Georgia recently launched a campaign to fashion itself as a champion of North Caucasus rights and the center of a peaceful, prosperous Caucasus. In theory, the campaign is all about good vibrations. In practice, though, the initiative could have more to do with a tit-for-tat for Russian intervention in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, some observers say.
President Mikheil Saakashvili first sounded the call for a “free, stable and united” Caucasus last month in a speech to the United Nations. “[I]n terms of human and cultural space, there is no North and South Caucasus,” Saakashvili said. “There is one Caucasus that belongs to Europe and will one day join the European family of free nations, following the Georgian path.”
So far, the focus is mainly on Russia’s North Caucasus, but Georgian officials say that Tbilisi is working in all directions to make the “united” Caucasus a reality.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.