22nd Jan 2022

Intellectuals urge EU to protect Georgia

A group of intellectuals and former statesmen from eastern Europe have in an open letter warned the EU not to tolerate Russia's partition of Georgia.

"We urge the EU's 27 democratic leaders to define a proactive strategy to help Georgia peacefully regain its territorial integrity," the statement, published in leading European newspapers such as the Guardian and Gazeta Wyborcza on Tuesday (23 September), said.

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  • The Rose Revolution in 2003 saw Tbilisi split from Moscow and put Mr Sakashvili in power (Photo: Wikipedia)

"The failure of western democracies to respond to the dismemberment of a friendly nation, albeit a small one, can have very serious global consequences," it added.

"At stake is nothing less than the fate of the project to which we continue to dedicate our lives: the peaceful and democratic reunification of the European continent."

The letter is timed to coincide with the publication next week of an EU-sponsored report into the origins of the 2008 war in Georgia.

It also makes reference to 2009 as the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe as warnings of past divisions.

The text is signed by one-time leaders of former Communist countries such as Vaclav Havel, Valdas Adamkus, Mart Laar and Vytautas Landsbergis, as well as prominent intellectuals such as Timothy Garton Ash, Andre Glucksmann and Bernard-Henri Levy.

Russia in 2008 invaded Georgia on the pretext that Georgian forces opened fire on separatists in Tbilisi in South Ossetia.

If the Tagliavini report blames Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili for the conflict, as expected, it could cement Russia's military presence in Georgia and hasten the demise of Mr Saakashvili's pro-EU and pro-Nato government.

Ukrainian intellectuals last week wrote a similar letter to Western leaders warning that the South Ossetia scenario could be repeated in Ukraine.

The country's Crimea peninsula has seen a rise in pro-Russian separatism and mounting tension over Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko's call for the Russian navy to quit its Crimea base in 2017.

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