Georgia’s ancient wine industry has transformed from a low quality, single market provider to a diverse, sophisticated, increasingly international supplier of respected vintages — all because of a 2006 Russian embargo.
Tashkent has made an offer to settle the Sokh question once and for all. Satybaldiev’s government needs to reciprocate in good faith. We take the recent talks as a sign that it intends to do so.
There is a reasonable middle ground for an agreement here, but as yet, both sides seem unwilling to be the first to give ground. Georgia stands on the precipice of a political crisis. Right now neither of its leaders has the courage to step back.
The authorities now must make sure that a fair and open trial is conducted. Bishkek must leave no opportunity for Tashiev’s supporters to view him and his cohorts as victims of a politically motivated sham prosecution.
President Timofti’s forceful rejection of just such an effort last year shows that he has the political instincts and courage to stand up to Russia. He must now show that he can manage a more subtle form of coercion – diplomatic pressure to make a deal.
If a vibrant democratic culture that respects the people’s basic rights and provides them with a viable choice in future presidential elections is to be realized in Armenia, the opposition parties must come together around a common agenda.
Democratic governance – as the Western-educated Saakashvili should understand and the Russian-groomed Ivanishvili must accept – requires compromise.
Given the lack of enthusiasm surrounding the presidential contest this year, there likely won’t be a repeat of the unrest in 2008. Even so, we cannot help by despair at the lack of serious challengers in this month’s presidential election.
This deal, should it come to pass, should confirm for Europe once and for all that Ukraine is ready to chart a new course in the West.
While some observers, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, see the ECU as a genuine attempt to improve economic prospects for the developing nations of the former USSR, Ukraine is wise to remain wary.