Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Stand up to Russia now, says ambassador -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Stand up to Russia now, says ambassador

The World Today - Thursday, 28 August , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: A senior Georgian official is calling on the West to stand firm against Russian
aggression now or face the possibility of a major conflict in the future. Regional tensions are
continuing to rise over Russia's decision this week to recognise the independence of Georgia's two
rebel provinces.

But Georgia's acting ambassador in London, George Badridze, has likened the West's response to
World War II appeasement. He spoke to Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.

GEORGE BADRIDZE: So far what has happened is a direct, brutal, military invasion which resulted in
annexation of two parts of Georgia plus continuing occupation of strategic areas in Georgia,
including sea ports, strategic railroads and other routes.

International community has to awaken to the new, aggressive Russia which has to be stopped today.

EMMA ALBERICI: Does Georgia now accept that it has lost these two provinces?

GEORGE BADRIDZE: We will never accept it. Russia may - well first of all these two provinces have
been under Russian control, de facto Russian control for considerable time. They simply called it
(inaudible) its name. Of course they don't mean any recognition of independence. They simply made
them part of their territory officially.

For instance yesterday Mr Kozak, who happens to be the Regional Development Minister in Russia, was
reporting to Mr Medvedev of how he is forming the Government of South Ossetia. And the previous
government both Tskhinvali and Sukhumi have been made by Russians and most of the officials there
were actually Russian officials sent there, seconded to be the representatives of Putin there.

So it was just a symbolic gesture what's happened today.

EMMA ALBERICI: With all due respect, do you really expect the West to go to war over Georgia?

GEORGE BADRIDZE: It doesn't take a war. It may actually result in wars and many, many wars in the
future if Russia is not stopped now. It doesn't take war to stop Russia at this point when it
hasn't really gained huge momentum.

If the West fails to do this now, then the war would be inevitable but on its own territory, inside
Europe itself.

EMMA ALBERICI: But given Russia's vital oil and gas assets and supply, is it realistic to suggest
that the West, that France and Germany would sever ties in some way with Russia?

GEORGE BADRIDZE: Russia is a very important partner for Europe, for the entire world. But in this
partnership it's not just Russia that should dictate the terms. I thought throughout the history,
the client was always in a, you know, governing position. Why now are Germany and France or anyone
else, so why should Europe become the hostage of Russian gas and oil? The dependency is mutual.

EMMA ALBERICI: But of course Russia just came out and said that the NATO countries need Russia much
more than Russia needs a relationship with the alliance.

GEORGE BADRIDZE: This is not true, this is not true. What happens to Russian gas if Europeans don't
buy it? I wonder. What happens if Russia gets isolate, which it deserves to be at the moment? It
very strongly reminds me what happened in the 1930s.

No-one believed that Hitler would be crazy enough to start war against Europe, especially on the
two fronts. But he did because he was provoked to do so by appeasement, by a very soft approach
when he showed first signs of aggression towards Czechoslovakia and Austria. This appeasement
resulted in him getting even crazier and he started what was unthinkable.

If someone thinks that Russia today is not Soviet Union and is not capable of re-starting the Cold
War, new Cold War, is grossly mistaken because if Russia doesn't meet resistance today from the
international community, the Cold War is already there and the losses and the casualties of this
new resurgent Russia will be far beyond Georgia.

For its own interest, Western community must stand extremely firm and stop Russian aggression now,
before it gains momentum and affects more and more nations. And unless we choose to stand up firm,
the consequences will be far graver.

ELEANOR HALL: That's George Badridze, the acting Georgian Ambassador in London speaking to our
Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.