It’s surprising, when a country, which has committed so much horror against its own population in the 1930s, talks about the genocide of the Ossetian people, Jamestown Foundation President Glen Howard said in his interview with the Georgian office of the Voice of America.
Howard has responded to the Russian President's statements regarding the occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region and the genocide of the Ossetian people. The president of Jamestown Foundation believes that this statement of Vladimir Putin is one of the forms of aggression.
He said it was the “imperialistic statement of the imperialist”, which considers Georgia as just a small neighbor, who can be “punished and assaulted.”
Glen Howard said Putin made very “strange statement” amid the situation when Russia occupies Georgia’s territories.
“I think if anyone knows the history of the [Caucasus] region, he/she will understand that Putin's remarks are extremely absurd. But this is part of how Russia punishes Georgia. There is a psychological war to frighten and to somehow cause discontent and tension in Georgia because he wants Georgia to become unstable,” Glen Howard said.
According to him, Putin tries to inverse the western narrative that Georgia suffered from Russian aggression. He tries to change this view sharply and apply it against Georgians. “Until now, their narrative was that Georgia started war in 2008, Georgia is guilty and because of its bad government Georgia has deserved what it has received. I do not think Putin believes what he says now. I think it's a way for him to endlessly intimidate Georgia that has become so successful, "said Glen Howard.
As for the response of the Georgian government to the Putin’s remarks, the President of the Jamestown Foundation claims the tendency is well known and established that the “Georgian Dream” party tries not to irritate Russia. He said there is the form of shadow government in Georgia. “Many in the US are concerned over the fact that how this government makes gradually more and more attempts to warm relationship with Russia and to fit with Putin and Russia.
I understand that they [authorities] do not want to have an aggressive position, but the US provided Georgia with Javelins and other military equipment, which Georgia needs for defence. Thus, the US showed everyone that it is ready to assist Georgia,” Glen Howard said.
He also noted that Georgians need a well-developed propaganda policy to diminish Russia’s influence on Georgian society. However, the President of the Jamestown Foundation added that he is concerned about some tactics of the Georgian government, because "Russians must not be given the right to return to Georgia again, because Russia’s influence will continue to grow in the country”.
“We also see the Georgian society, which is divided…Only one country gets benefits from it, which is your northern neighbor and occupies Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Howard said.