Interviewed in yesterday’s issue of the Russian Defense Ministry daily, Georgian defense minister Lt. General Vardiko Nadibaidze said that "Russian bases in Georgia must be. We shall not build our full-fledged army without Russian military bases over the next two decades. Besides, our state interests directly depend on the Russian military presence in the region." Nadibaidze also rejected any notion that Georgia might "slide into NATO’s embrace." (Krasnaya zvezda, May 29)
As reported, the remarks of General Nadibaidze contradict president Eduard Shevardnadze’s policy of strictly conditioning any basing rights on Russian support for reestablishment of Georgia’s territorial integrity. Nadibaidze is known for his personal links with the Russian military in Moscow and the Transcaucasus command. Lately he has also contradicted Shevardnadze’s policy by publicly disparaging proposals for Georgia’s cooperation with the NATO Partnership for Peace program. On the other hand, Nadibaidze’s remark on Georgia’s need of Russian military assistance to create a Georgian army reflect a genuine dilemma. Reviewing troops on the May 26 anniversary of Georgian independence, Shevardnadze himself acknowledged Russia’s indispensable assistance to the nascent Georgian army.
Tajik Government Troops on the Offensive.