sur que se celebrará el 12 de noviembre, junto con las elecciones presidenciales en aquel territorio.

© El País S.L. | Prisacom S.A.
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Enviado - 08 noviembre 2006 :  20:27:15  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Analista dels conflictes del Caucas.

Geòrgia-Rússia, les raons d'una escalada

El President rus Vladimir Putin s'ha mostrat conciliador sobre la qüestió de l'energia en la trobada d'alt nivell amb els dirigents de la Unió Europea del 20 d'octubre a Lahti (Finlàndia). Però ha acusat el seu homòleg georgià Mikhaïl Saakachvili de preparar un «bany de sang» a Abkhàzia i a Ossètia del Sud. I, el 13 d'octubre, el Consell de Seguretat ha demanat unànimement a Tbilisi que respecti l'acord d'alto el foc de 1994.

Analista dels conflictes del Caucas.

Les relacions entre Geòrgia i Rússia mai no havien conegut una crisi semblant des de la segona independència del país, el 9 d'abril de 1991. El 27 de setembre passat Tbilisi anuncia l’encausament de cinc militars russos sospitosos d'espionatge. Cinc dies més tard, malgrat el seu alliberament, Moscou pren mesures de rèplica contra el que el President Vladimir Putin qualifica de "terrorisme d'Estat" recolzat per "agents estrangers"[1]: se suspenen les connexions aèries, ferroviàries, per carretera, marítimes i postals amb Geòrgia, s’embarguen les importacions i s’amenacen les transferències financeres que representen un 15% del seu producte interior brut. Aquestes mesures s'acompanyaran ràpidament, segons s’afirma des de Tbilisi, d'una "caça al georgià", calculats en més d’un milió de residents a la Federació; i en deu dies, aproximadament 500 clandestins són expulsats.

Una crisi com aquesta, és clar, no cau del cel: submergeix les seves arrels als esdeveniments d’aquest estiu a les províncies dissidents d'Abkhàzia i d'Ossètia Meridional. A les acaballes de juliol de 2006, les tropes georgianes penetraven a l'Alta vall del Kodori, l’única part del territori de l’autoproclamada República d’Abkhàzia encara sota el control de Tbilisi: Geòrgia insistia a restablir una autoritat discutida pel que va ser governador de la vall sota la presidència d’Eduard Sevarnadze. Sobre el terreny, la represa de les relacions entre els líders abkhazos i els habitants de l'Alta vall, els svans, originaris de la regió georgiana veïna, és, sobretot, el que sembla haver inquietat Geòrgia.

Segons Tbilisi, aquesta "operació de policia aconseguida" hauria permès restaurar l'estat de dret i hauria contribuït a l'estabilització de la regió, anàlisi que ha estat represa per Washington[2]. El Secretari General de les Nacions Unides estima, en el seu últim informe, que aquesta ofensiva apuntava a destacar tropes al cor d'Abkhàzia en la perspectiva d'una possible represa del conflicte[3]. I de considerar, contràriament al responsable americà, que l’enviament de soldats a la vall ha violat el compromís adquirit per Geòrgia –en l'acord signat a Moscou el 1994– de retirar-ne les seves forces i per tant ha compromès l'estabilitat regional.

La tensió és més forta encara a l’Ossètia Meridional, l’exèrcit de la qual es troba cada dia amb el de Geòrgia, cosa que multiplica les possibilitats d'incidents. El fet d’haver estat testimoni dels interrogatoris successius patits a les postes de vigilància georgianes i sud-ossetes establertes a la sortida de Ckhinvali –la capital d'Ossètia Meridional– és suficient per valorar el clima d'hostilitat i la desconfiança que hi regna, fins al punt que el menor altercat pot calar foc als polvorins. Així, per exemple, a començaments de setembre, les autoritats de la República van ordenar disparar sobre un helicòpter que transportava el Ministre georgià de Defensa, Irakli Okruachvili, acusat d'haver violat el seu espai aeri. Cinc dies més tard, intercanvis de tirs van causar la mort de tres oficials sud-ossets i d'un policia georgià. D'ací l’anunci del president «de facto» Eduard Kokoïty de la celebració d'un segon referèndum sobre la independència de l'Ossètia Meridional el 12 de novembre –el primer, organitzat el 1992, havia obtingut un plebiscit quasi unànime.

La secessió de l'Abkhàzia i de l'Ossètia Meridional havia començat abans de la dissolució de la Unió Soviètica, a finals de 1991. Repúbliques independents «de facto» des de fa una quinzena d'anys, mai no han obtingut el reconeixement de la comunitat internacional i sobretot dels Estats occidentals, alineats, al contrari, amb la restauració de la integritat territorial de Geòrgia. Ara bé, la represa de les hostilitats, aquest estiu, ha augmentat considerablement el risc de reactivació de conflictes anomenats "gelats[4]", com ens ho ha confirmat a finals de setembre, a Sukhumi, el Ministre «de facto» d’afers estrangers d'Abkhàzia, Sergueï Chamba. Les tropes abkhazes esperaven, al llarg de tot l'estiu un atac georgià, probablement ajornat a la primavera del 2007 en base al clima d'hivern a l’alta muntanya. Les autoritats abkhazes i sud-ossetes qualifiquen les incursions georgianes de provocacions: l’única cosa que poden provocar és la desestabilització dels seus territoris on el «statu quo», en vigor des dels acords d'alto el foc de 1992 i 1994, és "cada vegada més perjudicial per a la recuperació de la integritat territorial de Geòrgia", afirma l’informe de l’ONU, tot citant responsables georgians.

Les iniciatives que el President Mikhaïl Saakachvili va adoptar aquest estiu s'explicaven, sens dubte també, per la proximitat de les eleccions locals del 5 d'octubre passat. Tot apostant per una represa del nacionalisme, hauria intensificat la seva política de reconquesta de les regions secessionistes d'Abkhàzia i de l'Ossètia Meridional, sabent que Rússia hi destina forces de manteniment de la pau, acusades per Geòrgia de sostenir les autoritats separatistes. És per això que va acudir personalment a l'Alta vall de la Kodori, acompanyat d’Okruachvili i del patriarca ortodox de Geòrgia, el dia de la celebració del tretzè aniversari de la presa de Sukhumi, la capital d'Abkhàzia, per les tropes abkhazes. I és el mateix dia que va fer detenir els militars russos. I les municipals s’han decantat, efectivament, a favor del poder...

El President georgià se sabia sostingut pel govern Bush, que no abandona el seu objectiu de fer retrocedir Rússia a les fronteres septentrionals del Sud-Caucas. Així les coses, va arrencar un acord sobre el desmantellament de les bases militars russes implantades al sud-oest del país: sota la pressió dels occidentals, la cimera de l'Organització per a la Seguretat i la Cooperació a Europa (OSCE), a Istanbul, el 1999, va forçar els russos a entendre’s amb els georgians sobre el tancament de les bases. I la retirada dels contingents de Batumi (regió georgiana d'Adjària) i d'Achalkalaki (regió georgiana de Djavakhètia), un total de 2500 homes, s'hauria d'acabar a finals de 2008 –el Ministre rus de defensa Sergueï Ivanov ho ha ratrificat aquest octubre[5].

El Parlament georgià ha exigit aquest any, en dues ocasions, la retirada immediata de les forces russes de manteniment de la pau d'Abkhàzia i de l'Ossètia Meridional, i la seva substitució per forces de pau internacionals. Més: en ocasió de la LXI sessió de l'Assemblea General de les Nacions Unides, a finals de setembre, el President Saakachvili ha proposat de transformar el marc de les negociacions com de manteniment de la pau: rebutjant fermament la mediació de Moscou, suggereix reemplaçar-la per la de la comunitat internacional.

És possible no fer la comparació amb el que va passar als Balcans? Tbilisi, com Belgrad, va viure, el novembre de 2003, una revolució pacífica, coneguda com “de les roses", a iniciativa de moviments parcialment finançats per organitzacions governamentals americanes. I les províncies secessionistes de Geòrgia acollirien a continuació, com a Kosovo, forces de pau internacionals. Allà, sota mandat de les Nacions Unides i de l'Organització del Tractat de l'Atlàntic Nord (OTAN), la Força de manteniment de la pau a Kosovo (KFOR) vigila les zones de seguretat terrestre i aèria situades més enllà del límit de la província: impedeix a les forces sèrbies, tant militars com paramilitars, o de policia especial, de penetrar-hi. Aquesta és precisament la missió que els acords d'alto el foc entre Geòrgia, Abkhàzia i l'Ossètia Meridional assignen a les forces russes de manteniment pau: fer respectar els compromisos presos pel govern georgià i per les autoritats separatistes.

Però, per què canviar de sistema, diuen, a iniciativa de Rússia, des d’Abkhàzia i l'Ossètia Meridional? Els seus dirigents denuncien la política de "dos pesos, dues mesures" de la "comunitat internacional", i dels Estats Units en particular. Per què desplegar una força internacional de policia civil sota l'ègida de les NU a Abkhàzia i estendre el mandat de la missió d'observació de l'OSCE al conjunt del territori de l'Ossètia Meridional? Segons ells, les forces russes han garantit, fins ara, l'alto el foc, mantenint les tropes georgianes a distància de les seves fronteres, exactament com fa el KFOR amb els soldats serbis a Kosovo.

Cal cercar la clau de la pressió occidental en el marc d’una estratègia més àmplia. L'antiga barbacana soviètica, on Washington sosté, i fins i tot inspira "revolucions acolorides[6]", pertany, amb el Pròxim Orient, al sud-oest asiàtic que la doctrina Bush s’entesta a "democratitzar" –des de Mauritània fins al Kazakhstan: als vint-i-dos països de la Lliga àrab s'afegeixen cinc Estats no àrabs, més les "extensions" de Caucas i de l'Àsia central. Aquesta zona, rica en petroli i en gas, políticament inestable, forma la frontissa de Rússia, d'Europa i de la Xina. Si els Estats Units volen remodelar-la, és per desenvolupar-hi la seva influència econòmica i política, però abans de tot la seva implantació militar. Heus aquí els motius de la inquietud de Rússia, sobretot tractant-se del seu "estranger proper".

En plena crisi Tbilisi-Moscou, el president Saakachvili ha escollit el Wall Street Journal per manifestar les seves prioritats: "En a penes tres anys, el meu país, ahir emblema de la fallida econòmica i social d'un país administrat per gàngsters, ha passat a ser una democràcia naixent amb un dels creixements més ràpids del món. El Banc Mundial ha lloat recentment Geòrgia, presentada com a número u de la reforma al món i de democràcia en transició menys corrompuda. El mes passat, l'OTAN va integrar Geòrgia en la nova fase de les negociacions d'adhesió, reconeixent així els nostres progressos polítics, econòmics i militars. I, la setmana passada, vam completar un pla d'acció amb la Unió Europea que defineix el nostre avançament irreversible cap a un futur plenament occidental[7]."

L'acceleració de les negociacions per a l'adhesió a l'OTAN constitueix una vertadera amenaça als ulls de Moscou: Rússia es nega a perdre la seva influència sobre veïns on la seva presència mai no ha estat desmentida des de la dissolució de la URSS, malgrat el gran joc americà i els projectes d'integració de la regió a l'àrea d'influència europea. Així, no aposta únicament per les forces militars de què disposa a les zones de conflictes d'Abkhàzia i de l'Ossètia Meridional: l'aclaparadora majoria de les poblacions d'aquests territoris hauria obtingut la nacionalitat russa. En cas de represa dels combats, Geòrgia s’ennfrontaria indirectament a Rússia que, en declaracions del seu Ministre de defensa, acaba de reafirmar que asseguraria la protecció dels seus ciutadans[8].

Però el risc d'un enfrontament amb Moscou no és l'única preocupació dels dirigents georgians. El President Saakachvili veu la seva majoria, tot i que gestada en la "revolució de les roses", cada vegada més criticada a l'interior. L'oposició denuncia cada vegada més les seves derives autoritàries, denunciant la detenció, a començaments de setembre, de vint-i-nou dels seus membres, acusats de conspiració contra el poder i que protestaven per la celebració de les eleccions locals dos mesos abans del que estava previst. Alguns agiten fins i tot l'espectre dels anys Gamsakhurdia[9]: el nacionalisme bel·licós del llavors president –que tenia com a consigna "Geòrgia per als georgians"– i havia alimentat no tan sols el separatisme de les regions frontereres, sinó que també va provoca a Tbilisi enfrontaments que vorejaven la guerra civil. Interrogats sobre aquest acostament, els líders separatistes Serguei Bagapch i Eduard Kokoïty, que preveuen el deteriorament de les seves relacions amb Tbilisi, estan d'acord fins i tot a dir que els governs georgians successius no s’haurien desviat mai, de fet, d'aquesta política.

Des de l'explosió de la crisi actual, Vladimir Putin ha posat en guàrdia el seu homòleg americà sobre el risc de desestabilització que implicaria alimentar tercers països a la "política destructiva" de Geòrgia[10]. Ha estat entès: el Consell de Seguretat de Nacions Unides ha adoptat per unanimitat, el 13 d'octubre, el projecte de resolució sobre el conflicte entre Geòrgia i Abkhàzia proposat per Moscou i al qual, fins ahir, Washington s'hi oposava[11]. Aquest text condemna la incursió de les tropes georgianes, de les quals demana la retirada de l'Alta vall de la Kodori. És més, reconeix "el paper important de la força [russa] de manteniment de la pau" a Abkhàzia. És veritat que Moscou, pel seu costat, ha aportat el seu suport a la resolució del Consell de Seguretat que censura la prova nuclear nord-coreana...

Sens dubte és aquest distanciament d’Occident, inclús dels Estats Units, amb Tbilisi el que explica la reacció radical del president Saakashvili cridant als georgians de Rússia a tornar a Geòrgia per ajudar el govern a restablir la integritat territorial del país: sobreentès, a combatre a Abkhàzia[12].

Traducció a càrrec de Salvador Pallarès-Garí

[1] Le Monde, 4 d’octubre de 2006.
[2] Vegeu l'entrevista de Matthew Bryza, sots-secretari d'Estat adjunt encarregat dels Afers Europeus i Euroasiàtics: "Georgie: U.S. Official Assesses Kodori Operation's Impact”, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2 d’agost de 2006.
[3] "Informe del Secretari General sobre la situació en Abkhàzia (Geòrgia)", Consell de Seguretat de les Nacions Unides, Nova York, 28 de setembre de 2006.
[4] Llegiu Jean Radvanyi, "Ces conflits mal éteints qui ébranlent le Caucase", Le Monde diplomatique, octubre de 2004.
[5] Le Monde, 12 d’octubre de 2006.
[6] Vegeu Vicken Cheterian, "Révolutions en trompe-l’oeil à l'Est", Le Monde diplomatique, octubre de 2005.
[7] Wall Street Journal, 12 d’octubre de 2006.
[8] RIA Novosti, Moscou, 9 d’octubre de 2006.
[9] Elegit el 1991 arran de la dissolució de la URSS, Zviad Gamsakhurdia va presidir Geòrgia fins al 6 de gener de 1992. Reemplaçat per l'antic Ministre soviètic d’afers estrangers, Eduard Sevarnadze, se suïcidarà el 31 de desembre de 1993.
[10] AFP, 3 d’octubre de 2006.
[11] http://www.un.org/News/fr-press/docs/2006/CS8851.doc.htm
[12] RIA Novosti, Moscou, 14 d’octubre de 2006.

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Rosa Solanes

Envíos 21

Enviado - 10 noviembre 2006 :  12:31:16  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Russie n'exclut pas de couper ses livraisons de gaz à la Géorgie
LE MONDE | 09.11.06 | 14h23 • Mis à jour le 09.11.06 | 14h23
2-3214,36-832604@51-829651,0.html" target="_blank">http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-832604@51-829651,0.html

A l'approche de l'hiver, le géant gazier russe Gazprom n'exclut pas d'interrompre ses livraisons de gaz à la Géorgie - comme cela s'était produit au début de l'année avec l'Ukraine - si Tbilissi n'accepte pas la dernière hausse des prix (230 dollars les 1 000 mètres cubes contre 110 dollars actuellement) imposée récemment par le monopole russe.

