The main topics of European summits of the OSCE and NATO concerned the situation in Georgia and the Trans-Dniester territory. The US criticized Russia for its activities in these regions rather strictly. US Secretary of State Colin Powell stated in Maastricht that no one must support the separatism in Georgia.
Colin Powell stated: “Separatist elements, which can weaken Georgia’s territorial integrity, must not be supported. The international community must make every effort in order to retain Georgia’s territorial integrity during and after the election.”
Colin Powell said that Russian military bases deployed in the CIS support separatist regimes. In particular, he said that Moscow “fails to meet its obligations taken in Istanbul in 1999”. The OSCE summit in Istanbul decided that Russia had to withdraw military bases from Gudaut and Vaziani until mid-2002 and determine the timing of the withdrawal of other bases. The Gudaut and Vaziani bases have left Georgia, but Moscow and Tbilisi cannot reach an agreement regarding the Batumi and Akhalkalaki bases.
Mr. Powell also said: “We are concerned about the presence of Russian bases in the Trans-Dniester territory.” The US secretary of state also commented on the Chechen issue. According to him, Moscow must protect human rights in Chechnya even within the framework of a combat against terrorism.
Mr. Powell made these statements after a meeting with acting Georgian President Nino Burdzhanadze. She reproached Moscow for supporting the separatist regimes in Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov reacted to these passages immediately. He stated that Russia does not intervene and will never intervene in the affairs of foreign nations. He noted: “We have witnessed other nations intervening in Georgia’s and Moldavia’s affairs.”
In addition, Ivanov stated that Russia “does not hide what is happening in Chechnya”. Everyone who needs information about processes in the republic can get it without obstacles. He also stated that Moscow does not reject foreign nations’ assistance in combating terrorism in Chechnya.
It should be noted that these duels between the Russian foreign minister and the US secretary of state testify to the beginning of a struggle for influence in the region. As is known, Russia has tried to settle the situation in Georgia since the beginning of upheavals in the republic. The Russian foreign minister arrived in Georgia and met with Shevardnadze at the most critical moment. However, Shevardnadze had to leave the republic. After that Sergei Ivanov visited Batumi. The leaders of Adjaria, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia arrived in Moscow soon after Shevardnadze’s resignation. Russia promised to open the border with Adjaria and welcome economic contacts with Georgian autonomies. The leaders of Georgian autonomies (except for Abashidze) announced their intention to join Russia. In the meantime, the US promised to support Georgian reformers.
In the meantime, it turned out that the US was involved in the velvet revolution in Georgia. Shevardnadze hinted in an interview that the coup was sponsored by Soros: “He Soros prepared a conception aimed at promoting quite different people to power. The situation in Georgia developed according to the Yugoslavian scenario.” Analysts have found some other indirect confirmations of this statement. For instance, Richard Miles, incumbent US ambassador to Tbilisi, previously worked in Yugoslavia. There are rumors that Miles prepared a coup in Belgrade and Tbilisi.
Nikolai Kovalev, former director of the FSB and deputy secretary of the Duma security committee, made a very interesting statement in an interview with Vesti Nedeli on Sunday: “The Duma security committee has conducted an investigation of circumstances of the coup in Georgia and concluded that it was prepared very thoroughly. The coup was financed from the US, and events developed according to the Belgrade scenario.” Kovalev is sure that people involved in the coup were trained in Serbia. Kovalev said that such training camps were created in 2002; they are sponsored by the US via some social foundations.
The former director of the FSB also stated that Saakashvili spent six months in Serbia and visited these camps.
However, there is no evidence that Shevardnadze’s resignation was initiated by the US. In the meantime, pro-American politicians come to power in the republic. The EU and the OSCE hinder a peacemaking process in Moldavia. NATO and the EU expand toward former Soviet republics. Time will show how this will influence the situation in the CIS and Russian interests.