The creation of an economic elite within the Commonwealth of Independent States is designed to promote integration over the long term. But in the immediate future, it seems destined to become a source of domestic political tension in some CIS states.
Geopolitical dilemmas loom over Georgia as the country prepares for parliamentary elections November 2. Georgian leaders continue to struggle to normalize relations with Russia. The two countries have haggled in recent weeks over such issues as Abkhazia and Chechen refugees.
EurasiaNet: Could you review current Georgian-Russian relations? Is it possible to predict developments? Japaridze: To come to the heart of the relations between Georgia and Russia, you have to take into account two fundamental and lasting trends. ...
Russia designed the presidential election in Chechnya to foster an aura of stability in the war-ravaged region. Many political analysts contend, however, that Russian meddling in the campaign threatens to alienate Chechens, prolong the separatist struggle and possibly exacerbate the terrorist trend sparked by the conflict.
The fragility of Georgia's electric system became vivid on August 18, when a disruption to a transmission line switched off the entire country. Government officials promptly claimed sabotage. But opposition politicians in Tbilisi accuse President Eduard Shevardnadze of betraying citizens by allowing Russian energy companies potentially decisive influence over how Georgia delivers electricity.
In a separate statement, the State Department says that because of Basayev's links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, the United States, Britain, and Russia had asked the UN to impose travel restrictions on him in all UN member states and to block shipments of arms and financial aid to his rebels by UN members.
In early July, James Baker, the former US secretary of state, visited Tbilisi and secured the tentative support of all major political forces in Georgia for a plan designed to reduce the chances of electoral fraud in the November parliamentary election. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
While the self-declared autonomous republic of Abkhazia maintains a paltry economy and has never won recognition from Georgia, some people in its capital are ready to celebrate. September 30 marks the tenth anniversary of Abkhazia's break from Georgia.
Russian authorities on August 5 announced the detention of three suspects for possible links to the suicide car bombing that killed 50 people at a Russian military hospital last week in Mozdok, North Ossetia.