"S'il n'y a pas d'accord, nous livrerons du gaz aux consommateurs arméniens, c'est tout. S'il n'y a pas de livraisons de gaz, ce sera pour raisons d'absence de contrat. Pas de contrat, pas de livraisons", a indiqué Alexandre Medvedev, le vice-président de Gazprom, lors d'une conférence de presse, mardi 7 novembre à Moscou.

Pays de transit, la Géorgie voit le gaz russe livré à l'Arménie passer par son territoire, via le gazoduc qui approvisionne tout le Caucase. Impossible de couper le robinet du gaz géorgien sans mettre Erevan dans l'embarras. Alliée stratégique de Moscou dans la région, l'Arménie n'a pas été épargnée par la nouvelle politique de Gazprom en matière de tarifs et achète désormais le gaz russe qu'elle consomme à raison de 110 dollars les 1 000 mètres cubes (contre 55 dollars précédemment).

Erevan, qui a cédé de nombreux actifs énergétiques à la Russie (notamment la propriété du gazoduc arméno-iranien en construction), a, en retour, reçu l'assurance de Gazprom que le tarif du gaz serait stable jusqu'en 2008. "Comme n'importe quel autre pays, la Géorgie peut, elle aussi, proposer ses actifs", a argué Alexandre Medvedev.

M. Medvedev n'a pas commenté l'état actuel des négociations avec Tbilissi, ni un éventuel accord sur un prix inférieur, en échange, par exemple, de la cession d'actifs par les autorités géorgiennes, notamment dans la distribution gazière. "C'est à eux de définir ce qu'ils peuvent proposer dans ces négociations", a déclaré le vice-président de Gazprom. Selon lui, le doublement des prix du gaz livré à la Géorgie en 2007 s'inscrit dans la nouvelle politique commerciale du géant gazier, selon laquelle "plus aucune ex-république (soviétique ne bénéficierait de) tarifs préférentiels" à l'avenir.


La hausse du prix du gaz russe livré à Tbilissi intervient au moment où la Géorgie et la Russie connaissent une crise sans précédent dans leurs relations diplomatiques. Pour les autorités géorgiennes, la décision de Gazprom est donc avant tout politique. "C'est le prix que nous payons pour notre orientation pro-occidentale", a expliqué récemment le premier ministre géorgien, Zourab Nogaideli. "J'ai l'impression que nos succès en termes d'ouverture démocratique gênent beaucoup de monde en Russie et que, là-bas, certaines personnes craignent leur propagation à d'autres pays", ajoutait Gela Bejouachvili, ministre géorgien des affaires étrangères, lors d'une conférence au Centre d'accueil de la presse étrangère (CAPE) organisée en marge de sa visite officielle à Paris, le 7 novembre.

En réalité, la logique commerciale de Gazprom a ses limites. Ainsi, le géant gazier s'est attelé à la construction d'un gazoduc à destination de l'Ossétie du Sud, une région séparatiste de Géorgie qui échappe depuis la fin des années 1990 au contrôle de Tbilissi. Une fois le gazoduc (long de 163 kilomètres) achevé en 2007, les consommateurs ossètes recevront leur gaz indépendamment.

Commercialement, l'existence du gazoduc qui liera l'Ossétie du Nord (Russie) à l'Ossétie du Sud (Géorgie) ne se justifie pas. La région, essentiellement agricole, est peu peuplée et dépourvue d'industries. Non averties de cette décision, les autorités géorgiennes voient là un encouragement supplémentaire de Moscou aux séparatismes (Abkhazie, Ossétie du Sud) qui la minent.

Les travaux sur le gazoduc viennent de commencer alors que, le 12 novembre, le pouvoir ossète autoproclamé organise un référendum sur l'indépendance de la région séparatiste. Ce référendum, non reconnu par la communauté internationale, est encouragé en sous-main par Moscou, selon Tbilissi. "La Russie a joué un rôle négatif dans l'émergence de ces conflits (abkhaze et ossète) au moment de l'effondrement de l'Union soviétique. Aujourd'hui, la Russie ne semble pas intéressée par le règlement de ces crises qui, pour elle, sont des leviers d'influence sur notre pays", observe M. Bejouachvili.

Inquiet de la rhétorique antigéorgienne en vogue à Moscou, le ministre prévient toutefois que ni les sanctions ni le blocus, auxquels la Russie soumet la Géorgie depuis des semaines, "ne lui feront changer de cap" vers l'Europe ni accepter de brader son intégrité territoriale et sa souveraineté.

Marie Jego (avec Christophe Châtelot à Paris)
Article paru dans l'édition du 10.11.06

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 01 enero 2007 :  23:52:33  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
ECRI deeply concerned by recent events affecting Georgians in Russia

ECRI has issued a statement expressing its deep concern about recent events in the Russian Federation affecting Russian citizens of Georgian origin and Georgian citizens living there. ECRI calls on the Russian authorities to ensure that the rule of law is maintained and principles of non-discrimination strictly observed.

Press release – 796(2006)

Statement of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on recent events affecting persons of Georgian origin in the Russian Federation (adopted on 15 December 2006 at ECRI’s 41st plenary meeting)

Strasbourg, 18.12.2006 - From the standpoint of its mandate to combat racism and racial discrimination in the 46 member States of the Council of Europe, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) wishes to express its deep concern about recent events affecting Russian citizens of Georgian origin and Georgian citizens in the Russian Federation.

These events, which have in many cases occurred under the pretext of the need to clamp down on crime and illegal immigration, have included detentions, deportations, in some cases resulting in deaths, and reported cases of harassment. ECRI deeply regrets these measures, which have been directed by certain public authorities specifically at a particular ethnic group.

In keeping with the recommendations contained in its third report on the Russian Federation published on 16 May 2006, ECRI emphasises the need for the Russian authorities to ensure that, in respect of persons of Georgian origin as well as all other minority groups within the Russian Federation, the rule of law is maintained and the principle of non-discrimination as embodied in Council of Europe standards is strictly observed.

* * *

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is the Council of Europe’s independent human rights monitoring body in the field of combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.
ECRI's action covers all the measures needed to combat violence, discrimination and prejudice against persons or groups of persons on grounds of race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin. ECRI's programme of activities comprises three aspects:
(1) country-by-country monitoring; (2) work on general themes; and (3) activities in relation with civil society.

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 20 enero 2007 :  00:50:00  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Parliamentary Assembly President welcomes the return of Russian ambassador to Tbilisi

[19/01/2007 12:00:00]

''I warmly welcome the return of Russia’s ambassador to Tbilisi,'' René van der Linden said on 19 January. ''During my visit to Moscow last week I discussed with the authorities, and in particular with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the need for small steps to be taken to de-escalate tensions with Georgia. I see this as one such positive step. As always Parliamentary Assembly stands ready to help further with this process,'' Mr van der Linden added.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 14 marzo 2007 :  22:42:09  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita


Molly Corso

Nearly two months after the return of Russia’s ambassador to Georgia, relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have yet to thaw. While some forms of cooperation between the two neighbors have begun to emerge, the two countries remain at a bitter impasse over Georgia’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization ambitions and Russia’s continued support of the separatist leaders in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The most recent area of cooperation is largely unexpected. On March 3, the apparent remains of Georgia’s first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, were recovered in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya thanks to the efforts of the pro-Moscow Chechen government. Controversy has long surrounded the fate of Gamsakhurdia, who committed suicide or was killed during Georgia’s 1992-1993 civil war. The topic remains a sensitive one for many Georgians.

According to media reports, the former president’s body was recovered in a park in the Chechen capital of Grozny two days after Chechen President-elect Ramzan Kadyrov gave orders for it to be found. The body is still undergoing formal identification, though Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli has said that preparations are in place for a reburial in Georgia, once the identity of the remains is confirmed.

But one observer cautions that while Russia’s assistance in locating Gamsakhurdia’s alleged remains is an encouraging sign, it does not mean that diplomatic relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have improved.

"It is a positive step, but I don’t think it will change Russian-Georgian relations drastically. It was one concrete case when Russian authorities supported the family of Gamsakhurdia," said Vasil Chkoidze, the head of parliament’s staff committee on foreign affairs. "Russia’s policy toward Georgia today has not changed."

The March 4 parliamentary elections in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, whose separatist leadership is backed by Moscow, have provided grounds for a fresh round of sparring. [For details, see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Georgia and its Western partners have categorically denounced the vote as invalid. But in a March 6 statement, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Mikhail Kamynin characterized the elections as "a continuation of the democratic trends" noticed in Abkhazia’s February 2007 local government election. The ministry, however, did not officially recognize the vote.

Georgian analyst Dr. Tina Gogueliani, a foreign relations specialist at the International Center on Conflict and Negotiations in Tbilisi, believes that Russia is "trapped" by its own strategy concerning the Georgian conflicts with Abkhazia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia. "They are hostage to their own policies," she said, noting that while they have been supporting the separatist governments for over a decade, any move to formally recognize the territories will have far reaching implications for Russia and the neighboring autonomous regions within the Russian Federation.

Moscow’s decision to return its ambassador to Tbilisi after recalling most of its embassy staff following a September 2006 espionage scandal was initially hailed as a sign that relations were on the mend, but no real breakthrough has since materialized. [For details, see the Eurasia Insight archive].

One of the first public statements by Ambassodor Vyacheslav Kovalenko was a plea for Georgia to remain "neutral."

"Russia wants to see Georgia be an independent, sovereign and neutral state with neighborly relations with Russia," told journalists during a February 6 press conference in Tbilisi to mark his return. "Russia is only aspiring to develop relations based on mutually beneficial and mutually respectful principles."

Georgian officials have interpreted the ambassador’s statements as aimed at Georgia’s bid to join NATO. Saakashvili, on February 23, affirmed that Georgia will not "turn from its course." While NATO officials have been positive but vague concerning Georgia’s potential accession to the alliance, Russian officials have already publicly stated Moscow cannot "permit" Tbilisi to join NATO.

"We have strictly warned both Georgia and those who are actively inviting Georgia to NATO that we will not permit [Georgia’s membership]," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on February 28 in an interview with the state-run Russian newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta. "We have stressed that besides common security in this neighboring region, which is so important for the stability of the southern part of Russia, there is another aspect -- that is the presence of tens of thousands of Russian citizens in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We are responsible for them."

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has downplayed Russian objections to his push toward NATO, although he has pointedly toned down his anti-Russian rhetoric over the past month; during a February 23 speech he referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as an "historical" figure for Russia. He added that Georgia wants to have "partnership" relations with Russia.

Education could also provide an opening. In his remarks to reporters, Ambassador Kovalenko, regretting that increasingly fewer young Georgians speak Russian, also stated that Saakashvili and he would work together to open a "Russian school in Tbilisi with branches in all major Georgian cities," news agencies reported. A spokesperson for Georgia’s ministry of education acknowledged that such a plan exists, but could not comment on the project’s status.

Other problem areas linger on. Russian bans on Georgian wines, mineral waters and fruits still remain in effect. Negotiations about reported outstanding debts by Georgian airlines to the Russian aviation services are ongoing, although the Tbilisi office of Russian carrier Aeroflot states that flights to Moscow are scheduled to resume on March 24. The Russian embassy in Georgia, however, still does not issue visas for Georgian citizens.

According to Gogueliani, while Saakashvili appears to have adopted a more measured tone towards Russia, that does not mean that a diplomatic breakthrough is on the horizon.

"[He] calmed down because of signals given from NATO," she said. "I think that NATO officials gave a signal to the Georgian leadership that there is no need to be so emotional… It is not necessary to aggravate Russia." NATO officials have given no indication of such intercession.

For Foreign Relations Parliamentary Staff Committee Chairperson Chkoidze, though, in the long run, statements alone -- even friendly ones -- are meaningless. "I think that these words and statements are not very important… The more important thing is the real [steps]."

Editor’s Note: Molly Corso is a freelance reporter and photojournalist based in Tbilisi.

Posted March 7, 2007 © Eurasianet
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Enviado - 09 mayo 2007 :  17:42:45  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Deportazioni russe

scrive Maura Morandi

La Georgia si appella alla Corte di Strasburgo contro la deportazione di propri cittadini dalla Russia. Nuove schermaglie tra Mosca e Tbilisi dopo un timido riavvicinamento

Il 26 marzo scorso la Georgia ha presentato un’istanza contro la Federazione Russa presso la Corte Europea dei diritti dell’uomo (CEDU) di Strasburgo, in riferimento alle violazioni dei diritti umani subite dai cittadini georgiani deportati da Mosca a Tbilisi a partire dallo scorso ottobre. In seguito ai trasferimenti forzati di propri concittadini, infatti, il governo di Tbilisi aveva costituito una commissione parlamentare speciale incaricata di investigare, in collaborazione con il ministero della Giustizia e l’Ufficio consolare della Georgia a Mosca, sulle presunte violazioni dei diritti umani subite dai cittadini georgiani. Le deportazioni iniziarono come ritorsione della Russia contro la Georgia dopo che quattro ufficiali russi erano stati fermati e incarcerati a Tbilisi con l’accusa di spionaggio alla fine di settembre del 2006.

Nel mese di febbraio il ministro della Giustizia, Gia Kavtaradze, aveva dichiarato che “abbiamo prove, ma ne abbiamo bisogno di altre e più forti per intraprendere un’azione legale” contro la Russia e che avrebbe citato Mosca davanti alla CEDU sono nel caso in cui fosse stato “sicuro al cento per cento di vincere”. Le dichiarazioni del ministro avevano insinuato dubbi nell’opposizione parlamentare, sospettosa che il governo fosse incline ad adottare un atteggiamento poco ostile nei confronti della Russia dato anche l’apparente miglioramento delle relazioni tra i due Paesi ed il ritorno a Tbilisi dell’ambasciatore russo.

I rapporti tra Tbilisi e Mosca subirono però un altro strappo all’inizio di marzo a causa del bombardamento di alcuni villaggi nella valle del Kodori, territorio della secessionista Abkhazia ma posto sotto il controllo di Tbilisi e, dallo scorso luglio, sede del legittimo governo abkhazo. Nonostante il governo georgiano abbia sempre attribuito la responsabilità dell’azione militare ad elicotteri russi, la dinamica dei fatti non è stata ancora confermata e per chiarimenti ufficiali si aspettano i risultati delle indagini svolte dalla commissione istituita dal Rappresentante Speciale del Segretario Generale dell’ONU e composta da partecipanti georgiani ed abkhazi, da osservatori delle Nazioni Unite e da rappresentanti delle forze di peacekeeping della Comunità degli Stati Indipendenti.

Ora Tbilisi chiede a Mosca di rimborsare danni pecuniari e non pecuniari a circa centocinquanta georgiani, vittime delle presunte violazioni dei diritti umani. Alla documentazione della causa presentata dalla Georgia presso la Corte Europea dei diritti dell’uomo sono stati allegati un video di oltre 30 ore e più di 200 pagine che comproverebbero le violazioni dei diritti umani subite dai cittadini georgiani che, tra l’altro, avrebbero causato tre decessi durante le deportazioni. Secondo il Consolato georgiano a Mosca dalla fine di settembre 2006 sono stati deportati più di 4.000 georgiani. Durante gli arresti ed i trasferimenti forzati Tengiz Togonidze, 48 anni, morì di attacco d’asma all’aeroporto Domodedovo di Mosca nell’ottobre 2006 mentre aspettava di essere rimpatriato, mentre Manana Jabelia e Zurab Muzashvili morirono nei centri di detenzione russi rispettivamente nel dicembre 2006 e nel gennaio 2007. Le autorità georgiane sostengono che tutti e tre i decessi sono stati causati dalla negligenza delle autorità russe, in particolare per l’omissione di adeguate cure mediche ai detenuti.

