Who benefits from the transportation of Russian arms through Georgia?

Ali Hajizade

Editor’s column


Recently, the Azerbaijani and Georgian public were stirred by news, or rather photos and videos filmed in Georgia. These photos and videos showed how Russian weapons were transported to Armenia through Georgia. Personally for me, that’s not news, because I have had this information for several years, not only me, but also many others, both in Georgia and in Azerbaijan. Georgia is a small country, moreover, the Russian side almost always does everything awkwardly and clumsily, so it has never been really possible to hide this fact.

For an outside observer, this fact may seem at least illogical. Imagine that, in 1939, the USSR transported arms across the territory of Poland to Germany (at the time when Poland was at war with Germany) or vice versa. Russia in 2008, occupied part of the territory of Georgia, and yet the Georgian authorities allow the Russian military to transport military equipment through its territory to Armenia, to the country which is a de facto Russian protectorate and is used by Moscow to exert pressure on Azerbaijan and Georgia. This would seem to be a stalemate. However, for people who know the actual course of events in Georgia everything is pretty clear.

International organizations and the EU often criticize Azerbaijan because of problems with democracy in the country, and cite Georgia as an example. I’m not going to protect one and blame the other. I just want to say that it was thanks to the Georgian democracy that Moscow was able to make its man the de facto leader of Georgia. Bidzina Ivanishvili, who controls the Georgian government behind the scenes, can be called a Russian businessman rather than a Georgian politician. And yet, through his man in Tbilisi, the Russian side can resolve a number of issues that are contrary to Georgia’s national interests. Democracy, of course, is the best form of government, but if you are a small democratic country with strong neighbors who are alien to your values, problems are inevitable! For they will certainly use your democratic freedoms in their own interests.

And the transportation of Russian arms to Armenia, which occupied significant territories of Azerbaijan and has its own views on a part of the territory of Georgia (Akhalkalaki region), through the territory of the latter, Armenia has in fact important military and political consequences that run counter to the long-term national interests of Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as their Peoples and governments. However, as we see, the short-term, narrow-corporate interests of Russian oligarchs with fresh Georgian passports sometimes prevail over national interests….


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