Georgia has come knocking on separatist doors with a basket full of promised grants, investments and social welfare perks, but de facto Abkhaz and South Ossetian officials, wary of Georgians bearing gifts and mindful of Moscow and their own declarations of independence, show no sign of interest in the offering.
The Action Plan for Engagement, a white paper originally tabled this winter, marks an attempt to switch from stick to carrot in Tbilisi’s dealings with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. The document offers assistance ranging from investment promotion schemes to Georgian social security benefits.
The separatist-controlled governments, however, were quick to term the offer “bribery.” Russia, which has a large troop presence in both regions, has already described the effort as too little too late.
In comments to the OSinform news agency, Russian parliamentarian Sergei Markov, a member of the ruling United Russia Party, scoffed that the Kremlin is not running a fruit and vegetable stand where “Abkhaz and Ossetians are sold like tomatoes and tangerines.”
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.