30 November 2009
A seminar – presentation of the research „The ‘Humanitarian Dimension’ of Russian Foreign Policy Toward Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic States” in Georgia held on 27 November in Tbilisi, was a great success. About 60 persons from embassies, ministries, research centres, etc. arrived there to listen to the presentations of the researchers. Journalists expressed an extraordinary interest in the theme of the research. Even early in the morning prior to the seminar, the CEEPS representatives – executive director Andis Kudors and researcher Gatis Pelnens – spoke live on Radio Liberty. Representatives of seven Georgian television channels and journalists from the other mass media attended the seminar. Questions were asked to both the research authors and Georgian Parliament Vice-Speaker Rusdan Kervalishvili whose seminar introducing speech included statement that the research was the way how to forecast and identify potential threats to countries.
Elguya Gvazava, the Chairman of Abkhazia Republic Supreme Council said: “Russia considers that the post-Soviet countries have not their own past and history, Russia has given everything to them, and Russia is the decision maker for their future”.
Toomas Lukk, the Estonian Ambassador, called to design one’s own agenda without complying with that fixed by Russia. He also advised to avoid using of the notion “post-Soviet countries” having a negative tonality. But the main point, according to the Ambassador, was the necessity to create in the nearest future a security framework also for the small countries being not shielded by EU and NATO. Besides, T.Lukk indicated that it would be recommendable to persuade our countries’ Russian speaking residents that they are ours, not Russia’s “compatriots”.
Elina Lange, the representative of the NATO – Georgia professional development programme, stressed the significance of the events around the monument of the “Bronze soldier” in Estonia. That is a striking example of a rapid turning of soft power in hard power, according to E.Lange.
Concluding the seminar, the participants were of the same opinion that it was necessary to continue the research, for the theme is too important to be neglected.