Georgia is reinventing its regional policy in the North Caucasus

Georgia is trying to reach out to the neighboring small peoples of the North Caucasus to acquire greater influence in its immediate neighborhood. Following the loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia during the war with Russia in August 2008, Georgia has indeed little to lose, if it starts its own set of policies in the region.

So now Georgia pays attention to the harsh suppression of dissenters in the North Caucasus, the issue of possible genocide, that some Circassians, Chechens and others raise. The conference on Circassians’ genocide in the XIX century that was held in Tbilisi on March 19-21 evoked anger and exasperation on Russians’ side, so that probably shows, that the step was made in the right direction. The next step for Georgia would be to recognize the genocide. I think, it is quite obvious that Russia deliberately killed civilians and acted to change the ethnic balance of the northwestern Caucasus, so that about 90% of the Circassians currently live outside of their homeland.

It would be worth to return to the issue of Chechnya too. I think, Georgia would do the right thing, if it developed the capabilities for research and monitoring of human rights abuses in the North Caucasus.

All in all, more active Georgia will mean breaking up North Caucasian isolation, better relations with its neighbors, constructive competition with Russian imperialism and more predictability of the processes in the region.

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