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Kakha Katsitadze: “Today, There Is Complete Regress in the Conflict Regulation Process”

19.04.2010
Tamar Shaishmelashvili

Why are we permanently in war situation? Why have not we achieved consensus with Ossetian and Abkhaz parties? Expert Kakha Katsidze thinks it requires very thorough analyze. Our society was not oriented on resolving the problems through consensus – this mentality was established during the communist epoch. The wide-spread assumption was – “If I can subordinate or rob somebody, why should I agree with him about it?!”

Kakha Katsitadze: “Today we have the same mentality. We often hear – Russia and the USA can seize something from somebody and why they do not do it. It means, this society is oriented on contradistinction instead counter-agreement culture – one party imposes its opinions over the second one.

Unfortunately, the parties, which were compelled to oppose us – Ossetian, Abkhaz and Russian peoples – they did not want consensus; they wanted to resolve the problem by force. The most important was to find out which of them managed to gain more and stronger power; this situation finally turned into craziness.

Both parties started to look for the patron. We applied to the west; they applied to Russia for help. The worst point was absence of the wish in both sides to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Let us admit sincerely – not only separatists but we either have not done anything in this direction except enacting the election law of Abkhazia by the national government with the leadership of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the late president of Georgia.

-Did it assist us to avoid the conflict?

-Abkhazian problem was settled without blood and other military operations. Election law envisaged principle of some quotas. More precisely, 65 members should have been in the supreme council of Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia; among them 28 were Abkhaz members, 26 were Georgians, and 11 of other nationalities. In accordance to the achieved agreement, chairperson of the supreme council of Abkhazia was to be Georgian and the most important issue – the amendment was introduced to the constitution of Abkhazia which obliged the Council to approve any decisions with the support of the 2/3 of the members.

Legally, if they wished to change the constitutional status and separation from Georgia, corresponding legitimate act was to be enacted. It was to be written in their constitution that Abkhazia is independent state; however, separatists could not do it without the support of the 2/3 of voters and agreement of Georgian side.

After Gamsakhurdia was overthrown, completely psychopathic decision was made with the initiative of Irakli Tsereteli. The Constitution of Georgia was abolished according to which Abkhazia was part of Georgia. Status of Abkhazia was defined separately while previous constitution had already defined it. Thus, we ourselves allowed them to start different legal and political activities.

Several hundreds of people gathered in the Sport Palace did not have right to change the constitution. That means, we were the first who breached our rights. Georgian fraction could not even elect the Georgian prime-minister and in fact spoilt the entire process.

-It must be pointed out that the collapse of the USSR supported the conflicts as well…

-not only the collapse of the USSR but much more important changes throughout the world supported the conflicts; it was transitive epoch. China became the country of the world importance. India is going in this direction too.

Collapse of the communist system, globalization – everything coincided in time and finally we received very painful results.

In addition to that, Russian factor, which acted very impulsively, and failure of Georgia not only to defend our interests in conflict resolution but even in territorial-statehood management was the last point of all it. Can you tell me at least one document which defines what kind of state Georgia is? Let us take the Constitution; the situation is tragicomic in this direction.

Unfortunately, we do not know what kind of Georgia we want. Is anywhere expressed any form of public agreement? Or have ever political parties gathered and said what they think about state arrangement? Nothing similar was done.
Georgia might be the only state whose inner-political management is not defined by the Constitution; that means, it is not clarified what the inner-political subjects are – sides, districts… what we are – unitary state, federal or something average.

There is no conception either how to lead internal or external policy. Everything is chaotic and impulsive.

In addition to all these, politicians have ambitions. Since the society was not oriented on consensus, they voted for the candidate who shouted – they are enemies – louder of all.

-All these lead us to the military situation we have lived in for 30 years already; the most difficult is the fact that entire generation grew up in this hysteria…

-There are nations who live in worse situation… let us take Afghanistan. There they fight physically. You mentioned hysteria. Lost war naturally breeds necessity of revenge.

