New thaw in relations between Russia and Georgia?
Georgia to put up with Russia, and to ask for membership in NATO and the EU at the same time. Is it even possible?
The candidate of the ruling coalition "Georgian Dream" George Margvelashvili, who scored 62.11% of the vote, was announced to be the winner of the presidential elections in Georgia. More then one million people gave him their voices. Inauguration is scheduled for November 17.
The elections are remarkable because they were held on the background of the amendments to the Constitution of Georgia - the president now is largely a decorative figure. The Parliament and the Prime Minister from now on will actually run the country.
Margvelashvili's arrival to presidency is also marked by the end of Mikhail Saakashvili's era, who has already written his name in the Georgian history as President who dragged Georgia into war with Russia. Experts believe that the situation may change with the arrival of a new team to power in Georgia. At least Kremlin sincerely believes in it, and Tbilisi sends appropriate promises.
George Margvelashvli without waiting for the official results to be announced said that Georgia will continue the process of establishing relations with Russia.
"We will no longer be aggressive, Georgia will conduct a constructive policy towards Russia ", - Margvelashvili said.
Mentioning the word "aggression" as understood by political scientists the new president was referring to the events of August 2008, when Saakashvili tried to force back the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgia. Russian authorities responded adequately and held a special operation to force Georgia to peace.
Five years after the "five-day war" Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov commenting the elections in Georgia said that Moscow hopes for friendly policy of the new Georgian authorities towards Russia.
"We wish the people of Georgia to complete all the arrangements to form a new government as soon as possible. Given the current realities in this complex region we hope that the Georgian authorities' policy towards Russia would be friendly and neighborly," - the Minister said.
Lavrov also congratulated the Georgian people with the elections. "According to the information received, the elections were free, fair, and no one disputes their results," – he added.
The results of opinion polls a week before the election confirmed that more than half of the population of Georgia was ready to vote for the candidate of the "Georgian Dream" Margvelashvili. Despite the fact that he came in politics only in October 2012 when he was appointed Minister of Education in Bidzina Ivanishvili's government. It is worth noting that Margvelashvili did not join any political party. In February this year, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Georgian government, and in May the ruling coalition "Georgian Dream" named George Margvelashvili as their main candidate for President of Georgia.
However, the foreign policy of Georgia is not as evident as it seems to be. Margvelashvili speaking for the resumption of friendly relations with Russia at the same time promises to stay the course on The European Union integration and NATO membership. The NATO issue was assigned to current Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania, who recently was regarded as one of the major presidential candidates.
According to Georgian media the Prime Minister Ivanishvili gave him a specific task - to get a NATO Membership Action Plan for Georgia, what President Saakashvili failed to do.
The current Prime Minister laid the task of joining the EU on Margvelashvili's shoulders, although many experts consider it to be fantastic.
"We should be able in a very short period of time to show the world that Georgia and the Georgian people are Europeans. And we deserve to join the EU as soon as possible. Such a president like George allows us to have such a great ambition" – this is how Ivanishvili described Margvelashvili in one of his speeches.
It turns out that Georgia is on a kind of crossroads now. On the one hand, a special goal is set - to improve the relations with Russians, on the other - a course on European integration.
"If you run after two hares, you will catch neither."
This idiom is well known in Tbilisi for sure. It is hoped that Ivanishvili and the whole new Georgian leadership have a specific plan, following which they will be given to implement both ideas.