Il rappresentante della Georgia presso la Corte Europea, Besarion Bokhashvili, ha spiegato che secondo il governo georgiano sono stati violati da parte russa diversi articoli della Convenzione Europea sui Diritti Umani, tra i quali il diritto alla vita, il diritto alla libertà ed alla sicurezza, il divieto di espulsione collettiva degli stranieri ed il divieto di tortura. Sarebbero stati violati, inoltre, il diritto alla tutela procedurale in relazione all’espulsione degli stranieri, in quanto ai georgiani rimpatriati non fu permesso di presentare argomenti contro la loro espulsione, ed il diritto alla protezione della proprietà privata, perché non fu permesso ai deportati di accedere alle loro proprietà nella Federazione Russa.

Immediate ed incisive sono state le reazioni da Mosca. Il portavoce del ministero degli Esteri russo, Mikhail Kamynin, ha commentato l’azione legale intrapresa da Tbilisi contro Mosca affermando che “atti di questo tipo non portano di certo alla normalizzazione delle relazioni tra Russia e Georgia”. La decisione presa dalla Georgia “fa parte della sua propaganda anti-russa che ha lo scopo di assicurare a Tbilisi il sostegno straniero alla sua irresponsabile politica riguardo ai conflitti in Abkhazia e Ossezia del Sud”. Kamynin ha aggiunto inoltre che “la Georgia aveva l’opportunità di continuare il lavoro intrapreso congiuntamente per il miglioramento delle relazioni tra i due Paesi che sembrava già essere in corso, ma sfortunatamente Tbilisi ha scelto altre opzioni. I georgiani dovrebbero capire che questo rappresenta un’altra mossa ostile contro la Russia e che costituirà brutte notizie per le relazioni bilaterali tra Tbilisi e Mosca”.

Il vice Presidente della Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, ha indicato Washington come vero responsabile dell’azione legale, in quanto sarebbero stati gli Stati Uniti a spingere la Georgia ad intentare la causa contro la Russia. “Non è un’iniziativa dei georgiani. Ogni cosa è stata fatta con il sostegno dei servizi segreti americani”, ha commentato Zhirinovsky.

Secondo il portavoce del Servizio Federale Russo per la Migrazione, Kostantin Poltoranin, l’istanza presentata dal ministero della Giustizia georgiano contro la Federazione Russa “non ha nessun fondamento e nessuna prospettiva”. “Soltanto quei cittadini georgiani che stavano in Russia illegalmente, quelli che avevano il visto scaduto o non avevano il permesso di lavoro, sono stati arrestati e deportati” ha aggiunto Poltoranin e “non c’è bisogno di emozioni eccessive”, in quanto “i cittadini georgiani sono i principali trasgressori della legislazione russa in materia di migrazione. Siamo rimasti molto sorpresi della reazione da parte georgiana. La Georgia è diventato un paese di esodo di massa di forza lavoro. La gente è pronta a trasferirsi in Russia per guadagnarsi da vivere. Questo è il principale problema del governo di Tbilisi: creare condizioni di vita normali e posti di lavoro nel paese d’origine per i propri cittadini”.

Anche il Presidente della Commissione per gli affari esteri della Duma, Konstantin Kosachev, ha chiesto ai colleghi georgiani di “frenare le emozioni” e di “rimanere nel campo legale e non politico” al fine di non “tentare di trasformare questa situazione in uno show politico”. Il vice Presidente della stessa Commissione, Leonid Slutsky, ha dichiarato invece che la Russia potrebbe presentare una contro-richiesta in risposta all’appello georgiano alla Corte Europea in quanto “tutto iniziò con la violazione dei diritti umani dei cittadini russi alla fine dello scorso settembre”.

Dopo il ritorno dell’ambasciatore russo a Tbilisi, la collaborazione tra autorità russe ed autorità georgiane per il ritrovo ed il rimpatrio della salma del primo Presidente georgiano, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, e l’annuncio da parte di Mosca di una possibile riapertura dei collegamenti aerei tra le due capitali, le relazioni diplomatiche tra Georgia e Federazione Russa sembravano definitivamente avviate verso la normalizzazione. La notizia dell’azione legale intrapresa da Tbilisi contro Mosca, però, potrebbe ora indurre il governo russo a fare un passo indietro.

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Enviado - 07 agosto 2007 :  13:23:40  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Georgia asegura que aviones rusos han lanzado un misil contra su territorio
Según las autoridades georgianas, que hablan de "acto de agresión", el proyectil no llegó a estallar.
Rusia niega el presunto ataque


REUTERS - Tsitelubani / Tbilisi / Moscú

El ministro del Interior de Georgia, Vano Merabishvili, ha acusado Moscú de un presunto ataque perpetrado por varios aviones rusos durante la noche (en España), en el que los aparatos habrían disparado un misil contra su territorio, en lo que ha calificado un "acto de agresión".

"Nuestros radares muestran que estos aviones partieron de Rusia y luego se alejaron en la misma dirección de la que procedían [...] tomo este hecho como un acto de agresión llevado a cabo por aviones procedentes del territorio de otro Estado", ha indicado Merabishvili.

Las autoridades georgianas afirman que un proyectil cayó esta madrugada sobre la ciudad de Tsitelubani, a unos 65 kilómetros al oeste de la capital del país, Tbilisi, aunque no llegó a explotar.

Rusia, que cuenta con un largo historial de tensas relaciones con la antigua república soviética, ha negado - a través de un portavoz de las fuerzas aéreas rusas- el ataque varias horas después de que Tbilisi lanzase las acusaciones sobre Moscú. El coronel Alexander Drobyshevsky, auxiliar del comandante de las fuerzas aéreas rusas, ha asegurado que "ni el lunes ni el martes", aviones rusos "han sobrevolado Georgia". "Rusia no ha violado las fornteras de la soberana Georgia", ha añadido.

El jefe del departamento de relaciones públicas del ministro del Interior de Georgia, Shota Utiashvili, explicó que dos aviones rusos habían lanzado una "bomba de 700 kilos" sobre la citada localidad. "Afortunadamente no explotó. Si hubiese explotado, hubiese sido un desastre", aseguró Utiashvili, que precisó que nadie había resultado herido.

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Enviado - 08 agosto 2007 :  22:31:05  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

President Mikheil Saakashvili visited on August 7 the site of a reported Russian air-to-surface missile attack on the small village of Tsitelubani, about 60 kilometers west of Tbilisi, Rustavi-2 television reported. Georgian officials announced on August 7 that two Russian military aircraft overflew the area on August 6 and fired a guided missile, which failed to explode and left no one injured.

Accompanied on the visit by a group of foreign diplomats accredited to Georgia, Saakashvili condemned the incident as an "act of provocation" aimed at "disrupting Georgia's peace and stability" and called for "a strong international reaction," stressing that "it is a wider issue and poses a major risk to European security." He added that "maintaining unity and remaining cool and calm" will be Georgia's "only response to air assaults on its sovereign territory." Prior to their departure with the president, the Tbilisi-based diplomats were briefed by Deputy Foreign Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze and were provided with "evidence" -- which Georgia says is "irrefutable" proof, including air-traffic control data -- that reportedly confirmed that a Russian military SU-24 combat aircraft was involved in the attack. According to Georgian military reports, the aircraft was traced to a Russian air base near the North Ossetian town of Mozdok. Russian officials have strongly denied any involvement in the attack, however.

Responding to Georgian condemnations of what it says was a Russian military attack on Georgian territory on August 6, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on August 7 that Russia is "very concerned" over the incident but "wants to find out the truth" because "Georgian claims don't quite fit the reality," ITAR-TASS reported. Karasin explained that the incident differs from the Georgian account and that, according to their information, actually involved "an unidentified plane" that entered Georgian airspace "from the east, which means the territory of Georgia" and "randomly fired a missile." He then argued that "a thorough investigation showed that Russian planes did not make any flights in that area," noting that "we have checked all the records and radar information." Although Karasin also hinted that the Georgian Air Force also has the relevant SU-24 aircraft in its inventory, he did not go as far as South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity, who accused Georgia on August 7 of carrying out the incident itself as "a well-planned provocation."


(RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 11, No. 145, Part I, 8 August 2007.)
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Enviado - 09 agosto 2007 :  14:53:30  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Géorgie veut saisir le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU après l'incident avec la Russie

LEMONDE.FR avec AFP et Reuters

La Géorgie a annoncé mercredi 8 août qu'elle demande une réunion extraordinaire du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, après la découverte lundi d'un missile sur son territoire provenant, selon elle, de Russie. "Le Conseil doit faire preuve de détermination en condamnant une attaque sur le territoire d'un pays souverain. Nous appelons le Conseil à mener une enquête de haut niveau", a déclaré le représentant permanent adjoint de la Géorgie auprès de l'ONU, Irakli Chikovani. Il a expliqué que ce tir de missile était considéré comme une violation d'un article de la charte de l'ONU interdisant le recours à la force et comme un "acte d'agression". Le ministre des affaires étrangères géorgien, Guela Bejouachvili, a invité "des représentants de tous les pays à participer" au groupe d'experts internationaux formé pour résoudre l'énigme.

L'épisode de ce tir de missile s'ajoute aux nombreux incidents qui entachent la relation entre la Géorgie et la Russie depuis la chute de l'Union soviétique en 1991. Il a été retrouvé près de la république géorgienne de l'Ossétie du Sud, où Moscou soutient la rebellion indépendantiste.


Selon la Géorgie, le missile tombé à une soixantaine de kilomètres de Tbilissi, sans exploser et sans faire de victime, serait un missile tactique antiradar Raduga Kh-58 de fabrication russe, provenant d'un bombardier russe Su-24. Moscou a démenti, évoquant, par la voix du chef de l'état-major, une "provocation" de Tbilissi. Le ministre des affaires étrangères géorgien parle d'un "cas de bombardement", mais un responsable proche de l'enquête à Tbilissi estimait, lui, mercredi, que le missile avait non pas été tiré, mais largué par un appareil russe, qui, après avoir été pris sous le feu de rebelles séparatistes au sol en Ossétie du Sud, se serait, dans la confusion, débarrassé de son missile. Cette piste expliquerait pourquoi le missile n'a pas explosé.

Selon un rapport préliminaire d'observateurs internationaux obtenu mercredi par Reuters, l'avion qui a largué le missile venait du nord, la direction de la Russie. Le rapport ne conclut cependant pas que le missile a été largué par la Russie, indiquant que les observateurs n'ont pu identifier ni l'avion ni le missile.

Répondant aux accusations de Moscou selon lesquelles la Géorgie aurait tiré elle-même ce missile pour déstabiliser un peu plus la situation en Ossétie du Sud et justifier une intervention armée, Tbilissi a assuré que les forces géorgiennes ne disposaient ni d'avions ni de missiles du même type que ceux incriminés.

(2-3214,36-943057@51-938022,0.html" target="_blank">http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-943057@51-938022,0.html)
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Enviado - 10 agosto 2007 :  13:19:11  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Paul Rimple

Amidst an appeal for an international investigation, Georgia claims to have proof that an aircraft that allegedly dropped a guided missile near the conflict zone of South Ossetia was traveling from Russia. The international community, however, is maintaining a cautious response to the growing scandal.

A report obtained from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Georgia mission states that Georgian radar identified "an SU-type aircraft" entering Georgian airspace from the northeast at 18:31 on August 6 near Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi), a high mountain town in eastern Georgia that borders on Russia’s North Ossetia. The plane exited in the same direction, the report said.

In addition, two North Ossetian-manned Commonwealth of Independent States Joint Peace Keeping Force observation posts at Tsinagari and Didi Gomi, two villages not far from the bomb site, have reportedly confirmed that an aircraft approached from the northeast, releasing an "object" that left a trail of smoke. A sound "similar to an explosion" preceded the object’s release. Precise identification of the aircraft by observers on the ground could not be made.

At an August 8 press conference, Foreign Affairs Minister Gela Bezhuashvili claimed that the report substantiates Georgia’s claim that the bombing incident actually took place and that it involved Russian aircraft. The fact that the document was written by an international group that includes Russian experts and representatives of the breakaway region of South Ossetia appears to have furthered this view.

Georgian authorities have asked the United Nations to hold an emergency session of the Security Council over the incident, in addition to reviewing a March shelling which occurred in the Upper Kodori Gorge, a strip of territory held by Georgia in breakaway Abkhazia. The minister asked "all our partner countries" to send experts to help with the investigation, indicating that such a group confirms Georgia’s intention to establish the facts of the case without bias.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Chairman-in-Office, has supported the call for an all-inclusive investigation. "The OSCE stands ready to co-operate with the investigation within the framework of its mandate," Moratinos stated in an August 8 press release.

The United States, arguably Georgia’s most influential ally, has condemned the attack and praised the South Caucasus country’s "continuing restraint." In an August 8 statement, the US State Department called for an "urgent clarification of the facts surrounding the missile incident."

Russia, however, in the face of rising official outrage from Tbilisi, maintains its innocence. Instead, it points the finger at Georgia, which has long been eager to remove its northern neighbor from the peacekeeping process in South Ossetia.

"I’m convinced that it was a provocation by Georgia ... a provocation against the Russian peacekeepers and Russia as a whole," Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff General Yuri Baluyevsky said, ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Some opposition leaders, however, have criticized the government’s response, accusing it of failing to defend the country. Questions have been raised about why the armed forces, currently in the midst of an ambitious reform process to integrate with North Atlantic Treaty Organization standards, failed to prevent the plane from entering Georgian territory.

Defense ministry officials have not yet responded directly to that criticism. Shota Utiashvili, spokesperson for the interior ministry, which is leading the investigation, stated that "Our air defense system is currently being developed."

However, Kakha Kukava, a leading parliamentarian from the opposition Conservative Party, argues that a military response would only have sidestepped the larger issue. "The problem is that Georgian-Russian relations are worsening," he said. "Our priority should be tackling the problem of our relationship, not making harsh public statements."

Shalva Natelashvili, the idiosyncratic leader of the Labor Party, however, has veered off in the opposite direction, stating on August 7 on Georgian television that President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration itself could have been behind the attack in a bid to achieve its policy goals in South Ossetia.

In remarks to Georgian media on August 9, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, a strong ally of the Georgian leader, condemned the comments as traitorous, assering that "the entire world agrees that [the attacking aircraft] came from the north – and we have only one neighbor to the north . . " read an English-language transcript of Ugulava’s remarks posted on Civil.ge.

Russia’s firmly established image within Georgia as an imperialist power intent on regional domination is clearly feeding into the debate. Alexander Rondeli, president of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, called the missile attack an act of aggression intended to remind Georgia that Russia is displeased with the country’s policies. "It’s an old game of trying to punish us in a paternal way, as if Georgia was a juvenile," he said.

What went wrong, Rondeli says, is that forces in the pro-Moscow breakaway region of South Ossetia inadvertently opened fire on the aircraft, not knowing that the plane was Russian.

This claim echoes a report by Reuters that an unidentified source involved with the investigation has claimed that South Ossetian militamen fired a Strela shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile at a Russian SU-24 aircraft on August 6. The missile was jettisoned, which is why it did not explode, the source claimed.

Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers patrolling South Ossetia, also believes the plane came under fire, but maintains that it entered the area under investigation from within Georgia itself.

The report of a second projectile landing in South Ossetian-controlled territory has yet to be confirmed by an investigation.

Meanwhile, South Ossetia’s separatist authorities have taken the opposite tact, stressing that they have their own security concerns.

Eduard Kokoity, leader of the unrecognized republic, who has called for direct negotiations with President Saakashvili on a non-aggression pact, has stated that he will ask Russia to equip Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone with modern air defense systems to target airspace violators. "It will then be clear whose aircraft entered the conflict zone," the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported Kokoity as saying.

South Ossetia has said that it will only send envoys to Tbilisi for a meeting of the quadripartite Joint Control Commission charged with overseeing peace talks over the South Ossetia conflict zone if it receives security guarantees. The meeting was originally scheduled for August 9-10.

In a statement released on August 9, however, the Georgian State Ministry for Conflict Resolution warned that the outcome of the investigation into the August 6 missile attack could impact whether or not the meeting proceeds. Confirmation of what Georgia charges is Russian involvement in the incident would leave "seriously undermined" Moscow’s participation in the peace process, the statement read.

Editor’s Note: Paul Rimple is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi.