Final quarter of the entire XIX century was hysteric for France. All their efforts were to gain Elzas and Lotharingia back and it resulted in to the World War I. and then, the results of that war became serious reason to develop the World War II. Thus, we are not exception in this point but it is 21st century and not 19th.

-National government of the 1990s declared independence; they abolished autonomous oblast of South Ossetia. Soviet Union was collapsed but left conflicts as hostages. How correct was abolishment of the oblast, did we ourselves created the barrier?

-Soviet Union was to collapse anyway and we would have gained independence by all means because it was caused by historical development. Who thinks that we had to do nothing for the collapse of the Soviet Union and wait for it without action, is not right. If everybody had sat without action, the USSR would not have collapsed. Simply, we were to be cleverer, more predictable and rational.

During the national government, the officials had no experience both in internal and external policy. But 20 years have passed since we are independent and have not gained minimum experience yet. The conflict was subdued then, but we did not do anything to settle it onwards.

Freezing the conflict does not mean it is resolved because frozen conflict can be unleashed at any time.

-So it means, the situation is regressing…

-Of course, it is. If we compare current situation with the situation on April 9, 1991, when independence was declared, the process has regressed in the field of conflict resolution.

-What is the reason of it? We constantly hear that conflicts shall be resolved; a lot of documents are created but there is not result yet…

-I have never seen any serious documents yet. I do not mean UN resolutions where they call upon the parties not to unleash new conflicts.

Our society is very concerned about the conflicts what is fault of the government and media. Unfortunately, the society does not agree with the status-quo changes. They are not agree with even to give the status of oblast to Tskhinvali; so, the society is not ready not only for the confederation but even not for the federation either. I do not say anything about the opposite side.

We are going to make a miracle. We cannot be happy with four victories after the defeat in the four wars.

The society shall be aware that the defeat in the war has negative result. Unfortunately, we cannot restore the results of the first lost war after the four defeats. It is bad, but reality.

It is not right to sit and wait for Russia not to collapse. What shall we do afterwards?  Thus, first of all, not Abkhaz or Russian sides but we should find out what states we are building.

-Is the danger of losing the rest territories real in the current situation?

-Of course it is expected when we have not defined the status of the state; in this situation we will always lose territories. Unfortunately, neighbors also take part in it.

-What shall be done to succeed a bit?

-We should find out what kind of state we are going to build inside Georgia. Until the entire society is agreed on it, there is no sense to speak about other issues.

Negotiations start, somebody starts shouting – it is federation; then something is started and people say it is confederation. Instead negotiations we impose labels to each other. It can be stopped only if the entire society is agreed what we all want.

The main problem is that every government deceived people. I do not mean national government who started conflict and finished their governance very soon.

Shevardnadze and Saakashvili have also been deceiving the people in the three main aspects and people trusted them. Unfortunately, people still believe it.

These aspects are: as if the conflict will be resolved in the nearest future; the conflict shall be resolved only by military operations; and NATO and USA will assist us in it.

NATO and USA have never said that military resolution of the conflicts is acceptable for them. They will never assist us. It was horrible PR-campaign of our government. They took advantage of the controlled TV-channels and dishonestly deceived the people. By the way, not only politicians but journalists are also morally responsible for it.

They lied that we were creating some invisible army. Who interfered in the military affair, everybody wrote that it was craziness and incorrect military development. Now, I think it is late to regret.

There are results of the social polls where 80-81 % of respondents were sure that we could defeat Russia in the war. It was fault of Rustavi 2, Imedi-TV and Public Broadcasting.

Bearing the all in mind, we should conclude: we have never recognized the existence of the other side. That means, we think Abkhaz and Ossetian people do not have their own interests because they are marionettes of Russia. It is not right. The conflict has no military resolution; it will not be short-term resolution. We have to do it step-by-step and the third power – NATO, Russia or USA can be only mediator in this conflict.

“Georgian Republic”, April 14, 2010

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