It has become increasingly frequent that pro-Kremlin media outlets, representatives of public organizations and particular politicians periodically make statements that the issue of territorial integrity of Georgia will be solved through the engagement of Russia, if we adopt a neutrality or a "non-block status” (see the Table).
The neutrality or the non-block status, with Russia’s participation, will not have any positive effects on the solution of Georgia’s territorial integrity problem due to following facts.
Fact 1. Georgia’s alleged neutrality/non-block status contradicts the norms and principles recognized by the international law.
According to the Article 1 of the Fifth Hague Convention from October 18, 1907 - "rights and responsibilities of neutral powers and individuals during land wars” – territory of neutral powers is inviolable. Therefore, a country cannot become neutral if its territories are occupied and it is in a state of conflict. Following the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the Armed Forces of Russian Federation are still present on the territory of Georgia and occupy 20% of it.
Fact 2. A mere will of a country to adopt neutrality and receive guarantees of international security is not enough for achieving the given goal. Neutrality is achieved based on an international treaty.
- Swiss Confederation received permanent neutrality on the 1815 Vienna Congress based on the agreement and decision of the following countries – Austria, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
- Austria received the permanent neutrality via Austrian State Treaty from May 15, 1955. According to the treaty, the United States, Great Britain, France, Soviet Union and the Government of Austria agreed on the de-occupation of the country and its subsequent neutral status.
- Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality, proclaimed in 1955, has been recognized by the UN Resolution 50/80 which recognizes and supports such status of Turkmenistan.
Fact 3. Despite the neutrality proclaimed by Georgia in 1918 and terms of the treaty signed with the Soviet Union in 1920, Bolshevik Russia still occupied Georgia in 1921.
According to the Article 3 of Georgia’s Independence Act adopted by the Georgian National Council on May 26, 1918, Georgia proclaimed permanent neutrality in international wars. According to the Moscow Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and Georgian Democratic Republic in 1920, Russia recognized Georgia’s independence and agreed with Georgia’s territorial claims. Georgia, on its behalf, promised not to place anti-Russian troops on its territory. Nevertheless, the aforementioned facts did not help Georgian cause when Russia occupied it on February 25, 1921.
Fact 4. After achieving the independence, Moldova proclaimed permanent neutrality through its constitution (Article 11). Despite this fact, no positive actions from Russian side towards resolving Transnistria conflict have taken place. Russian militaries are still present in Transnistria.
Fact 5. Russia recognizes Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia as independent states and has formed military cooperation treaties with them. Moreover, basic documents determining the Russian foreign policy and security underline the unconditional support of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia as independent states (Decrees #1260 and #1261 of the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev) and signed military treaties with them, foreseeing "the creation of Joint Army Groups”. Russia paid more than $3 billion to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru for the recognition of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali.
According to the Russia’s National Security Strategy, developing bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is one of the key directions of the Russian foreign policy. According to the Russian Federation’s Military Doctrine, cooperation with the Abkhazian and South Ossetian Republics is one of the main priorities of Russia’s military-political cooperation (see an infographic prepared by Myth Detector on this issue).
Sources of the idea of neutrality.
Prepared by Giorgi Revishvili
Student at Myth Detector Lab
Main Photo – Zurab Kurtsikidze, European Press Photo Agency (EPA)