Georgia de-energized. High time for Shevardnadze to be compliant

Appeals of Russian parliamentarians to place economic pressure on Georgia have been finally achieved results. On Tuesday, Russia suspended energy supplies to Georgia. Electricity had been supplied to Georgia on the Kavkasioni high-voltage line. Head of the PR-department with RAO UES of Russia Andrey Yegorov reported that, throughout 2002, Georgia suspended the payment order for Russian energy supplies several times. Georgia’s last electricity payment was made in December 2001. The total amount of unliquidated debts for Russia’s energy supplies to Georgia in March and two weeks of April made up $2.5 million (102 million kWh).

At present, RAO UES of Russia planning to bring a suit against the Georgian party in the International Commercial Court for debt recovery. It is quite logical to say here that Georgia is to blame itself only for the extreme measure, as RAO’s chairman Anatoly Chubais treats Russian debtors in a similar way. However, to my mind, the situation is not a mere dispute of the two subjects, and politics is very likely to be involved here.

The action immediately produced an effect. Could we ever imagine that an influential Georgian politician would pronounce eulogy as concerning Russia? Yesterday we would consider it to be a fantasy, however, today we see it is a reality.

Speaker of the Georgian parliament Nino Burdzhanadze made an unusual statement in an interview to the newspaper Obschaya Gazeta. She said that refutations of the Georgian authorities of the fact that militants were hiding in the Pankissi Gorge were wrong. “If Georgia’s authorities were informed about militants being present in the Gorge, we were to have announced it openly”, Nino Burdzhanadze said. “Nobody mentioned the exact number of militants hiding in the Pankissi Gorge. Russia tended to overstate the number, and Georgia was inclined to understate it. We should have been objective with the figures.”

In the speaker’s words, the Russian side rejected any possibility of toughening control of the border when the second Chechen war started. It was a request of the Georgian side, as refugees poured then to Georgia’s border, armed bandits were among them as well, which posed a great threat to Georgia. Nino Burdzhanadze concluded that when we saw Russia incapable of controlling the border, we could not expect safe boundary control from a weak Georgia. The speaker also thinks that it is a mistake of President Shevardnadze to give a positive estimate of Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelayev.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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