Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Ivaylo Kalfin in Georgia

Adelina Marini, February 19, 2008

Deputy prime minister and foreign minister Ivaylo Kalfin is on an official visit to Georgia, where he opened a Bulgarian-Georgian business forum and met with his Georgian counterpart Gela Bezhuashvili. A little while before the agreement for removal of visas for Bulgarians in Georgia has been announced, we learned that this morning there has been an murder attempt against the prime minister of the separatist republic of Abkhasia which is within Georgian territory.

Let me first remind what the situation in separatist republics South Ossetia and Abkhasia is which Georgian foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili defined as black holes in Georgia.

Georgia is the first post-Soviet republic where the fight for independence and later the definition of international boundaries, was marked by bloody ethnic-territorial conflicts. The first free parliamentary elections on a multipartite basis, were held in Georgia in October 1990 and in May next year the first free presidential elections are held, in which the Communist party suffered great loss and couldn't play any significant role in political processes in the country. Georgia is the second, after Latvia, Soviet republic which on the 9th of April 1991 separated from the Soviet Union.

Within Georgia there two autonomous regions - the Abkhasian autonomous soviet republic and the Adjarian republic as well as South Ossetia. In South Ossetia the problems have started with the soviet experiment of Mikhail Gorbachov from the fall of 1989 when unilateral changes in the constitutions of South Ossetia, Abkhasia and Adjaria had been introduced. These changes had been introduced in spite the principles of federalism and thus the specific character of this time of structure is violated. This type of structure gave different levels of authority the duty to participate in the introduction of constitutional changes, related to the relations among them. The tension escalated further when the High council of South Ossetia in the fall of 1990 endorsed a Declaration of sovereignty which declared the South-Ossetian democratic soviet republic and then turned to Moscow to ask for recognition as an independent object of the Soviet federation.

Regarding Abkhasia - this was the first republic that tried to change its status quo within the framework of the Soviet Union. Far in 1957 the first public appeal was sent to Moscow, signed by famous people in Abkhasia with a request Abkhasia to join the Russian federation. Similar requests for leaving Georgia and accession to Russian federation were quite often sent by Abkhasian intellectuals and politicians. In Abkhasia the policy for pressing out national minorities was identical with the one in Georgia. In Abkhasia it was constantly spoken of ethnical identity of the local people and the historical right of this nation over the territory of Abkhasia.

The Georgian foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili refused to comment on the accident earlier this morning but he said:

"In general I don't want to comment on all these questions because these things happen in the black holes of Georgia almost every day. That is why we have called many times and we again call that these black holes shouldn't exist in Europe any more. So we have to do everything possible to solve the conflicts as soon as possible so that these terrorist attacks and a lot more unlawful acts would seize".

Regarding possible parallels with Kosovo, which are a main argument of Russia, because Moscow believes that if the Serbian province is given independence this would unleash the domino effect in all troubled areas in the post-Soviet area. According to Bezhuashvili such parallels are wrong because they do harm to everyone, including Russia.