How come CIS countries dismissed Saakashvili’s calls?

WPS Agency, Russia
What the Papers Say (Russia)
August 15, 2008 Friday

HOW COME CIS COUNTRIES DISMISSED SAAKASHVILI’S CALLS?

by Sanobar Shermatova

CIS COUNTRIES ARE KEEPING A LOW PROFILE IN THE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN
CONFLICT; CIS countries neither support Russia nor intend to follow
Saakashvili’s advice to quit the Commonwealth.

The situation is quixotic. No ally of Russia in the Commonwealth of
Independent States spoke up in its support. On the other hand, no
country heeded Mikhail Saakashvili’s recommendation to withdraw from
the Commonwealth. To a certain extent, CIS countries’ silence might be
ascribed to the lack of precedents. After all, this is the first time
the Russian regular army invades the territory of a CIS country.

Members of the Commonwealth, an organization proclaimed dead more than
once already, have established horizontal ties and maintain them
without much ado. Moreover, these ties do not necessarily involve
Moscow itself. Russia remains a powerful Eurasian center but that does
not make it the command post. In other words, Saakashvili’s wrathful
promise to quit an "organization run by Russia" have little to do with
the actual state of affairs. Also interesting, the Georgian president
himself appraised the Commonwealth in a different manner just a couple
of years ago. "Granted that it was humiliation (Georgia was forced
into the Commonwealth – Gazeta), we find membership in this
organization quite beneficial," he said. "We retained contacts with
post-Soviet republics. We signed bilateral treaties… set up
commercial ties, ensured free movement of the population… I’m happy
that so many Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Kazakhs, Belarussians,
Ukrainians, and others come to Georgia."

It is clear now that no other CIS member intends to follow in
Georgia’s steps and cede. Ukraine has already said that matters of
this magnitude are not to be decided at rallies. Official Kiev knows
that a mere suggestion to withdraw from the Commonwealth may split the
country for good. Moreover, there are other benefits of being a CIS
member neither Ukraine nor other countries will want to lose.

Source: Gazeta, August 15 – 17, 2008, p. 6

Translated by Aleksei Ignatkin

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