Written in the wake of Mikheil Saakashvili’s election as President of Georgia in January 2004, and well before the 2008 Ossetia War between Georgia and Russia, this article proposes a reconstruction of Georgian-Russian discussion over the Pankiski Gorge since the late 1990s, with special attention since the years following 9/11 and its instrumentation by Russia’s diplomacy and defence. The author lucidly warns the readership against the apparent détente of the early 2000s, after Georgia had showed ready to be ready to take a more determined approach towards suspect Chechen guerrillas. He reminds that bilateral relations continued to suffer permanent tensions over a bunch of bones of contention like Russia’s military bases in Georgia; Georgia’s official application to join NATO as for November 2002; and generally speaking the rise of U.S. influence in the Southern Caucasus. The overall diagnostic proposed was that the Pankiski Gorge would continue to impact on the relationship between Moscow and Tbilisi, Georgia’s proposals to stabilize the region being likely only to antagonise Russia further (as it was the case with the formation in December 2003 of a special battalion of the Georgian National Guard composed of Chechen-Kistins who resided in the Gorge).

The Redaction
CER: II-2.3-79