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Enviado - 20 agosto 2007 :  21:00:36  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Consultations in Tbilisi between Georgian and Russian experts investigating the August 6 incident in which an unidentified aircraft violated Georgian airspace and dropped or jettisoned a missile on the village of Tsitelubani, west of Tbilisi, ended on August 17, Georgian media reported. At a press conference later that day, Russian Air Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said Russia has been unable to confirm that one of its aircraft violated Georgian airspace, and that it is up to Georgia to determine who dropped the missile. Khvorov said the information provided by the Georgian side was insufficient to enable his team to help their Georgian colleagues clarify the incident. Russian ambassador-at-large Valery Kenyaikin claimed that "there are forces in Georgia that are not controlled by the central authorities and that are capable of staging such a provocation," but he did not identify them, Caucasus Press reported. Kenyaikin said the Georgian claim that the aircraft entered its airspace from Russia "is collapsing," Interfax reported. Also on August 17, Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia accused the Russian experts of providing only "fragmentary" information and of seeking to stall the investigation, Caucasus Press reported. Meanwhile, OSCE Chairman in Office and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has appointed former Croatian Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul as his personal representative to the ongoing investigation into the missile incident, according to a statement posted on August 17 on the OSCE's website (http://www.osce.org/item/25955.html).


(RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 11, No. 153, Part I, 20 August 2007.)
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Enviado - 22 agosto 2007 :  16:01:43  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Géorgie : qu'attend l'UE pour agir face à Moscou ?

Par Svante Cornell Directeur de recherche à l'Institut du Caucase et d'Asie centrale et du Programme d´études sur la route de la soie, un centre de recherche politique implanté à Washington D.C. et Stockholm.
Paris, le 21 août 2007

Des avions russes ont largué le 6 août dernier, une bombe sur le territoire géorgien, à 60 kilomètres seulement de Tbilisi, capitale du pays. Loin d'être un incident isolé, cette provocation n'est qu'un élément de l´agressivité internationale croissante de la Russie. Mais il s'agit aussi d'une conséquence directe de l'incapacité de l'Occident à réagir face aux actions russes de plus en plus flagrantes à l'encontre de ses voisins plus petits. Qu'attendent les politiques européens pour réagir au comportement sans cesse plus agressif de la Russie ?

Le ressentiment de la Russie à l'encontre du gouvernement géorgien pro-occidental est bien connu. Les instruments utilisés pour punir la Géorgie de son attitude rebelle ont notamment consisté à couper les approvisionnements en énergie, à imposer des embargos sur les exportations géorgiennes pour des raisons montées de toutes pièces, ou encore à soutenir les mouvements séparatistes, à violer son espace aérien et larguer des bombes. La Russie, bien évidemment, a nié toute implication dans les événements de ce type. Elle est même allée jusqu'à suggérer que la Géorgie fabriquait elle-même ses agressions pour pouvoir ensuite faire condamner la Russie !

Beaucoup de choses ont changé depuis le début des années 1990. En premier lieu, la Géorgie elle-même. Alors qu'elle n'était qu'un État en situation de quasi-faillite, ce pays est sans doute aujourd´hui l'une des plus étonnantes « success story » d'Europe. Son gouvernement, jeune et dynamique, a entrepris bien plus d'actions pour réformer la gestion du pays et éradiquer la corruption qu'aucun autre ancien État soviétique, à l'exception des Pays baltes. La Banque mondiale l´a classée au premier rang des pays réformateurs au monde et les investisseurs affluent pour profiter des taux de croissance systématiquement proches ou au-dessus des 10 %.

Par ailleurs, l'importance de la Géorgie pour l'Europe a également radicalement changé. Appartiennent ainsi au passé les jours au cours desquels la Géorgie et le Caucase avaient mauvaise réputation et où ils n'étaient que des parcelles troublées d´un empire soviétique à l'agonie.

Aujourd´hui, la Géorgie fait partie d'une région émergente, celle de la mer Noire, qui se situe très près des frontières de l'Union européenne. C´est une route de transit de plus en plus utilisée pour les approvisionnements en énergie provenant de la région caspienne et l´un des principaux espoirs européens en matière de livraison de gaz naturel non russe.

Mais d´autres situations sont, hélas, restées les mêmes. L'une d'entre elles est l'attitude de Moscou, qui continue de prétendre vouloir ignorer les bases mêmes du droit international dans ses relations de voisinage, pour la simple raison que ces derniers furent, pendant un temps et contre leur volonté, membres de l'empire soviétique. Durant les quelques dernières années, les interventions de Moscou en Abkhazie et Ossétie du Sud, territoires reconnus internationalement comme parties intégrantes du territoire souverain de la Géorgie, se sont radicalement accrues. Et Moscou prend difficilement la peine de le nier. En Ossétie du Sud, le chef séparatiste répond ainsi moins à sa propre population qu'au Kremlin, ce qui a conduit certains dirigeants de la résistance ossétienne à négocier leur propre paix avec la Géorgie.

Peut-être, le plus inquiétant est l'autre situation qui n'a pas changé : l'inattention de l'Union européenne, frisant la négligence, face aux relations de la Russie avec ses voisins. Lorsque les gorges de Kodori furent attaquées par les hélicoptères russes au printemps dernier, les dirigeants européens n'ont pas réagi. Et même lorsqu'un membre de l´Union européenne et de l'Otan, l'Estonie, fut l'objet d'une guerre électronique, qui clairement trouvait son origine au Kremlin, la réaction de l'Europe fut timorée...

Il ne s'agit pourtant pas d'un manque d'informations. Les dirigeants occidentaux savent parfaitement d'où viennent ces bombardiers tout comme ils savent d'où viennent les agressions électroniques qui visèrent l'Estonie. Mais pour certaines raisons, tout ce que la Russie doit faire est de nier catégoriquement toutes les allégations et chacune de ces réfutations prend alors de la valeur !

Le résultat est qu'aujourd'hui les politiques européennes d'apaisement ont atteint leurs limites et deviennent même contre-productives. À chaque fois que l'Europe ne réagit pas aux excès russes, la situation empire. Les derniers événements constituent ainsi la toute première fois qu'une frappe aérienne russe vise directement la Géorgie et non des territoires situés dans des zones de conflit. Si l'Europe avait répondu aux attaques printanières dans les gorges de Kodori, la Russie en aurait peut-être conclu que ses actes de guerre contre un pays voisin avaient des conséquences internationales. Au lieu de cela, le Kremlin en a conclu qu'il avait les mains libres.

La question est donc de savoir ce qu'attendent les dirigeants européens pour faire respecter les principes du droit international et pour défendre leurs propres intérêts dans leur propre voisinage. Attendent-ils une frappe aérienne sur Tbilisi elle-même ? Ou peut-être sur Tallinn ?

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Enviado - 25 agosto 2007 :  16:08:25  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia told journalists in Tbilisi on August 22 that an aircraft entered Georgian airspace from Russia the previous evening, Caucasus Press reported. He said it was the ninth such violation of Georgian airspace within three months, and that the incident was registered by both military radar and civil aviation. Russian Air Force spokesman Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky denied later on August 22 that any Russian aircraft entered Georgian airspace the previous day.




Georgian Ambassador to the UN Irakli Alasania told journalists in New York on August 22 that in light of Russia's refusal to acknowledge "even the most basic facts" concerning the dropping of a missile on Georgian territory on August 6 by an unidentified aircraft that entered Georgian airspace from Russia, Tbilisi considers "pointless" any further consultations on the episode with Russia, RFE/RL reported. He said Russia "has been unable to provide any evidence that may in any way contradict the conclusions of international experts," who confirmed that the aircraft entered Georgian airspace from Russia, that the missile was of Russian manufacture, and that the Georgian armed forces do not have aircraft capable of launching such a missile.

Alasania characterized the incident as "an attempt to halt the development of democracy and the spread of democratic values," and called on the international community to "use all the means at its disposal to get to the bottom of this matter" and to prevent any similar incidents in future.


(RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 11, No. 156, Part I, 23 August 2007.)
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Enviado - 25 agosto 2007 :  17:04:29  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Missile a Tsitelubani: le indagini

scrive Maura Morandi

Due commissioni d'inchiesta, una richiesta dalle autorità georgiane e a cui hanno risposto vari esperti internazionali ed una russa. Con due verità contrapposte. Ancora molta nebbia sul missile sganciato due settimane fa in territorio georgiano

A distanza di due settimane dal missile sganciato nel villaggio di Tsitelubani, in territorio georgiano, non si è ancora arrivati all’individuazione dei responsabili dell’accaduto. Le diverse commissioni composte da esperti georgiani, russi e stranieri istituite dalle parti per indagare sulla vicenda hanno condotto, infatti, a risultati discordanti su dinamiche e responsabilità.

Subito dopo l’incidente del 6 agosto, il Presidente georgiano Mikheil Saakashvili aveva accusato la Russia di essere la responsabile dell’accaduto e aveva lanciato un monito a tutti i paesi occidentali affermando che “questo fatto non costituisce un problema solo per la Georgia ma per la sicurezza di tutta l’Europa in generale”. Saakashvili ha chiesto, poi, l’aiuto di Europa e Stati Uniti per condurre indagini internazionali indipendenti e far luce sulla vicenda.

Alla richiesta delle autorità di Tbilisi hanno prontamente risposto Lettonia, Lituania, Svezia e Stati Uniti che hanno mandato in Georgia specialisti in materia aeronautica e militare a costituire il Gruppo Internazionale di Esperti (GIE). Il 14 agosto il Gruppo Internazionale, attraverso un breve report, ha reso noti i risultati delle indagini condotte tra il 12 e il 14 agosto sul luogo della caduta del missile, sui frammenti ritrovati e sulle registrazioni radar.

Secondo gli otto esperti (un lettone, due lituani, due svedesi e tre americani) il 6 agosto ci sono state tre violazioni dello spazio aereo georgiano da parte di un “velivolo non identificato proveniente dallo spazio aereo russo”. Durante l’ultima incursione è stato sganciato un missile anti-radar del tipo Kh-58 che è caduto vicino al villaggio di Tsitelubani, a circa 60 chilometri da Tbilisi, e che non è esploso. Sebbene gli esperti non siano stati in grado di identificare il tipo di velivolo e l’esatta origine, secondo il Gruppo Internazionale “le Forze aeree georgiane non sono in possesso di un velivolo equipaggiato o in grado di lanciare missili di tipo Kh-58”, escludendo in questo modo la possibilità che ci sia stata una messa in scena dell’incidente da parte georgiana, come invece avanzato dalle autorità russe.

La reazione di Mosca al report non si è fatta attendere. L’inviato speciale del ministero degli Esteri russo, Valere Kenyakin, ha dichiarato che la relazione dello Gruppo Internazionale di Esperti è “motivata politicamente” e ha messo in dubbio la veridicità delle informazioni contenute dato che “il report è basato su informazioni fornite da una sola delle parti - le autorità georgiane: se fossero stati davvero un gruppo indipendente avrebbero contattato anche le autorità russe”. Secondo Kenyakin, infatti, “sembra che siano più politici che esperti e il loro report è molto politicizzato”.

Il 16 e il 17 agosto un gruppo di esperti militari russi ha condotto, quindi, indagini separate sulle dinamiche dell’incidente arrivando alla conclusione che “non ci sono prove delle accuse avanzate da parte delle autorità georgiane e delle conclusioni alle quali è arrivato il report del Gruppo Internazionale di Esperti”.

Il capo della commissione investigativa, il generale Igor Khvorov, ha affermato che per le autorità di Mosca “tutto era chiaro ancora prima di arrivare a Tbilisi, ma le accuse che circolavano contro la Russia erano molto serie e richiedevano indagini serie”.

Gli esperti russi hanno reiterato l’ipotesi che l’incidente sarebbe stato “una messa in scena”. Secondo la commissione russa, infatti, né le registrazioni radar del traffico aereo né i frammenti di missile possono provare il coinvolgimento russo nell’incidente. Gli specialisti russi, inoltre, hanno messo in dubbio l’autenticità delle registrazioni del traffico aereo fornite dai georgiani e hanno accusato Tbilisi di aver distrutto “prove cruciali” quali il numero di serie del missile. La relazione della commissione mandata da Mosca ipotizza che il missile potrebbe essere stato piantato e non sganciato, anche perché gli esperti russi non sono stati in grado di analizzare il cratere lasciato dal missile in quanto al loro arrivo era già stato ricoperto, e conclude che non tutti i frammenti ritrovati e analizzati sono di un missile antiradar di tipo Raduga Kh-58, bensì anche di altre tipologie di missile.

In contrapposizione al rifiuto e alla negazione da parte di Mosca della versione di Tbilisi sul missile di Tsitelubani, l’Ambasciata americana a Tbilisi, in una dichiarazione del 17 agosto, afferma di ritenere la relazione prodotta dal Gruppo Internazionale di Esperti “credibile e importante” e descrive l’incidente come “un’incursione nello spazio aereo georgiano di un velivolo militare proveniente dallo spazio aereo russo”.

Negli ultimi giorni esperti inglesi, francesi, estoni e polacchi sono arrivati a Tbilisi a costituire un secondo gruppo investigativo per far luce sulle responsabilità e le dinamiche dell’incidente del 6 agosto scorso.

Nel frattempo anche la presidenza spagnola dell’OSCE ha nominato un rappresentante speciale, il Ministro croato Miomir Zuzul, per condurre una missione di indagine nella regione. Zuzul incontrerà nei prossimi giorni a Tbilisi ufficiali del Ministero della difesa, il Ministro per la risoluzione dei conflitti, Davit Bakradze, e il Ministro degli affari esteri, Gela Bezuashvili, per poi recarsi a Mosca e incontrare le autorità russe al fine di completare il quadro delle posizioni delle parti coinvolte.

I molteplici tentativi da parte delle autorità georgiane per un intervento delle Nazioni Unite nella questione, non hanno invece condotto che a minimi risultati: il Segretario Generale dell’ONU Ban Ki-Moon, infatti, ha espresso l’interesse delle Nazioni Unite affinché “la vicenda ritenuta una minaccia alla pace e alla sicurezza della regione sia chiarita nel più breve tempo possibile”, senza dar seguito però alla richiesta georgiana di una sessione speciale del Consiglio di Sicurezza in merito all’incidente.

Nonostante le commissioni investigative istituite dalle autorità georgiane e russe e il coinvolgimento internazionale, che dovrebbe veder garantite neutralità e indipendenza delle informazioni, dopo quindici giorni di indagini e di scambi di accuse ad oggi non si è arrivati a uno spiraglio di luce che possa spiegare le dinamiche e individuare le responsabilità della vicenda in modo serio e credibile.

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Enviado - 27 agosto 2007 :  00:11:26  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russia-Georgia dispute escalates
Last week, Georgia fired at an intruding Russian fighter, it claimed. The incident is the latest in a murky air war that both sides say is an intentional effort to spoil ties

By Fred Weir | Correspondent, Moscow
The Christian Science Monitor
from the August 27, 2007 edition

Just as relations between Russia and the post-Soviet nation of Georgia were improving from their nadir last year, a bizarre phantom air war this month has unleashed mutually hostile rhetoric and escalated tensions.

For almost a month, Georgia has complained that Russian fighter jets have made incursions into its airspace. Most recently, it said that its forces fired on an intruding Russian plane near the breakaway republic of Abkhazia last week. The republic, a Russian protectorate claimed by Georgia under international law, is a point of contention between the two countries.

But a top Russian general scoffed that his Georgian colleagues must be "hallucinating" since, he insisted, no Russian warplanes have flown anywhere near Georgia. Kremlin officials have repeatedly suggested that Georgian hard-liners, seeking a pretext for military action against Abkhazia and another rebel statelet, South Ossetia, may be "fabricating" the incidents.

Russia and Georgia have been at odds for years over Moscow's aid to both Abkhazia and another breakaway republic, South Ossetia, but relations turned toxic after President Mikhael Saakashvili came to power in 2004's "Rose Revolution," vowing to reunite his fractured country and bring it into NATO before his term of office ends in 2009.

