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Can GUAM be an effective project?

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Irakly Dzhaparidze
Message Irakly Dzhaparidze

GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) is an organization for democracy and economic development. It was founded in 1997 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. At that time, the new independent states sought to gain the geopolitical initiative. Uzbekistan was a member of this organization, which made it possible to call it GUUAM and spread to the heart of the Central Asia. In 2005, Uzbekistan withdrew from the project, while Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova did not manage to coordinate their foreign-policy actions with each other and preserve the GUAM prospects.

According to the Charter of GUAM, the main purposes of the organization are promoting democratic values, ensuring rule of law and respect of human rights, ensuring sustainable development, strengthening international and regional security and stability, deepening European integration for the establishment of common security space, and expansion of cooperation in economic and humanitarian spheres, development of social and economic, transport, energy, scientific and technical, and humanitarian potential of the parties, intensification of political interaction and practical cooperation in the fields of mutual interest.

We all know that this is only a cover. From the very beginning, the organization was founded by structures of US and EU, that focused on limiting the geopolitical influence of Russia. This is confirmed by the following facts: the emergence of the organization was announced during the summit of the heads of state of the European Council in Strasbourg. The first two summits of GUAM were held in the US. At that moment, the countries of the former Soviet Union were chosen to achieve this purpose. In addition, the Charter of the organization confirms it: the stated purposes as "promoting democratic values" and "deepening European integration" speak for themselves.

However, despite numerous subsidies from the US, the project failed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The alleged alliance arose when Russia was geopolitically weak, but the GUUAM members still depended on Russia in the economic, military, and political sphere.

However, as many similar regional projects GUAM may be revived. The effectiveness of regional cooperation projects depends on outside assistance and the geopolitical situation in the region. Therefore, the leaders of the member countries resume their meetings at the highest level. In 2017, GUAM celebrated its 20th anniversary and in 2018, there was another meeting involving high-ranking officials.

Currently the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus, provoked by stakeholders, contributes to the revitalization of GUAM. The US and the EU are extremely interested in it; therefore, they will encourage the participating countries in different ways. Difficult relations with Russia are imposed to all participating countries, except Azerbaijan. The organization itself is considered a stepping-stone for creating a true geopolitical front to contain Russia.

The organization created for the democratic and economic development, did not prove its worth. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all participating countries received a powerful industrial base and highly developed agriculture, which were destroyed since gaining independence. All four countries actually survive on the millions of migrant workers who went abroad to try to earn money.

What is the situation with democracy and human rights in these countries? For many years there was a devastating regime of Mikhail Saakashvili in Georgia. The new authorities did not manage to catch and punish the criminals, as well as restore justice. Saakashvili is still free. The Ukrainian democracy is an armed conflict in the Donbass region, political assassinations on the streets. There is no democracy in Azerbaijan: power is handed down from father to son. Those who are displeased with power are afraid to speak, opposition journalists are kidnapped even abroad... The democratic process in Moldova is the belief of Moldovans that they are Romanians. Do you think the results are impressive? Therefore, the revival of GUAM is nothing more than another anti-Russian platform, which poses questionable prospects for its participants.

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I am Irakly Dzhaparidze. I am from Georgia, Tbilisi. I am an independent journalist and write about political situation in Georgia and the South Caucasus.
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