Interview with Vladimir Semago
Russia Today: We've heard strong words from Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in his address to the UN accusing Russia of interfering in his country's internal affairs and leading terror missions into his country. What is this going to do to the current state of relations between Russia and Georgia?
Vladimir Semago: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili behaves like somebody having troubles in a swimming pool and crying ‘I need help’! He wants to give a signal to the whole world including the UN. What he implies is that ‘we need help, we cannot stay with Russia alone anymore’. He wants to attract the attention of the world, meaning that ‘you have to be very careful with the situation in Georgia, because Russia is our No.1 enemy and we want to get help from the UN.' I guess it is like a children’s game.
RT: Do you agree that there is a divide between what the Georgian population feels about Russia and what the current leadership feels about it?
V.S.: I definitely agree because we have a common history. For example, as early as in the war of 1812 we fought against Napoleon's army together. Before the revolution of 1917, many high-ranked people in Russia came from Georgia. We cannot divide now, and this is only a political issue. It is like a game, and people want to win and don’t want to lose. Mr Saakashvili is trying to win, but his cards are not very good.
RT: What is the Georgian leadership hoping to gain? For the last couple of years we have been constantly seeing accusations of something that Russia was supposed to have done. Do you think the Georgian population believe it, are they behind their President?
V.S.: I don’t know for sure, but generally speaking, I think this is not serious, because Abkhazia or South Ossetia could not take hold of the territory of Georgia and say ‘now we have big Abkhazia!’ or ‘ big Ossetia’, it is ridiculous. So we must understand that when people want to get hold of something they use some methods. Sometimes these methods are military decisions.
RT: You have mentioned that all this is not serious. But President Saakashvili is obviously taking it seriously and now he has called for the UN. He even mentioned the incident with that missile found on Georgian territory to the UN. Do you think he has the UN backing for him?
V.S.: I think that he wants to promote his image of a democratic politician and, first of all, not to the UN but to the United States. Mr Saakashvili wants to have strong links to the U.S. Maybe he wants to give them the territory to deploy a military base. We never know for sure, of course, but still this is possible.
RT: What is the U.S. position towards Georgia, do you think? They are witnessing all these allegations themselves.
V.S.: Mr Bush tried to play a game. Three or four years ago he was dreaming of establishing his position in the Caucasus and wanted to push Russia in the ‘right’ direction. So Georgia is a ‘big card’ in this case. In fact Georgia has nothing to give to the U.S. – only its territory, only the possibility of strengthening the influence on the European part of Russia and improving its position in the Caucasus.