Now, officials on both sides charge the other of intentional provocation designed to exacerbate tensions.

"Both sides are making claims that cannot be reconciled, yet the evidence on the ground remains puzzling," says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the Moscow-based online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal. "It's hard to say, at this point, who is to blame. But there's no doubt that all this shouting is making things much worse."

The current crisis and its roots

Last week, Georgia said that its forces fired upon a Russian "military jet" and may have shot it down. Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kuteliya told journalists it was the ninth such Russian incursion in the past three months – a claim the Kremlin denied.

But on Saturday, Anatoly Zaitsev, military chief of the pro-Russian Abkhazia army, offered a bizarre confirmation that something odd had indeed occurred.

He told journalists that Abkhazian soldiers on Wednesday saw an unidentified aircraft flying "from the direction of Turkey," trailing smoke, which subsequently crashed in a remote mountain gorge. Abkhazia has complained that Georgian military aircraft violated its airspace at least twice last week.

"It was most likely a bomber or reconnaissance aircraft that was damaged for reasons that are so far unclear," he said. He added that it was not a Russian or Georgian plane, but one that might have come from "a NATO country."

The current crisis began on Aug. 6, when Georgia claims two Russian Su-24 fighter-bombers penetrated deep into Georgian territory.

Georgia alleged that one of the jets fired a Soviet-era KH-58 radar-seeking missile at a Georgian air-defense installation near the city of Gori, about 50 miles from the capital, Tbilisi. The missile struck an empty field and failed to explode.

Three teams of experts have since visited the site, examined the wreckage, reviewed radar records, and issued reports. Two of the groups, composed of independent experts from countries such as Poland, Estonia, Britain, and the US, have backed Georgia's claims.

"The aircraft came from and returned to Russian airspace," concluded the second group – made up of international experts invited by Georgia – in its report, published last week. "The missile was of Russian manufacture. Within the region, Russia is the only feasible nation capable of using the weapon correctly."

A 'deliberate provocation'

But a team of Russian experts, also reporting last week, said Georgian radar tracking showed only commercial aircraft crossing the border that day, while the missile parts displayed by the Georgians were inconclusive.

"Crucial evidence had been destroyed by the Georgian side," the Russian Air Force chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, told a press conference. "Even the rocket serial number had been destroyed ... we had the impression someone did not want us to find the truth."

General Khvorov suggested that a Georgian Su-25 fighter plane – which has a similar radar signature to that of the Su-24 – may have dropped an old missile drawn from Soviet-era stockpiles in order to simulate an apparent Russian attack.

"The missile incident ... was was a deliberate provocation organized and carried out by those in Georgia who are interested in aggravating relations between Russia and Georgia," Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said last week. "This is a case of flagrant distortion of the facts, aimed at triggering a political tsunami."

The alleged rocket attack occurred very near the border with separatist South Ossetia, which Georgia accuses Moscow of backing. Georgian experts say that Russian hard-liners may have staged the incident in order to thwart a process of peaceful reconciliation that's been under way in the region.

"There has been a pattern of Russian interference in the conflict zone," says Georgi Khutsishvili, chair of the independent Center on Conflict and Negotiation in Tbilisi. "Moscow's aim is to undermine conflict resolution and intimidate any international groups that might take an interest in helping to defuse the situation. Russia has an interest in permanent instability."

Georgia eyes NATO help

Last week, Georgia said that, because of the Russian incursions, it will take steps to fully integrate its air-defense system with NATO's by year's end.

"Once NATO forces in Europe can see what's appearing on Georgian radar screens, it will enhance Georgia's credibility," says Mr. Khutsishvili.

"As things stand, many people believe the Russians when they say Georgia is making this stuff up. So the solution for Georgia is to invite more international involvement."

(Full HTML version of this story which may include photos, graphics, and related links: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0827/p06s02-woeu.htm)
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Enviado - 27 agosto 2007 :  22:35:59  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Tbilissi accuse Moscou de violations répétées de son espace aérien

Marie Jégo (Moscou, correspondante)
Paris, 27.08.07 | 15h35
Article paru dans l'édition du 28.08.07

Tendues depuis des mois, les relations entre la Russie et la Géorgie sont entrées dans une nouvelle période de turbulences. Samedi 25 août, les autorités de l'Abkhazie - un territoire géorgien séparatiste soutenu par Moscou - ont reconnu qu'un avion était "tombé" dans la région, mercredi 22 août au soir. Les responsables abkhazes parlent d'un avion géorgien ou "d'un avion espion américain", selon le chef d'état-major Anatoli Zaïtsev. Vendredi, la Géorgie avait annoncé que sa défense antiaérienne avait ouvert le feu sur un avion - attribué aux forces russes - qui s'était introduit dans son espace aérien. C'est la troisième fois depuis le début du mois d'août que la Géorgie dénonce une violation de son espace aérien par l'aviation russe. Moscou dément.

Si l'avion était bien russe, il s'agirait d'un incident majeur entre les deux pays. En délicatesse sur de nombreux dossiers (énergie, retrait des bases russes), les relations russo-géorgiennes achoppent avant tout sur la question des deux régions séparatistes géorgiennes, l'Ossétie du Sud (au nord-est) et l'Abkhazie (à l'ouest, le long de la mer Noire). Non reconnues par la communauté internationale, ces deux entités frontalières de la Russie sont soutenues par Moscou, qui a distribué des passeports russes à 90 % des Abkhazes (250 000) et des Ossètes (100 000). Ceux-ci sont d'ailleurs invités à participer à l'élection des députés de la Douma (la chambre basse du Parlement de la Fédération), le 2 décembre.

Région stratégique des bords de la mer Noire, l'Abkhazie était le lieu de villégiature préféré de la nomenklatura à l'époque de l'URSS. Après l'indépendance de la Géorgie, Moscou a appuyé militairement les Abkhazes dans leur revendication séparatiste et règne désormais en maître sur le petit territoire. Les anciens sanatoriums (bases de repos) soviétiques ont été rachetés par des grosses fortunes moscovites. La présence militaire russe sur place est impossible à quantifier. Les inspections occidentales de la base militaire de Goudaouta ne sont pas autorisées.

L'absence de contrôle sur ces territoires frontaliers fait perdre au budget géorgien les revenus des taxes douanières. Inexistantes juridiquement, l'Ossétie du Sud et l'Abkhazie ont un fonctionnement opaque, avec des trafics en tous genres (cigarettes, voitures, carburant, armes). A son arrivée au pouvoir en 2004, le président géorgien Mikhaïl Saakachvili a promis de les ramener dans le giron du pouvoir central.

Comme les pourparlers entre Tbilissi et les représentants des régions rebelles ne donnent rien, la tentation du recours à la force est grande. En 2006, les Géorgiens ont conquis une position dans les gorges de Kodori, au nord-est de l'Abkhazie. Depuis, les relations entre Moscou et Tbilissi n'ont cessé de s'envenimer.

Le 11 mars, des hélicoptères - "non identifiés" selon les Abkhazes, "russes" selon les Géorgiens - ont tiré des roquettes antichars sur les villages (Zima, Adjara et Chkhalka) contrôlés par les Géorgiens. Les tirs n'ont pas fait de victimes, mais le bâtiment qui hébergeait l'administration régionale mise en place par les Géorgiens à Chkhalka a partiellement été détruit.

Le 9 août, un missile était tombé sur le territoire géorgien, non loin de l'Ossétie du Sud, sans avoir explosé. Il s'agit, dit Tbilissi, d'un missile antiradar russe de type Kh-58. Deux commissions d'experts internationaux ont confirmé que le missile avait été tiré par un avion russe entré dans l'espace aérien géorgien. La Russie a rejeté ces conclusions, qualifiées de "politiquement motivées".

(2-3214,36-947890@51-938022,0.html" target="_blank">http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-947890@51-938022,0.html)
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Enviado - 06 septiembre 2007 :  23:36:49  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Paul Rimple
August 30, 2007

Now you see it, now you don’t. Only days after a second international team of investigators submitted their findings about an alleged violation of Georgian airspace by Russian aircraft, tensions between the two countries are intensifying over conflicting reports of an aircraft violating Georgian airspace and crashing somewhere in a strip of Georgian-controlled territory in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. The remains of the aircraft have yet to be found, leaving more questions than answers.

Depending on the source and the date, the plane has been variably described as Georgian, Russian, and even American and Turkish. The incident, which allegedly happened on August 21, preceded claims by separatist Abkhaz officials that an unmanned Georgian spy plane had flown over Abkhaz-controlled territory in the Kodori Gorge, a strip of land in the breakaway region of Abkhazia held by both Georgian and separatist forces.

Though there have been multiple reports of an explosion and crash, no plane wreckage has yet been found, making it impossible to confirm what actually occurred.

A Rustavi-2 television report that initially stated that the plane had been downed in separatist-controlled territory later changed, as well. Georgian media now report that the aircraft came down over the Georgian-controlled Upper Kodori Gorge.

If so, however, how the plane crashed remains a mystery. On August 24, Rustavi-2 cited an unidentified witness as saying that Georgian forces had fired on a Russian-made plane en route for Sukhumi via Georgian airspace.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili, however, later told reporters that warning shots had been fired from automatic machine guns. In an August 27 interview with EurasiaNet, though, that gunfire was reduced to a "single shot."

In an August 29 interview with EurasiaNet, Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia stressed that Interior Ministry troops, not regular Georgian military forces, had fired the warning shot. Given that the United Nations mandate prohibits heavy artillery in the Abkhaz conflict zone, he added, the only air defense system available to these troops are machine guns.

"[T]he crash may not have happened at all," commented Utiashvili, who maintains that nobody saw the aircraft crash and that reports of an explosion could have been thunder. "If we can’t find anything, what can we investigate?"

As with the August 6 incident when a missile was dropped onto Georgian territory near the breakaway region of South Ossetia, though, the mystery airplane is feeding into a rising tide of anger among Georgian public officials about Russia’s support for the breakaway governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Identifying the origin of the aircraft is also a venture into shadow play. The Interior Ministry’s Utiashvili states that the plane fired upon has not been positively identified as Russian, though the Georgian foreign ministry on August 22 affirmed that the aircraft had come from the Russian Federation. Moscow has flatly denied the allegations, with Russian Army Chief of Staff General Yuri Baluevsky charging that Tbilisi is suffering from "hallucinations."

Some separatist Abkhaz officials have added a fresh twist. Abkhaz armed forces’ Chief of Staff Anatoly Zaitsev initially claimed that the aircraft, which he said he had seen, was either American or from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member country, Russian news agencies reported. Zaitsev later recanted the statement, saying he was mistaken.

Debris trails have also surfaced, reportedly. Roman Dbar, the head of Abkhazia’s ecological service has asserted that "cosmic waste" entered the atmosphere and landed on Abkhaz-controlled territory. Russian Federal Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov has insisted that the "space junk" is not Russian, ITAR-TASS reported on August 28.

This latest phantom plane scandal comes on the heels of published findings by a second group of experts into the August 6 missile incident near Tsitelubani. [For details, see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The group, from Estonia, Poland and the United Kingdom, confirmed earlier findings that the aircraft entered Georgia from and returned to Russian airspace. The report names the Russian Federation as the only country capable of correctly using the Kh-58 anti-radar missile, the weapon Georgia states was used in the alleged attack. The report maintains that Georgia had no means of launching such a weapon.

The report also hypothesizes that the missile did not explode because "a combination of short range and similar elevation (aircraft and radar site heights) may have interrupted the normal arming sequence."

At an August 29 speech in Tbilisi’s Sioni Cathedral for a religious holiday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili asserted that "the miraculous force" of the Virgin Mary had protected a nearby air radar installation from destruction by the fired missile.

On August 17, a team of Russian experts came to Georgia for two days to examine evidence from the missile incident. The team has asserted that no Russian planes entered Georgian airspace, that the missile was not launched from an aircraft and that Georgia destroyed key missile evidence.

Repeating earlier denials, Deputy Georgian Defense Minister Kutelia categorically refutes the Russian team’s findings, calling them groundless. "No evidence was destroyed. All we detonated was the TNT. Everything else – serial numbers, factory codes were available in our storage [space]."

Georgia’s ambitions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have also been pulled into the dispute. The Russian foreign ministry additionally claims the missile incident was staged to undermine relations between Tbilisi and Moscow relations and accelerate Georgia’s integration into NATO.

Georgian media recently broadcast that NATO was discussing sharing radar data with Tbilisi, implying that such a transfer indicated that NATO was ready to support Tbilisi in its dispute with the Kremlin. An Interfax report quoting a NATO spokesperson later stated that a decision had been made against such a handover. Mario Marinov, the defense alliance’s representative in Tbilisi, declined to respond to the reports.

Nodar Nadirshvili, head of the Euro-Atlantic Integration Coordination Department, dismisses the claim that politics influenced the reports of airspace violations or played into discussion of use of NATO radar data. Georgia has been working on joining the alliance’s Radar Data Exchange program since 2003, he said. "Technically, Georgia is ready to be included; we have all the means," Nadirshvili said.

Deputy Defense Minister Kutelia forecasts that integration into the radar system could be achieved by the end of autumn 2007.

Editor’s Note: Paul Rimple is a freelance writer based in Tbilisi.

(© Eurasianet. - http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav083007.shtml)
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Enviado - 28 septiembre 2007 :  00:19:53  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russia, Georgia Go Through Another Diplomatic Row


Moscow, Sep. 25, 2007

Moscow has another diplomatic row with Tbilisi that may incur big troubles for RF Ambassador Vyacheslav Kovalenko. This time, the cause of the clashes is the dying-out forecast of ambassador for Georgia.

Russia’s Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko was summoned to Georgian Foreign Ministry yesterday to stand for the statements that he made past Friday, during the globalization meeting with Georgian intellectuals. After pointing out that only 3 million Georgians actually live in Georgia, the ambassador explicitely said: “You have turned into relict and dying-out nation. Russia is an enormous state, it is able to digest demographic difficulties, but you, the Georgians, won’t get through this problem, you will disappear.”

The demographic scandal of both states continued yesterday when the youth of Georgia rallied near the RF embassy in Tbilisi demanding to call xenophobe Kovalenko persona non grata in Georgia.

The response of Georgian leadership was equally tough. Such statements are inadmissible for an ambassador accredited in the country, said Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, advising to Kovalenko to be more concerned about the demographic situation in his country and vowing that Georgia will independently sort out its demographic problems.

Russia’s embassy attempted to play down the words of the diplomat using the usual misinterpretation and out-of-the-context arguments. The ambassador couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.

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Enviado - 03 noviembre 2007 :  22:55:38  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Géorgie mise sur l'OTAN pour desserrer l'étreinte de Moscou

Marie Jégo - Tbilissi, envoyée spéciale

Gelées depuis l'embargo imposé par Moscou en novembre 2006, les relations russo-géorgiennes ne donnent aucun signe de détente. La frontière commune est fermée, les trains ne circulent plus, la liaison aérienne Moscou-Tbilissi n'est plus assurée.

Les déclarations de l'ex-président géorgien, Edouard Chevardnadze, invitant les pays occidentaux au boycottage des Jeux olympiques de Sotchi en 2014, a remis de l'huile sur le feu. Dans une interview récente au quotidien russe Nezavissimaïa Gazeta, M. Chevardnadze, qui fut ministre des affaires étrangères de l'URSS, s'est étonné du choix du comité olympique. Sotchi, station balnéaire et de sports d'hiver de la Fédération de Russie, est située à 30 kilomètres seulement de l'Abkhazie, région séparatiste de Géorgie soutenue par Moscou. Le gouvernement géorgien est moins catégorique. Ainsi Batu Kutelia, vice-ministre géorgien de la défense, estime que les investissements prévus à Sotchi - 8 milliards d'euros, selon Moscou - "devraient favoriser le développement économique ainsi que la recherche d'une solution".

Pour le moment, la situation est loin d'être stable en Abkhazie. Le 18 octobre, un incident armé entre la police géorgienne et des "gardes-frontières" abkhazes a fait un mort, un Abkhaze. Le 20 septembre, deux officiers russes avaient été tués, "à bout portant" selon l'ONU, par des membres des forces géorgiennes. Moscou a ensuite expliqué que les deux officiers, anciens membres de la force de paix russe en Abkhazie, avaient été recrutés comme instructeurs par les forces abkhazes.

