Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 39

Writing in the no. 43 (October 25) issue of Obshchaya Gazeta, a well-known Russian political analyst, Dmitry Furman, offered some tongue-in-cheek comments about the present state of Russian-Georgian relations, especially as they relate to the conflict in Chechnya. “The Russian elite,” Furman observed, “does not like the president of Georgia. It considers that… he loves not Russia but the West…. In its time, Russia helped the Abkhaz to drive the Georgians out of Abkhazia and then placed its own [peacemaking] forces between the Abkhaz and the expelled Georgians…. The Russian elite also hates the Chechens who want to separate from Russia, as the Abkhaz do from Georgia. They call their detachments ‘bandit formations’ and their president, Maskhadov, not the President of Chechnya but a bandit and a terrorist. Russia has fought for a long time in Chechnya and will continue to fight there so long as Chechen separatists, terrorists and Wahhabis are alive. The Russian elite very much does not like the fact that on the territory of Georgia there are many Chechen refugees, among whom rebels conceal themselves. It says that Georgia has become a breeding ground for world terrorism and that the Georgians must catch all Chechen rebels in Georgia and then give them up to Russia…. Russia is thinking of depriving the Georgians of gas–let them freeze this winter. That would be comical. Such a description of relations between Russia and Georgia is… completely precise.”