Giving Up Ultimatums: How Ukraine and Georgia Can Overcome a Systemic Crisis


Earlier, "European Pravda" published a number of texts about Ukrainian-Georgian relations, including the critical assessments of the current Georgian government.

The interview with Andrei Kasyanov, Charge d'Affaires of Ukraine in Georgia, had the greatest resonance.

In response, Victor Kipiani, Chairman of Geocase, presented his opinion on the relations between the two countries.




Georgian-Ukrainian official relations are definitely not going through the best of times right now. And this, unfortunately, is no longer a secret to anyone.

The problems in relations are reflected in the context of a number of issues, where common interests and proper interaction are more important than ever. However, despite the existing difficulties in relations between the states, inter-human relations remain a real example worthy of emulation for official Kyiv and Tbilisi.

Without going into unnecessary emotional detail, I would like to draw attention to a few general observations.

Without excessive theorizing of the issue, I think that the main reason lies in the lack of strong and long traditions of modern statehood. I would like to emphasize once again for clarity - statehood in the modern world and in current realities.

This, in turn, is reflected in the lack of civil interstate relations. When mentioning the word "civility," it is important to note that the current relations between Ukraine and Georgia are inexcusably stuck on personal and interpersonal factors.

This state of affairs is also exacerbated by the complex geopolitical space in which our countries are situated. This space is characterized not only by a lack of proper state thinking but also by a high degree of concentration in various geopolitical influences and interests.

It is in the context of these general causes that we need to look for the right reasons for the current crisis, and at the same time for adequate solutions to resolve it.

I think that a qualitative improvement in inter-state relations is equally possible and extremely necessary. I also think that linking the improvement of these relations with domestic political processes is a step in an unnecessary, moreover, extremely dangerous direction.

Today comments by our respected colleagues in Kyiv about the processes within Georgia itself have become frequent, which is by now no longer a secret.

We have to admit that these comments have long been off the charts in both frequency and severity. I would certainly avoid using such a term as "meddling in internal affairs," but it is worth noting that the above comments are, in a number of cases, not only not serious, but openly harmful to our partnership and interstate relations.

The current approach needs to be rethought, and the sooner the better.

In rethinking our relations, we should take the following position - not to speak to each other in the language of ultimatums and not to demand any abstract and unreasonable concessions in order to achieve real progress.

Moreover, to speak of concessions on one side or the other in the current circumstances would be to unduly dramatize the issue. Rather, it should not be a question of concessions, but the observance of generally accepted and elementary principles that are inherent in partnership relations.

First of all, it is the utmost delicacy and refraining from groundless and unproven accusations.

For example, a number of comments by high-ranking Ukrainian officials that the Georgian authorities and the Georgian people are two mutually exclusive and opposite categories can hardly be understood by the Georgian side. I will not even touch upon a number of other "accusations" where requests by official Tbilisi to provide proper explanations or documented facts of this nature have gone unanswered.

And one more thing: no matter how close Ukraine and Georgia are due to a certain common historical and political heritage or the existing geopolitical situation, as sovereign countries they must be guided first and foremost by their own national interests, first and foremost - take into account the risks and challenges to their own national security.

These days, very often one can hear absolutely irresponsible statements that supposedly Tbilisi does not properly support Ukraine in such difficult times for the Ukrainian people.

It is not even so much a question of responsibility here as of the provocative wording of such a statement.

No matter how hard we try to interpret the real extent of support on the part of Georgia, any misinterpretation loses its meaning immediately when we get acquainted with the actual state of affairs.


And the facts show that there is hardly a single political declaration or economic and humanitarian initiative where Georgia's voice would not be heard. Moreover, in the case of Georgia it would be impossible to imagine otherwise, when we are talking about the country, which was the first in the entire post-Soviet space to become a victim of gross violations of international law.

Consequently, to speak of a lack of proper solidarity on the part of Tbilisi would be both a distortion of the facts of the current stage and an unscrupulous attempt to rewrite history for the future.

Speaking of common interests, for both Ukraine and Georgia the restoration of territorial integrity is one of the key issues. With due consideration and proper understanding of the Ukrainian specificity, I would like to briefly mention the Georgian one as well.


Any political formation in Georgia clearly understands that problems of the country's territorial integrity are primarily problems stemming from its foreign policy choices. Therefore, I want to emphasize that to categorize these conflicts as purely ethnic would be an understatement or a distortion of the role of primary causes.

As for the restoration of the territorial integrity, this process can and should be realized only through the development and improvement of Georgian statehood in all possible aspects.

No power in Georgia has the right to speak to its citizens - including Abkhazians and Ossetians - in the language of force. Only the projection of so-called "soft power," be it economy, education, social sphere and civil rights, seems to be the real power that should contribute to the attractiveness of Georgia in both the eyes of its own citizens and its partners in the region.

A constructive dialogue is an understandable category, though very complex one. In this respect, both politicians of the two countries and public figures need to rethink the existing approaches and not remain, let's say, hostage to personal factors and personal influences.

Otherwise, there is a high probability of the risk that by not respecting ourselves and our partner properly, we will unintentionally harm our relations in the long term as well.

This path will serve neither the national interests of Ukraine nor the national interests of Georgia.