Sous couvert de sa mission onusienne de maintien de la paix, la Russie alimente les visées sécessionnistes de cette région stratégique des bords de la mer Noire, en fournissant un soutien logistique aux séparatistes et en distribuant des passeports russes à la population locale. Depuis peu, les indépendantistes se prennent à espérer : si le Kosovo devient indépendant, pourquoi pas l'Abkhazie ? Ce parallèle a d'ailleurs été dressé par Vladimir Poutine.

Le président pro-occidental Mikhaïl Saakachvili a beau avoir promis de ramener les deux régions séparatistes géorgiennes (Abkhazie et Ossétie du Sud) dans le giron du pouvoir central, sa marge de manoeuvre est limitée. Abkhazes et Géorgiens ne se parlent pas, aucun plan de paix n'a jamais vu le jour. Dans une résolution adoptée le 15 octobre, l'ONU a prolongé le mandat de la force de paix russe - une concession faite à Moscou, tout en reconnaissant l'intégrité du territoire de la Géorgie -, un signe positif envoyé aux Géorgiens. Enkysté depuis quatorze ans, le conflit abkhaze est un potentiel terrain d'affrontement entre la Russie et la Géorgie.

Mais l'incident le plus sérieux entre les deux voisins a eu lieu en dehors des lignes de cessez-le-feu séparatistes (Abkhazie et Ossétie du Nord). Le 6 août, un missile russe a été tiré sur le territoire géorgien, sans faire de victimes. Un rapport d'enquête de l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE) a entretenu le flou sur la nature de l'incident. Moscou a nié toute implication. Pourtant, les experts militaires occidentaux sont formels : le missile antiradar de type Kh-58, de fabrication russe, a bien été tiré. Des traces de combustion ont été relevées sur son moteur. Par ailleurs, les radars géorgiens ont bien enregistré, ce jour-là, une incursion d'avions venus du Nord.

Cet incident renforce, aux yeux de Tbilissi, la nécessité d'une intégration rapide dans le système de défense anti-aérienne de l'OTAN. Actuellement, le pays ne peut adopter de "riposte graduée", la seule option étant d'abattre l'avion intrus. De nouveaux radars pourraient être fournis par des pays membres de l'Alliance. La Géorgie cherche à se doter d'avions intercepteurs, mais n'en a pas les moyens malgré la hausse constante du budget de la défense (600 millions de dollars en 2007, contre 27,5 millions en 2004).

Depuis son bureau à Tbilissi, M. Kutelia insiste : "L'adhésion à l'OTAN est la meilleure garantie de notre sécurité. Elle est aussi un gage de stabilité pour toute la région, mais tous les pays ne le voient pas ainsi." Forte du soutien de Washington, la Géorgie espère accéder au Plan d'action pour l'adhésion (MAP, l'étape n° 3 dans le processus d'adhésion qui en compte quatre), dès le sommet de Bucarest en avril 2008. Engagée depuis 2006 dans le "dialogue intensifié", elle a déjà un pied dans l'organisation. Elle s'est dotée d'une armée de professionnels (28 000 hommes) et a modernisé ses infrastructures. La base de Senaki a été rénovée. Une autre est en construction à Gori.

A l'état-major géorgien, des dizaines de conseillers militaires étrangers sont présents, dont des Turcs et des Américains. Alors que la Turquie tient le marché de la construction des infrastructures militaires, les Américains entraînent le contingent destiné à l'Irak (2000 hommes) et équipent l'armée géorgienne.

(2-3214,36-973022@51-973116,0.html" target="_blank">http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-973022@51-973116,0.html)
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 08 noviembre 2007 :  12:19:40  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Rusia pide a la ONU y la OSCE que medie en la crisis con Georgia
El régimen de Tbilisi ha decretado el estado de excepción y acusa a Moscú de agitar las revueltas

REUTERS / ELPAIS.com - Moscú / Madrid

Rusia ha hecho un llamamiento esta mañana a la comunidad internacional para que el régimen de Georgia deje de emplear la violencia contra los manifestantes y respete los derechos humanos.

"Estamos convencidos de que la comunidad mundial, los principales organismos de derechos humanos, las Naciones Unidas, el Consejo de Europa y la OSCE deberían urgir al Gobierno Tbilisi a detener la violencia y respetar completamente los derechos humanos y resolver sus cuestiones políticas constitucionalmente, sin el uso de la fuerza", ha dicho un portavoz del ministerio ruso de Exteriores en televisión.

Georgia terminó ayer por la fuerza con la protesta que los opositores al presidente Mijaíl Saakashvili mantenían frente al Parlamento desde el viernes. La policía empleó porras, bombas lacrimógenas y cañones de agua para disolver a cientos de manifestantes que pedían la dimisión del jefe de Estado.

Saakashvili, en un mensaje dirigido a la nación, acusó ayer a Rusia de tratar de desestabilizar el país. Poco después decretó el estado de excepción en la capital, Tbilisi, debido a los "desórdenes" protagonizados por la oposición y al intento de "golpe de Estado".

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Enviado - 05 marzo 2008 :  00:11:13  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russie-Géorgie: reprise de la communication aérienne à partir du 30 mars

RIA Novosti, Moscou
27/ 02/ 2008

MOSCOU, 27 février - RIA Novosti. - La Russie est prête à reprendre à partir du 30 mars prochain la communication aérienne avec la Géorgie suspendue depuis l'automne 2006 a annoncé mercredi une source au Service fédéral de la navigation aérienne de Russie (Rosaeronavigatsia).

"Nous sommes prêts à reprendre à partir du 30 mars la liaison aérienne si d'ici le 10 mars, la partie géorgienne amortit sa dette vis-à-vis de Rosaeronavigatsia par un virement de 2 millions de dollars au compte du Service fédéral de la navigation aérienne, conformément à une entente intervenue lors des négociations à Moscou", selon la source.

La liaison aérienne entre la Russie et la Géorgie a été suspendue en octobre 2006 à la suite d'une aggravation des relations bilatérales provoquée par l'arrestation de quatre officiers russes par la police géorgienne.

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Enviado - 13 marzo 2008 :  00:38:35  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Georgia and Russia: A Return to Normal?
The price of the question

Fedor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief, Russia in Global Policy
Mar. 05, 2008

Tbilisi's refusal to work as a member of the Mixed Control Commission put an end to the short idyll in its relations with Moscow. It has become a new Russian-Georgian tradition to open a new page in relations. Desires are voiced periodically to improve bilateral relations, sometimes the old ties between the two peoples are mentioned (that's becoming rarer). Is it even possible to improve relations between Russia and Georgia? On the level of practical cooperation, it definitely is. Lifting the travel blockade and consumer embargo, reaching an agreement on WTO membership, easing visa procedures are all possible. But with that, the possibilities are finished, because any activity quickly touches on the territorial integrity of Georgia and there is little room for maneuvering around it.

Kosovo's declaration of independence has made matters worse for Tbilisi. Moscow clearly does not intend to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but its indecisiveness (which is really its calculation of the consequences of such a step) will be compensated for by closer ties with the unrecognized states. An “everything except recognition” model of relations is likely.

Georgia cannot make peace with the separatists and the restoration of unity will be the first priority of any leader there. Time is against Tbilisi – the longer the former autonomy has de facto independence, the less chances of a settlement are.

And NATO can be added to the already glum picture. There is a pro-NATO consensus in NATO. Tbilisi sees membership in it as the only possible guarantee of security. But it would rule out territorial integrity. NATO officials give indistinct answers when asked whether a country with unresolved territorial disputes can be admitted. In principle, they cannot. But, at the same time, Georgia should not be hostage to frozen conflicts. In other words, Russia cannot be allowed to block Georgia's with smoldering hotspots.

But if Georgia is given a chance to accede, Moscow will take it as a prelude to violence, since, with the authority of NATO behind it, Georgia may try to solve the problem of Abkhazia and South Ossetia once and for all. And then the issue of recognition as a guarantee of security would come to the fore in the Kremlin.

There is some grounds for optimism in the fact that Moscow is committal in relations with Transdniestria. But relations with Moldova never reached the critical stages as with Georgia and Chisinau is ready to agree to a lot for the sake of unity. The choice before Russia is practically whether it is more profitable for it to have a Moldovan exclave with uncertain prospects dependent on it or to have a loyal Moldova independent of any blocs. Georgia does not present that choice for Russia.

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Enviado - 15 marzo 2008 :  00:52:40  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Géorgie accuse Moscou de déstabiliser le Caucase

Margarita Antidze
(version française Gwénaelle Barzic et Jean-Philippe Lefief)

TBILISSI (Reuters) - La Géorgie, qui entretenait déjà des relations tendues avec la Russie, a accusé vendredi Moscou d'avoir cherché à déstabiliser le Caucase en levant l'interdiction des échanges commerciaux avec la province séparatiste d'Abkhazie.

"Il s'agit de la part de la Russie d'une provocation risquée visant à déstabiliser la région et à enclencher des processus incontrôlables", s'est indigné le président géorgien Mikhaïl Saakachvili, s'adressant aux membres du Conseil de sécurité national devant les caméras de télévision.

"Par cette initiative, les Russes prennent le parti de militariser la région. Nous allons appliquer une tolérance zéro à l'égard de la militarisation de l'Abkhazie", a-t-il poursuivi sans plus de précisions.

Les relations entre Tbilissi et Moscou s'étaient pourtant améliorées depuis la crise de 2006. Plusieurs diplomates russes avaient alors été arrêtés en Géorgie pour espionnage et le Kremlin avait réagi en suspendant les liaisons aériennes et les échanges bilatéraux.

L'Abkhazie, théâtre d'un conflit séparatiste en 1992-93, bénéficie d'une autonomie de fait et entretient des relations étroites avec Moscou. Ses habitants ont accès à un passeport et aux retraites russes.

La décision prise jeudi par les autorités russes a été interprétée par certains analystes comme une mesure de rétorsion après la proclamation d'indépendance du Kosovo, le mois dernier.


Moscou était farouchement opposé à la création d'un Etat kosovar, y voyant un précédent susceptible d'encourager d'autres ambitions séparatistes.

Les autorités russes observaient l'embargo depuis 1996, mais la Géorgie les accuse depuis des années de fournir un soutien financier aux séparatistes. La levée formelle de l'interdiction des échanges, estime-t-on à Tbilissi, va désormais permettre à Moscou de leur livrer des armes.

Le ministère géorgien des Affaires étrangères a convoqué l'ambassadeur russe Viatcheslav Kovalenko et lui a remis une lettre de protestation.

"Cette situation autour du conflit en Abkhazie est dans l'impasse et nous devons trouver une solution", a déclaré Kovalenko aux journalistes, après s'être rendu au ministère.

"Je pense que ce serait très utile si la Géorgie levait également ses sanctions contre l'Abkhazie, mises en oeuvre à partir de janvier 1996", a-t-il ajouté.

"Cette décision ne peut pas être décrite autrement que comme une tentative éhontée de porter atteinte à la souveraineté et à l'intégrité territoriale de la Géorgie, d'encourager le séparatisme, et comme une dangereuse provocation destinée à accroître les tensions dans la zone de conflit", déclare le ministère géorgien des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué.

Au Kremlin, on se dit surpris de la violence de la réaction géorgienne, Tbilissi ayant été informée des intentions russes, rapporte l'agence de presse RIA.

La levée de l'embargo, a souligné Dmitri Kozak, ministre russe du Développement régional, va faciliter la livraison des matériaux nécessaires aux aménagements prévus pour les Jeux olympiques d'hiver de 2014, à Sotchi. La station de la mer Noire se trouve à 50km de la frontière abkhaze.

(0,14-0,39-34613757@7-37,0.html" target="_blank">http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/web/depeches/0,14-0,39-34613757@7-37,0.html)
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Enviado - 23 marzo 2008 :  20:24:59  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Russie rétablit les liaisons aériennes avec la Géorgie

Nouvel Obs.com / AP

Le ministère russe des Transports a accepté mardi de rouvrir les liaisons aériennes entre la Russie et la Géorgie, un an et demie après leur suspension.

Le ministère a indiqué dans un communiqué qu'il acceptait de restaurer les liaisons aériennes à compter du 25 mars, après la résolution d'un conflit portant sur une dette contractée par la Géorgie auprès des services de navigation aérienne russes.

La Russie avait suspendu les vols en octobre 2006, rompu les échanges postaux et lancé une vaste répression à l'encontre des immigrés géorgiens présents sur son territoire après que la Géorgie ait emprisonnés quatre officiers russes accusés d'espionnage.

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Enviado - 01 abril 2008 :  23:42:23  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russie et Géorgie se rapprochent


Les liaisons maritimes entre la Russie et la Géorgie ont rouverts. Il s'agit d'un signe supplémentaire du réchauffement entre les deux États. Cette reprise du trafic maritime survient deux jours après la réouverture des liaisons aériennes. Les relations aériennes, maritimes et postales entre la Russie et la Géorgie avaient été suspendues il y a dix-huit mois à l'initiative de Moscou à la suite d'accusations d'espionnage portées par Tbilissi. D'autres mesures de rétorsion restent en revanche en vigueur, dont l'embargo sur les importations en Russie de vin et d'eaux minérales de Géorgie. Les délivrances de visas font aussi l'objet de contrôles accrus.

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Enviado - 18 abril 2008 :  18:48:40  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Se recrudece la crisis entre Rusia y Georgia
Putin ordena colaborar con las autoridades de hecho de las provincias separatistas Abjazia y Osetia del Sur

El País, Madrid

El renovado apoyo del Kremlin a los separatistas de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur ha recrudecido la crisis entre Rusia y Georgia, país que ha pedido auxilio al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU después de que el presidente Vladímir Putin decidiera esta semana aplicar un trato de favor a aquellas regiones rebeldes.

La tormenta que vuelve a ensombrecer las relaciones ruso-georgianas, tras un breve deshielo, ha sido desatada por una orden dada por Putin a su Gobierno con el fin de que colaboren con las "autoridades de hecho" de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur con objeto de apoyar a la población local, incluidos los ciudadanos rusos allí residentes. Rusia reconocerá también diversos documentos emitidos por los separatistas, entre ellos el certificado de registro de entidades jurídicas, según el comunicado de prensa emitido el miércoles por el ministerio de Exteriores en Moscú.

La orden de Putin ha sido valorada por los medios de información rusos como un paso cualitativo de Moscú para comenzar el reconocimiento de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur o, más aún, para la "integración" de estos territorios en Rusia. Para Tbilisi, sin embargo, se trata de un paso hacia la "anexión" y un intento de crear dificultades suplementarias al ingreso de Georgia en la OTAN.

Para la comunidad internacional incluida Rusia, Abjazia y Osetia del Sur son parte integrante de Georgia, pese a que estos dos territorios nunca han sido controlados por Tbilisi desde que Georgia fuera reconocida como Estado independiente tras la desintegración de la URSS en 1991. A comienzo de los noventa, los georgianos fueron rechazados militarmente tanto en Osetia del Sur como en Abjazia, después de lo cual los conflictos secesionistas permanecieron congelados con fórmulas multilaterales de alto el fuego que involucran a la ONU, en el caso de Abjazia, y a la Organización de Cooperación y Seguridad en Europa (OSCE) en el de Osetia del Sur.

Desde la llegada de Vladímir Putin al poder en 2000, Moscú ha practicado una política de masivo reparto de pasaportes entre los habitantes de estos dos territorios, que han podido así viajar libremente a Rusia y disfrutar de algunas prestaciones sociales, como las pensiones de jubilación. La orden del presidente ampliará esas prestaciones, ya que va encaminada a crear un "mecanismo de defensa multilateral de los derechos, libertades y legítimos intereses de los ciudadanos rusos". Putin ordenó colaborar con las autoridades de ambos territorios e involucrar a las regiones rusas en esta colaboración.

