STRENGTHENING OF THE ANTI-RUSSIAN FRONT IN THE POST-SOVIET REPUBLICS

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The leaders of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldavia have resumed contacts aimed at creating a new territorial-economic organization, which will probably become anti-Russian. In particular, Moldavian President Vladimir Voronin made contacts with his counterparts Victor Yushchenko and Mikhail Saakashvili on the eve of the election. As is known, Voronin visited Kiev this week. Mikhail Saakashvili met with the Moldavian leader in Kishinev. The topic of their negotiations concerned restoration of GUUAM, the creation of joint economy and alternative sources of hydrocarbons. The partners consider the prospects of importing oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. At present, this oil is transported via the Black Sea to terminals of the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi. This oil can be redirected to Moldavia. However, it is a big question if Russian oil tycoons will agree with such plans.

Anyway, the three leaders supported the idea of restoring GUUAM. They think that their independence depends on the withdrawal of Russian military bases from their territories. Moldavia and Georgia currently insist on the withdrawal of Russian military contingents from the Trans-Dniester territory, Akhalkalaki and Batumi. Some Ukrainian politicians are dissatisfied with the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

Georgia made the most radical statements. Nino Burdzhanadze, speaker of the Georgian parliament, stated in late February that the Russian bases might be outlawed. It should be noted that this happened right after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Georgia.

Burdzhanadze stated in an interview with the Mze television company, “I told the Russian foreign minister that if Moscow fails to implement the Istanbul agreements and announce the realistic timing of the withdrawal of its bases (not seven or eight years as Moscow insists). We will be prepared to discuss the problem of the military bases in a quite different manner. In particular, we will deprive them of their legitimate status in Georgia.”

Vooronin did not make statements regarding the presence of Russian bases in Moldavia. He seeks to win the election and probably does not want to stir up voters, but as is known Voronin called Russia an invader in December 2004, and demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from the Trans-Dniester territory as soon as possible. It should be noted that Ukraine supports Voronin’s position. The Moldavian and Ukrainian presidents stated after their meeting in Kiev that “Ukraine and Moldavia seek to resume negotiations over the Trans-Dniester conflict”. The parties noted that their “strategic goals regarding European integration” coincide. They intend to develop their relations with the European Union and support European values and standards.

The EU’s values are well known – Europe seeks to demilitarize the Trans-Dniester territory (i.e. make Russian withdraw its troops from this region). The deputy aide to the NATO secretary-general stated in Moscow that the alliance insists on signing binding documents on the withdrawal of the Russian bases from Georgia and Moldavia.

He stated, “We want to see the agreements with the timing of withdrawal of the Russian bases from Georgia and Moldavia as soon as possible.” He noted that one of the main principles of the OSCE is as follows, “Countries have the right to keep their bases on foreign territory only with the permission of these countries.”

It is obvious that NATO and the US seek to oust Russia from the countries where “orange revolutions” happened. In this regard, the statement made by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk looks very symptomatic. He stated that the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol must be restricted. The Ukrainian minister acknowledged that he does not see any sense in the presence of the Russian fleet in the Crimea. In other words, strengthening of the anti-Russian front in the post-Soviet republics is accompanied by an active policy of ousting the Russian military bases from Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine. Moscow has not determined its position yet, and seeks to hinder negotiations over the destiny of its bases, however, it’s obvious that such tactics will not lead to geopolitical successes in the future.

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