Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze yesterday went on Russian state television to carry his criticism of the CIS Collective Security Treaty to an unprecedented extent. Having recently asserted that the treaty was “not working” and “brought Georgia no good,” Shevardnadze pointed out that the treaty can be downright dangerous to signatory countries. “None [of the countries] knows who may be preparing an attack against us, and for what reason. What good is such a treaty? This treaty does not favor the resolution of conflicts. We have all these conflicts in the CIS space, and the CIS just can’t cope with them. In some cases it even contributes to developing and sharpening of conflicts” (see the Monitor, February 23-24). The remarks seem to go a step further in preparing Russian public opinion for a Georgian decision to quit the CIS Collective Security Treaty.
On a related issue, Shevardnadze cautioned Russian authorities that they risk “gradually acquiring a reputation for harboring terrorists.” The president cited “not only [Igor] Giorgadze, but the [Zviadist] Coordinating Center” which calls for the violent overthrow of the Georgian government and whose members freely operate lucrative businesses in Russia (Russian Television, February 28). The comment suggests that Shevardnadze–based on his bitter experience–is skeptical about Russian Internal Affairs Minister Sergey Stepashin’s recent promise to extradite one or two Zviadists, and indignant about Stepashin’s pretense of not knowing Giorgadze’s whereabouts (see the Monitor, February 25).