Observadores políticos creen que uno de los objetivos de la disposición presidencial es preparar el camino al reconocimiento de las propiedades inmobiliarias rusas en Abjazia, una zona privilegiada de la costa del Mar Negro, que fue lugar favorito de vacaciones entre la aristocracia rusa primero y la nomenklatura soviética después. El interés de Abjazia para los rusos está en alza en vista de los proyectos de desarrollo urbanístico y turístico asociados con la celebración de los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de 2014 en Sochi, prácticamente en la frontera con Abjazia. El interés de Rusia por la costa abjaza va en aumento también ante la perspectiva de tener que dejar Sebastopol, sede de la flota del Mar Negro, en 2017 cuando expire el acuerdo que permite a Moscú mantener su principal base de dicha flota en Crimea.

Tras la independencia unilateral de Kosovo, Moscú ha puesto en práctica una política más decidida de defensa de los separatistas del entorno pos-soviético. La Duma Estatal de Rusia recomendó al Ejecutivo considerar la posibilidad de reconocer la independencia de Abjazia y Georgia.

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Enviado - 23 abril 2008 :  18:46:12  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La ONU aborda la crisis entre Moscú y Tblisi por el derribo de un avión espía georgiano
El presidente de Georgia, Mijaíl Saakashvili, acusa a Rusia del incidente del domingo.
Militares abjazos aseguran que fueron ellos los que abatieron el aparato

El País.com, Madrid

El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU aborda hoy la última crisis en las deterioradas relaciones entre Rusia y Georgia, que esta vez se centra en el derribo de un avión espía no pilotado georgiano sobre el territorio de la secesionista Abjazia, en el litoral del mar Negro.

El presidente de Georgia, Mijaíl Saakashvili, ha acusado a Moscú del incidente, ocurrido el domingo, pero los representantes rusos niegan estar implicados en el suceso y los militares abjazos aseguran que fueron ellos los que abatieron el aparato (un Hermes 450 de fabricación israelí). El 18 de marzo, los abjazos ya anunciaron haber derribado otro avión georgiano semejante. Inicialmente, las autoridades de Tbilisi habían negado que el último aparato derribado fuera suyo, pero luego lo reconocieron y culparon a un Mig-29 ruso de su destrucción.

Mijaíl Saakashvili calificó el incidente de "ataque a un país soberano" y de "acto hostil totalmente inaceptable desde el punto de vista del derecho internacional". En conversación telefónica con Saakashvili, el presidente de Rusia Vladímir Putin acusó a Georgia de desestabilizar y de incrementar la tensión, ya que, según dijo, los vuelos militares de reconocimiento sobre la zona del conflicto abjazo contravienen el espíritu del acuerdo de alto el fuego del 14 de mayo de 1994.

Este documento, conocido como la declaración de Moscú, es el fundamento legal de la presencia en Abjazia de tropas pacificadoras rusas y de cascos azules de la ONU. Un comunicado emitido ayer por el ministerio de Exteriores ruso afirmó que el avión fue derribado por los servicios de defensa antiaérea abjazos cuando intentaba volver a Georgia tras penetrar en al zona de conflicto. Según el ministerio, el avión georgiano realizaba una “actividad militar no autorizada”, ya que la la misión de la ONU no había sido informada previamente de los planes de vuelo de Tbilisi.

Los representantes georgianos han difundido un video en el que puede verse como un caza lanza un misil y derriba al avión espía y han asegurado que presentarán pruebas ante el consejo de seguridad. Según los georgianos, el caza, un Mig-29, despegó desde una antigua base militar rusa en Gudauta, en Abjazia, que según los rusos, está ya cerrada. Los militares abjazos aseguran que el avión georgiano fue alcanzado por un L-39 de sus propios efectivos.

Tras la independencia unilateral de Kosovo, Moscú defiende más decididamente a los separatistas de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur, dos regiones que la comunidad internacional reconoce como parte de Georgia, pese a que este país no ha controlado nunca estos territorios desde la independencia en 1991. La actitud del Kremlin ha exacerbado los ánimos en Georgia, especialmente después de que Moscú anunciara la semana pasada que aplicará un trato de favor a las regiones rebeldes y se adjudicara el papel de defensor de los derechos de la población local.

Putin ordenó al gobierno ruso que colabore con las "autoridades de hecho" de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur con objeto de apoyar a la población local, incluidos los ciudadanos rusos allí residentes, que son la mayoría, gracias a la política de generoso reparto de pasaportes. La orden de Putin fue valorada como un paso cualitativo para comenzar el reconocimiento de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur o, más aún, para la "integración" de estos territorios en Rusia. Georgia lo considera como un paso hacia la "anexión" y un intento de dificultar su ingreso en la OTAN. En un intento de aplacar los ánimos, Moscú anunció el viernes pasado una serie de medidas de normalización de relaciones con Tbilisi que incluyen el restablecimiento de las comunicaciones postales desde el pasado lunes. Rusia interrumpió los servicios de correos en octubre de 2006 como respuesta a la detención de cuatro de sus oficiales por parte de Tbilisi. Los militares, a los que Georgia acusaba de espionaje, fueron liberados con la mediación de la OSCE, pero las consecuencias del conflicto fueron el cierre de las fronteras rusas, incluidas las comunicaciones aéreas, el cese en la concesión de visados y de las importaciones de vino y agua mineral.

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Enviado - 25 abril 2008 :  23:59:57  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Russie-Géorgie: reprise des liaisons postales

RIA Novosti, Moscou
21/ 04/ 2008

MOSCOU, 21 avril - RIA Novosti. -- La Poste de Russie a repris lundi les liaisons postales avec la Géorgie, interrompues depuis octobre 2006.

"Les envois de tout type, notamment aériens et express, à destination de la Géorgie ont repris intégralement", a déclaré un représentant de la Poste de Russie.

Les liaisons postales et aériennes avec la Géorgie avaient été interrompues le 3 octobre 2006, la Russie invoquant des infractions de la partie géorgienne aux normes internationales.

Le trafic aérien avec la Géorgie a repris le 27 mars dernier. Selon Moscou la suspension de la liaison aérienne était due à la dette de la partie géorgienne vis-à-vis du Service fédéral de la navigation aérienne qui se chiffrait à l'époque à plus de 3 millions de dollars.

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Enviado - 01 mayo 2008 :  21:37:34  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
El Kremlin incrementa el número de soldados en Georgia
Tbilisi cree que Moscú busca anexionarse las regiones de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur

El País, Madrid

Georgia acusó ayer a Rusia de estar preparando una agresión y de querer anexionarse las regiones separatistas de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur. David Bakradze, ex ministro de Exteriores georgiano y actual representante de Tbilisi en la OTAN y la Unión Europea, declaró que la decisión de Moscú de elevar el número de soldados pacificadores en Abjazia "es el comienzo de una agresión a gran escala". Bakradze dijo que las acciones de Moscú le recuerdan a la época soviética, cuando "basándose en ciertos documentos la URSS intervenía en diversos países vecinos". Tanto la Unión Europea como la OTAN han criticado la medida rusa.

Rusia envió anteayer más tropas a Abjazia para contrarrestar lo que ella considera los preparativos georgianos de un ataque. Moscú asegura que los georgianos han concentrado gran número de tropas en las cercanías de las fronteras con las regiones separatistas. Los abjazos sostienen que Tbilisi ha reunido en la base militar de Senaki, a sólo unas decenas de kilómetros de la frontera, 5.500 efectivos.

Serguéi Lavrov, ministro de Exteriores ruso, desmintió que Rusia se esté preparando para acciones militares contra Georgia. Según Lavrov, "los acuerdos que regulan la presencia de los pacificadores rusos en Abjazia fijan la cifra máxima del contingente" correspondiente, pero, señaló, hasta ahora su número era inferior al permitido. Al mismo tiempo, el Kremlin ha advertido que "responderá" a cualquier ataque georgiano contra Abjazia u Osetia del Sur.

Ni los rusos ni los georgianos especifican las cifras de pacificadores permitidos, pero el jefe de la diplomacia abjaza, Serguéi Shamba, explicó a este periódico que el límite es de 3.000 hombres y que había unos 2.000. Esto significa que el Kremlin podría haber enviado otros 1.000 soldados a la región separatista.

Bakradze acusó a Rusia de haber reforzado "su control" sobre Abjazia en los últimos tres meses y de establecer lazos directos con las autoridades locales, lo que "pone en cuestión la jurisdicción de Georgia" sobre ese territorio. El envío ruso de tropas, opinó Bakradze en Bruselas, agudiza los problemas; en cualquier caso, dijo, está claro que "la paz no puede verse reforzada con decisiones unilaterales" como las tomadas por Moscú.

La OTAN dijo ayer, por su parte, estar siguiendo "con preocupación" las acciones de Rusia. "Los pasos dados y su retórica han aumentado las tensiones y cuestionado la integridad territorial de Georgia", declaró el portavoz de la Alianza, James Appathurai.

La conveniencia de la presencia rusa en las regiones separatistas está siendo puesta en duda por cada vez más países. El problema es que el Kremlin, según los que critican las acciones de Moscú, está actuando como parte en el conflicto apoyando decididamente a los separatistas, la mayoría de los cuales ya tiene ciudadanía rusa.

Precisamente argumentando que allí viven ciudadanos rusos, el Kremlin decidió ampliar los contactos económicos y financieros con Osetia del Sur y, especialmente, Abjazia, lo que ha sido recibido de uñas por las autoridades de Georgia. Tal ha sido la furia de Tbilisi, que anunció que bloquearía la entrada de Rusia a la Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC).

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Enviado - 04 mayo 2008 :  23:25:21  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Separatistas de Abjazia derriban otro avión espía georgiano
El pasado 20 de abril, Georgia denunció que un caza ruso acabó con uno de sus aviones.
La tensión entre Tbilisi y Moscú ha recrudecido en los últimos días

AGENCIAS - Tbilisi
ELPAÍS.com, Madrid

Los separatistas de la región de Abjazia han derribado un avión espía no tripulado de Georgia que sobrevolaba su territorio, el segundo en las últimas dos semanas, según informaron hoy fuentes oficiales abjazas. El avión fue abatido por la defensa antiaérea abjaza en la región fronteriza de Gali, poblada mayoritariamente por georgianos, señaló una fuente militar abjaza.

En el anterior incidente ocurrido el pasado 20 de abril, Georgia denunció que su avión espía había sido derribado por un caza ruso. El Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas abordó esta última crisis y Tbilisi conseguió el respaldo de una larga lista de países occidentales, entre ellos, Estados Unidos, Alemania, Reino Unido y Francia. En aquel suceso, el avión de reconocimiento no tripulado georgiano fue abatido sobre la zona de conflicto de Abjazia. Tbilisi afirmó que el aparato fue derribado por un caza Mig-29 ruso y, como prueba, presentó un vídeo y la documentación del radar. Rusia ha negado siempre estar implicada en ese derribo y ha afirmado que el aparato de reconocimiento georgiano violaba los acuerdos de alto el fuego del año 1994.

Escalada de tensión

La escalada de la crisis entre ambos países no hace más que aumentar en los últimos días. Moscú ha amenazado con tomar represalias si Georgia usa la fuerza contra las regiones separatistas, mientras Tbilisi asegura que el Kremlin quiere desestabilizar la región y “provocar” con sus acciones. Rusia reforzó su presencia en Georgia la semana pasada con el envío de unos 1.500 soldados y con el pretexto de contrarrestar lo que los rusos consideran los preparativos georgianos de un ataque. Moscú asegura que los georgianos han concentrado gran número de tropas en las cercanías de las fronteras con las regiones separatistas. Los abjazos sostienen que Tbilisi ha reunido en la base militar de Senaki, a sólo unas decenas de kilómetros de la frontera, 5.500 efectivos.

Desde la independencia de Kosovo, Rusia ha reaccionado con un apoyo más decidido a los separatistas de Abjazia y Osetia del Sur. El presidente Vladímir Putin ordenó al Gobierno establecer una relación especial con las autoridades de hecho de aquellos territorios. Tbilisi acusa a Rusia de preparar la anexión de las regiones secesionistas, que rechazaron por la fuerza de las armas la jurisdicción georgiana al desintegrarse la URSS.

Abjazia, uno de los lugares más bellos y variados de la costa del mar Negro, atrajo a los aristócratas rusos en época zarista y luego a los líderes comunistas, incluido Stalin, que tenía varias dachas allí. Pese a las huellas de la guerra que concluyó en 1994, Abjazia ha seguido desarrollando el turismo y muchos rusos han comprado bienes inmuebles, que podrían ser legalizados en el marco de una relación privilegiada entre los separatistas y Moscú.

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Enviado - 16 mayo 2008 :  19:10:57  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Géorgie est "très proche" d'une guerre avec Moscou

Mark John
version française Gwénaelle Barzic et Nicole Dupont

BRUXELLES (Reuters) - La Géorgie est "très proche" d'une guerre avec la Russie, a déclaré un ministre géorgien, évoquant l'envoi par Moscou de renforts en Abkhazie, région sécessionniste de Géorgie.

De son côté, le "ministre" des Affaires étrangères d'Abkhazie, Sergueï Chamba, cité par le journal russe Izvestia, a déclaré que l'Abkhazie était prête à céder le contrôle militaire de la région à la Russie en échange de garanties pour sa sécurité.

Le ministre russe des Affaires étrangères, Sergueï Lavrov, a déclaré que Moscou n'avait reçu aucune demande officielle de prise de contrôle militaire de la région.

"Nous devons éviter une guerre", a déclaré le ministre géorgien des Questions de la Réintégration, Temour Iakobachvili, lors d'une conférence de presse à l'occasion d'une visite à Bruxelles.

Interrogé sur la probabilité d'une guerre entre les deux pays, il a répondu: "(Nous en sommes) très proches, car nous connaissons très bien les Russes."

La Géorgie, voie de transit vitale du pétrole et du gaz dans le Caucase, a irrité la Russie en demandant à adhérer à l'Otan.

La Russie a annoncé jeudi que le déploiement de ses renforts avait débuté en Abkhazie afin de contrer ce qu'elle présente comme un projet d'attaque de Tbilissi.

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Enviado - 17 mayo 2008 :  17:16:48  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La Russie affirme avoir arrêté un espion géorgien
Le FSB (ex-KGB) affirme avoir démasqué un agent secret géorgien dans le Caucase russe
qui chercherait à destabiliser la région, une accusation jugée absurde par Tbilissi

vendredi 16 mai 2008

L'homme qui fait monter la tension entre Russie et Géorgie s'appelle Ramzan Tourkochvili. Né en 1974, «citoyen russe originaire de Géorgie» vivant en Tchétchénie, il devait, selon une source au FSB citée par l’agence russe Interfax, «rechercher» des rebelles en Ingouchie et dans d’autres républiques du Caucase russe pour «les financer et organiser la résistance armée» dans la région. Il a été arrêté par le FSB ce matin.

Cela «confirme l’implication des services secrets de Géorgie dans des activités terroristes subversives dans le Caucase du nord», a estimé cette source. Le ministère géorgien de l’Intérieur Chota Outiachvili a aussitôt qualifié ces propos d’«accusation absurde» et de «provocation».

Selon la source du FSB, Ramzan Tourkochvili a lui-même reconnu avoir travaillé pour les services secrets géorgiens. «Il devait notamment mettre en contact les services secrets géorgiens avec des membres actifs de groupes illégaux armés sur le territoire de la Russie. Il avait pour mission d’établir des contacts avec des policiers de la route pour assurer une libre circulation des terroristes sur le territoire des républiques du Caucase du Nord et recueillir des informations sur des militaires et des employés des institutions d’Etat pour un recrutement par les services secrets géorgiens.»

Activité extrémiste

«Jusqu’à aujourd’hui (...), les gorges de Pankissi (Géorgie) sont utilisées par des organisations terroristes et extrémistes internationales comme base de soutien pour les forces terroristes agissant dans le Caucase du Nord», a également assuré la source du FSB. «Les chefs de groupes terroristes apportent une aide matérielle depuis le territoire de la Géorgie à des bandes agissant dans le Caucase du Nord, coordonnent les préparatifs pour des attentats, mènent le recrutement de jeunes musulmans dans la région d’Akhmeta (gorges de Pankissi) pour des activités extrémistes.»

