Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani. Photo: Mzia Saganelidze (RFE/RL)

23 July 2018, 11:41

Political analysts see method of "carrot and stick" in Moscow's policy towards Georgia

When stating inadmissibility for extension of NATO's borders and, at the same time, restoring diplomatic relations with Georgia, Russia uses the "carrot and stick" method against the country, believe Georgian political analysts.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 11, NATO countries called on Russia to withdraw troops from the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and refuse to recognize their sovereignty. In his interview to the Fox News, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the NATO's advance toward the Russian borders and, in particular, the Georgia's joining the alliance, would threaten Russia and provoke a response.

Russia "is interested in restoring good neighbourly relations with Georgia. That is in line with the fundamental interests of the peoples of our countries," said Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in her interview to the "Rustavi-2" TV Channel.

However, according to Maria Zakharova, Georgia "has actually turned into an element of the western "strategy to restrain Russia" in the Black Sea region and the Southern Caucasus.

The Georgian MFA has responded by stating that "full-fledged relations take place along the line of the territorial integrity of Georgia and its sovereignty."

Giorgi Kandelaki, a delegate to the Georgian Parliament from the opposition "European Georgia" Party, believes the issue of restoring relations depends on Russia, since it supports Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

According to Kakha Gogolashvili, the head of the Institute for Strategic and International Studies, Russia has resorted to "soft power" by using a visa-free regime for Georgian citizens as an instrument of influence on the country.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 23, 2018 at 05:47 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Inna Kukudjanova; Source: CK correspondent

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