Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020: Russia Remains the Top Threat to Georgia

Russia remains the main threat to Georgia according to the Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020 elaborated by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Georgia. The 45-page strategic document states that the Kremlin tries to weaken Georgian state institutions, strengthen pro-Russian public and political groups by using ‘soft force.’ The document defines the directions of the ministry as well as structural, institutional and operative capacities of the armed forces, describes existing situation, refers to threats and challenges.

It also identifies the main directions for the development of the MoD and Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) over the next three years and aims to enhance the GAF’s capabilities. The document considers Georgia’s security environment in local, regional and global framework. “Signing the so-called liaison agreements between Russia and occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions’ authorities and absence of international peacekeeping missions in the occupied territories increases the risk of the restoration of military aggression,” the document reads.

The strategic review also reads that Russia’s military aggression in August 2008, occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, deployment of Russia’s occupation forces and military infrastructure has significantly worsened security environment in the country. “Recognition of Abkhazia’s and Tskhinvali’s independence and continuation of the so-called creeping annexation violate Georgia’s sovereignty and international law norms and roughly tarnish fundamental rights of the local population,” the document reads. Moreover, according to the document, such situation in the breakaway regions creates a good environment for spreading transnational and organized crime.

The document emphasizes that Russia will continue efforts aimed at weakening Georgia’s national and civil unity, causing enmity between ethnic and religious groups and destabilization. “The Kremlin will especially focus on strengthening the ‘soft force’ elements in order to provide weakening of state institutions, strengthening pro-Russian groups and discrediting the western course,” the strategic review reads. As for regional security environment, the document says that recent unstable situation in the Black Sea region, annexation of Crimea and processes developed in eastern Ukraine, unstable situation in north Caucasus as well as unresolved Karabakh conflict negatively influence all regional and Georgia’s security environment.

“Within the global framework, globalization, climate change, migration processes, international terrorism, spread of massive destruction weapon and cyber threats negatively affects Georgia’s security. At the same time, the increasing international ambitions of Russia promote confrontation between the west and east that causes challenges for security of the EU and Georgia,” the document says. The document says that the United States, NATO and the EU remain the main partners of Georgia.

The Strategic Defense Review 2017-2020 was approved by the government of Georgia. Thea Morrison Photo source:Getty images

25 April 2017 13:01

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