Pendant la deuxième guerre russo-tchétchène qui a débuté en 1999, Moscou a à plusieurs reprises accusé la Géorgie de tolérer la présence des séparatistes tchétchènes dans la vallée de Pankissi, une région au nord-est de Tbilissi, frontalière avec la Tchétchénie.

«C’est une tentative ratée de réactualiser le problème des gorges de Pankissi où, comme on le sait, il n’y a plus d’extrémistes depuis longtemps», a réagi Chota Outiachvili.

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Enviado - 20 mayo 2008 :  12:36:03  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Géorgiens et Russes jouent à se faire peur
Dans la vallée abkhaze de Kodori, personne ne croit à une guerre en dépit de la montée des tensions
à la veille des législatives géorgiennes

De notre envoyé spécial dans la vallée de Kodori Fabrice Nodé-Langlois

C'est ici, en Abkhazie, que la guerre entre la Géorgie et la Russie pourrait commencer. Ce minuscule pont accroché à une paroi rocheuse au-dessus du torrent Kodori marque, dans cette haute vallée du Caucase, une frontière à risque. Début mai, tour à tour, le président géorgien Mikhaïl Saakachvili et des responsables russes ont affirmé qu'une guerre entre leurs deux pays était «très proche». La tension n'a cessé de croître à l'approche des législatives que la petite Géorgie (4,5 millions d'habitants), ex-république soviétique, organise demain. «À chaque élection, résume Gueorgui Khaindrava, ancien ministre passé à l'opposition, les Russes tentent de déstabiliser la Géorgie, et Saakachvili utilise la tension comme un atout électoral.»

Pour l'heure, le petit pont du Kodori est le théâtre d'un face-à-face plutôt débonnaire. Côté géorgien, des «policiers» une poignée d'hommes du ministère de l'Intérieur armés et vêtus comme des soldats montent la garde derrière des sacs de sable. En face, à moins de cent mètres sur la piste cabossée sont postées les «forces de paix russe». On distingue un blindé transporteur de troupe BTR-80, «un véhicule tout-terrain très rapide qui tire au gros calibre», précise un officier de l'Otan, venu observer les élections géorgiennes.

Seuls ont droit de franchir le pont les observateurs militaires de l'ONU, qui surveillent la région depuis la fin de la guerre de 1992-1993. À l'issue du conflit qui a fait des milliers de morts et qui a chassé de la région 250 000 Géorgiens environ, l'Abkhazie, grande comme l'Aveyron, s'est séparée de la Géorgie. République autoproclamée, elle est pratiquement annexée de fait par la Russie qui la protège avec plus de 2 500 soldats, y fait circuler le rouble et a distribué des passeports à 80 % des quelque 250 000 habitants restants. L'extrémité orientale de cette «république», la vallée de Kodori, est restée sous contrôle géorgien. C'est dans ce cul-de-sac verdoyant adossé à des pics enneigés que, selon Moscou, la Géorgie transfère des armements, du carburant, «des soldats et des policiers dépassant déjà 1500 hommes». La guerre de la désinformation bat son plein. La chaîne de télévision de l'armée russe Zvezda («l'Étoile») a ainsi annoncé, le 8 mai, l'offensive géorgienne pour le lendemain.

La situation s'est envenimée après le sommet de l'Otan de Bucarest où la Géorgie a reçu l'assurance d'une adhésion future à l'Alliance. La première riposte du Kremlin fut l'établissement, le 16 avril, de relations officielles avec l'Abkhazie (et l'Ossétie du Sud), puis l'envoi de renforts. Les forces abkhazes affirment quant à elles avoir abattu sept drones espions géorgiens. Tbilissi ne reconnaît en avoir perdu qu'un seul, abattu le 20 avril par un MiG29 russe. Moscou dément son implication directe. Les tracés radar, «authentiques», ne font aucun doute sur la provenance russe de l'avion, affirme un diplomate européen à Tbilissi.

Contre-offensive médiatique

La Géorgie a lancé une contre-offensive médiatique en con-voyant ces jours-ci des journalistes dans la vallée de Kodori pour y démontrer l'absence de troupes. Séparée du reste du pays par des cols à plus de 2 300 m, Kodori est desservi par des Antonov 2, antiques biplans adaptés aux atterrissages rustiques. Malkhaz Akichbaïa, «président du gouvernement de la république autonome d'Abkhazie», c'est-à-dire chef administratif des 2 300 âmes de la vallée, reçoit dans ses bureaux neufs qui portent une plaque à faire s'étrangler les Russes : «Centre d'information sur l'Otan». Devant la façade rose, un défi claque au vent : le drapeau européen. Malkhaz Akichbaïa s'exprime dans un anglais impeccable appris à Cambridge. Il représente cette élite cosmopolite que le président Saakachvili a attirée à ses côtés après la révolution des Roses.

Tbilissi a repris le contrôle de la haute vallée de Kodori à l'été 2006. La «haute Abkhazie» est peuplée de Svanes, petit peuple apparenté aux Géorgiens et distinct des Abkhazes. Depuis la guerre, les hameaux alpestres étaient sous la coupe réglée d'un «bandit» à la tête d'une milice de 300 hommes. Un raid éclair a mis un terme à cette anarchie. L'État investit dans les écoles pour les 334 élèves, le petit hôpital, et surtout dans la nouvelle route. La piste, ouverte en septembre, relie toute l'année la ville géorgienne la plus proche, Zougdidi, en «seulement» sept heures de voiture. Le téléphone portable, les antennes paraboliques et même un distributeur de billets ont surgi au milieu des prés de boutons d'or, des maisonnettes en bois et des vaches.

Personne ici n'a vu les troupes décrites par Moscou. Mais environ 500 «policiers» sécurisent la vallée. Quant aux armements lourds, l'officier de l'Otan cité plus haut affirme que même la nouvelle route est trop fragile pour supporter une colonne de blindés.

En ce dimanche de fête, les habitants de la haute vallée de Kodori sont rassemblés autour d'un ring de boxe en plein air. «On vit beaucoup mieux maintenant», assure Maïa, en faisant allusion au retour de l'État géorgien. Cette mère de deux enfants se plaint de son modeste salaire d'institutrice, environ 100 €. Mais pour rien au monde elle ne voudrait quitter sa «si belle vallée». À l'unisson avec la plupart des hommes politiques et experts persuadés que ni l'Abkhazie, ni la Russie, ni la Géorgie n'y ont intérêt, Maïa est confiante : «Il n'y aura pas la guerre.»

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Enviado - 01 junio 2008 :  12:45:55  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Georgia acusa a Rusia de enviar tropas a una zona separatista

El País, Madrid

Georgia acusó ayer a Rusia de perpetrar una invasión militar de Abjazia tras confirmarse que Moscú ha enviado tropas a aquella región separatista que rechazó el control de Tbilisi por las armas tras el conflicto de 1992-1993.

Serguéi Shamba, el ministro de Exteriores de los separatistas, informó a la emisora el Eco de Moscú de la llegada de 400 soldados de las tropas de una unidad de ingenieros rusa para reparar las líneas férreas con fines "exclusivamente económicos".

El envío de las fuerzas, dijo, se ha hecho a petición de Abjazia. Según explicó, las reparaciones fueron planificadas previamente con el fin de facilitar el transporte de carga para las obras relacionadas con los Juegos Olímpicos que han de celebrarse en la localidad rusa de Sochi en el invierno de 2014. Shamba afirmó que las mejoras de la vía férrea permitirán también el desplazamiento de las unidades pacificadoras rusa y de su equipo.

Moscú, que formalmente es mediador entre las partes en conflicto, actúa como protector de los separatistas abjazos y contribuye a la integración de la región en Rusia. La infraestructura ferroviaria de Abjazia, muy dañada durante la guerra, sigue dejando mucho que desear.

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Enviado - 09 junio 2008 :  10:22:58  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
"Rusia tiene un instinto depredador y quiere reconquistar lo que cree suyo"

El País, Madrid

"Si dejamos que Rusia se salga con la suya en Abjazia, el siguiente paso será la anexión de Crimea", advierte el presidente de Georgia, Mijaíl Saakashvili, refiriéndose a la situación en uno de los dos territorios separatistas que intenta someter desde que asumió el poder en enero de 2004 aupado por la revolución de las rosas. En una entrevista con EL PAÍS, Saakashvili rechaza la neutralidad como modelo para Georgia, país que espera poder obtener el Plan de Acción para el ingreso en la OTAN, pese al antagonismo de la vecina Rusia.

Saakashvili, de 41 años, fue reelegido en enero y los comicios legislativos de mayo le dan un confortable apoyo en el Parlamento, aunque la oposición siga acusándole en la calle de manipulación electoral. Hiperactivo y avasallador, el líder georgiano es de los que creen tener siempre la razón. Nos recibió de madrugada en su despacho. Tbilisi dormía, pero a su alrededor todo parecía funcionar como si la jornada laboral fuera interminable. Abjazia era su principal preocupación en vísperas de su cita, el viernes pasado, con el presidente de Rusia, Dmitri Medvédev, en San Petersburgo. Osetia del Sur, el otro territorio rebelde, parecía inquietarle menos, ya que, según él, "los separatistas se han quedado sin gente, porque sus principales líderes están hoy de nuestro lado".

"La actitud de Rusia nada tiene que ver con la protección de Abjazia, sino con el deseo de anexionarse ese territorio", señala. Y después se refiere a Crimea, la península del mar Negro, poblada por una mayoría rusa y perteneciente a Ucrania. "¿Qué pasará si mañana alzan la bandera rusa en Crimea? ¿Qué hará Ucrania en ese caso?", exclama. Rusia trata de "reconquistar el territorio que considera suyo" y muestra así su "instinto depredador" y su "inseguridad". También Georgia, según él, "está amenazada por la anexión rusa".

Moscú decidió enviar 400 soldados de las tropas de ferrocarriles para reparar las vías férreas en Abjazia, entre Sujumi, la capital, y una zona poco poblada en el sur. "No construyen infraestructura, sólo refuerzan las vías para que resistan más carga. Los pasajeros no irán allí. Lo que hacen ahora es puro reforzamiento militar", afirma. Se trata, dice, de "la primera vez que Rusia desprecia abiertamente la ley internacional, porque ha decidido traer tropas y las trae", saltándose "la corrección política". "Antes trajeron paracaidistas, unidades de combate, misiles, artillería, y ahora tropas que ni siquiera pretenden ser pacificadoras".

Quiere Saakashvili sustituir a los pacificadores rusos por un contingente multinacional, una "coalición de los dispuestos" con "bálticos, polacos y muchos otros, junto con la Unión Europea". El presidente dice que ha mantenido "extensas conversaciones con los alemanes y otros países para encontrar otra fórmula de pacificación". "Hay muchos países dispuestos a venir aquí. No Alemania ni Francia, pero sí del este de Europa". "Quisiéramos que Rusia pudiera desempeñar un papel constructivo de mediador real, pero ahora no oculta que actúa en contra de la OTAN y de EE UU. ¿Por qué tiene que ser Georgia víctima de la percepción rusa de que todo el mundo está en su contra?", inquiere.

¿Sería diferente la situación si Georgia, en lugar de aspirar al ingreso en la Alianza, optara por un modelo de neutralidad como el de Finlandia respecto a la URSS tras la II Guerra Mundial? "Antes de que el modelo finlandés se estableciera, hubo una guerra entre Finlandia y Rusia [se refiere a la antigua Unión Soviética], que intentó conquistarla y se apoderó de Karelia", precisa. En Moldavia, que como Georgia tiene problemas secesionistas, el presidente Vladímir Voronin negocia con los separatistas del Transdniéster una fórmula de Estado neutral y los expertos creen posible llegar a un acuerdo. "Por el momento, no hemos visto mucho progreso. Lo creeré cuando lo vea", señala. Georgia sigue cooperando con Moldavia, pero hoy tiene más contactos con Ucrania. Moldavia "está dirigida por el partido comunista con sus propios valores y Georgia ni siquiera tiene partido comunista", dice.

Opina Saakashvili que "el orden europeo de posguerra está siendo socavado y que lo que sucede en Georgia determinará el rumbo de Europa para los próximos 50 años". Según el presidente, para el comportamiento ruso existen "malos precedentes en el siglo pasado que acabaron en grandes tragedias". Como ejemplo cita "los Sudetes" (la anexión por Hitler de aquella zona poblada por alemanes en 1938 con la aprobación de Francia, el Reino Unido e Italia). Moscú ha creado un "problema artificial" en los territorios separatistas, repartiendo pasaportes, y "ahora reclama un derecho a controlar la zona para proteger a la población rusa. La cosa no es así", sentencia.

Saakashvili quisiera que la UE fuera garante de su plan de paz para los abjazos, pero también que secunde su política. Para ello propone que Bruselas "niegue el visado a los altos funcionarios que visiten Abjazia sin permiso de Georgia".

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Enviado - 11 julio 2008 :  12:26:54  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La crisis entre Georgia y Rusia se agudiza
El parlamento georgiano se reúne hoy para tratar la situación cada vez más tensa.
Tbilisi llama a consultas a su embajador en Moscú

El País, Madrid

Las tensiones entre Rusia y Georgia continúan aumentando después de que Tbilisi llamara a consultas a su embajador en Moscú debido a la violación de espacio aéreo en la región separatista de Osetia del Sur. El embajador Erosi Kitsmarishvili tiene previsto llegar hoy a Georgia.

El Kremlin reconoció ayer que sus aviones de combate sobrevolaron Osetia del Sur, pero un comunicado del ministerio de Exteriores justificaba la acción que, según Moscú, evitó un ataque de las fuerzas georgianas contra los osetios. El Parlamento de Georgia se reúne hoy para debatir la crisis surgida y "revisar las perspectivas de las relaciones futuras" con su poderoso vecino del Norte.

Mientras tanto, la secretaria de Estado norteamericana, Condoleezza Rice reafirmó su apoyo a las aspiraciones georgianas de ingresar en la OTAN al tiempo que expresó su preocupación por la política que Rusia hacia las regiones separatistas georgianas, Abjazia y Osetia del Sur. Rice, al final de su visita a Tbilisi ayer, declaró que la solución de esos conflictos "debe producirse respetando la integridad territorial de Georgia y pacíficamente".

El ministerio de Exteriores de Georgia calificó de "un nuevo acto de agresión la violación del espacio aéreo de Georgia por parte de cuatro aviones de combate rusos el 9 de julio". "Esta agresión abierta por parte de la Federación Rusa crea una amenaza a la paz y la seguridad no sólo en Georgia sino también en toda la región caucásica", se dice en un comunicado divulgado hoy.

Mientras el presidente georgiano Mijaíl Saakashvili recibía ayer a Rice en Tbilisi, el ministro de Exteriores ruso, Serguéi Lavrov, se reunía en Moscú con el líder separatista abjazo Serguéi Bagapsh. Lavrov y Bagapsh hablaron sobre la representación rusa que el Kremlin piensa abrir en Abjazia y sobre la serie de explosiones ocurridas en esa región últimamente. La más sangrienta se produjo el domingo pasado en un café de Gali. En esa ocasión perecieron cuatro personas, entre ellos Dhanzuj Muratiai, jefe del Servicio de Seguridad de esa ciudad fronteriza entre Abjazia y el resto de Georgia. Abjazia responsabiliza a "altos funcionarios del Ministerio del Interior de Georgia" de ser los organizadores de los atentados.

Abjazia y Osetia del Sur son independientes de hecho desde la primera mitad de los años noventa, después de sendas guerras contra Tbilisi. Aunque ningún país los ha reconocido oficialmente, muchos políticos rusos consideran que Moscú debe hacerlo en el caso de que Georgia sea aceptada en la OTAN. El Kremlin considera que el ingreso de Tbilisi en la Alianza dañará al proceso de paz y propone que Georgia firme un tratado de no uso de la fuerza con las regiones separatistas como un primer paso para aliviar las tensiones.

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