Senior politician hails Russia role in avoiding bloodshed in Ajaria

Senior politician hails Russia’s role in avoiding bloodshed in Ajaria

Radio Mayak, Moscow
6 May 04

Presenter Russian Federation Council speaker Sergey Mironov emphasized
in an interview with our radio station that Moscow had always
supported Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Mironov The political changes in Ajaria are an internal affair for
Georgia. Russia has always spoken out consistently, as a matter of
principle, in support of Georgia’s territorial integrity. I have to
say, with satisfaction, that it is in a large part thanks to Russia’s
efforts that bloodshed was avoided in Ajaria and that former Ajarian
leader Aslan Abashidze’s resignation took place peacefully. Talking
about Abashidze’s future, I think that it is now a personal matter for

Most importantly, a powerful positive impulse has appeared in our
relations with Georgia. I hope that Georgia and our diplomats make
effective use of this impulse. Nevertheless, it is important to state
that the way in which Abashidze’s resignation happened in Ajaria is
not acceptable either in Abkhazia or in South Ossetia. All in all, I
have to say that the standoff between Georgia and Ajaria ended well
because there were no casualties. Now, against the background of these
events, with the Georgian foreign minister Salome Zourabichvili
visiting Russia, there is an opportunity to move forward in many
aspects of our agreements. I would like to repeat that the Federation
Council regards what has happened as a positive event.

Presenter Meanwhile, political experts do not rule out the possibility
of changes to Ajaria’s status as an autonomous region within
Georgia. Konstantin Zatulin, the director of the Institute of CIS
Countries, had this to say on the matter.

Zatulin Now, a major blow has been dealt to the self-government that
Ajaria enjoyed during the entire period of Abashidze’s rule. In the
immediate future all questions relating to the region’s development
will be resolved in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

I think that the only rational step for Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili to take is to preserve Ajaria’s autonomy and so to avoid
any reproaches from the guarantor countries of the Moscow and Kars
treaties of 1921 – these were Soviet Russia and Turkey. In signing
these treaties, they guaranteed the existence of an autonomous
Ajaria. It was only for these reasons and under these conditions that
Turkey agreed to pull its troops out of Batumi, to be replaced by
Soviet troops.

Formally, Ajaria will remain autonomous, but it will have no real
autonomy from Tbilisi. I don’t know what this will lead to in the long
term, but one thing is clear: even now it could bring about an
explosion of enthusiasm and attempts to suppress all national
differences in other Georgian regions. This will not just be in
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, over which Tbilisi has lost all control,
but, for example, in Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, which is located next
to Ajaria and has a predominately Armenian population.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS