Eastern European countries aspiring to join the European family օf free and democratic nations are facing constant pressures and threats, said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the 68th UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
"Armenia has been cornered, Moldova is being blockaded, Ukraine is under attack, Azerbaijan faces extraordinary pressure, and Georgia is occupied. Why? Because an old Empire is trying to reclaim its bygone borders. And 'borders' is actually not the right word, since this Empire — be it the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation, or the Eurasian Union — never had borders. It only had margins.
"I came today to speak in the name of these margins. Unlike most nations, the Russian Federation has no interest in having stable states around it. Neighboring countries in constant turmoil is what the Kremlin is seeking.
"Do you think that Vladimir Putin wants Armenia to decisively triumph over Azerbaijan, for instance? No. This would make Armenia too strong and potentially too independent.
"Do you think then that the contrary is true, that Moscow wants Baku to prevail over Yerevan? Obviously not. The current rise of a modernized Azerbaijan is a nightmare for the Russian leaders.
"No, they do not want anyone to prevail and the conflict itself is their objective, since it keeps both nations dependent and blocks their integration into the European common space. Do you think the Kremlin would agree to discuss the de-occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, now that the government has changed in Tbilisi? Far from it! The annexation of Georgian lands by Russian troops continues," he said in his speech.
According to the Georgian president, the current Russian authorities "know perfectly well" that when strong institutions are built in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, or any other country, functioning states will emerge and these institutions and states will reflect and enforce "the will of their people, which is to become fully independent and move towards Europe."
"The Eurasian Union is both our recent past and the future shaped for us by some ex-KGB officers in Moscow. On the opposite side, our revived traditions and our centuries old aspirations lead us towards another world called Europe.
"Looking at our region today, those who have some knowledge of the Caucasian history might remember the Armenian-Azerbaijani bloodshed of 1905, directly created by the tsarist administration, and compare it to the beginning of the conflict in Karabakh in the late 1980s.
"They might recall — as I do too well — the beginning of the war in Abkhazia in the early 1990s, when Georgian paramilitary groups were getting their weapons from the same Russian troops who were actually leading the Abkhaz militia and bringing in Chechen mercenaries in order to kill any form of solidarity between nations of the North and the South Caucasus.
"Just as they were sending for the same reason more than one century before Georgian officers at the forefront of their wars against Chechens, Ingush or Daghestani…
"The Eurasian Union is based on the exact opposite premises. It is fuelled by intolerance, it is lead by old KGB structures and it is shaped to revive an old Empire.
"Of course, joining the Eurasian Union is therefore very easy. There are no social, economic, or political criteria to be met: becoming a colony, in fact, requires no effort at all. Passivity and mediocrity are the only requirements," he concluded.