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The recent visits of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and President of the partially recognized republic of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab have become a kind of parade of Russia's allies on the threshold of possible turbulence period, an article published on the website of ITAR-TASS says.
The article says that at present only Armenia in the South Caucasus casts itself as loyal to Russia (exclusive of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are only recognized by Russia and Nicaragua, as well as by a number of tiny states of the Pacific - editor).
"The topic of rehabilitation of the railway has arisen right after the Georgian Dream's victory at the parliamentary election in Georgia in autumn 2012 offered prospects of warming in the Russian-Georgian relations. But the reality is that any attempt to start public discussion causes strong resistance of certain circles in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Such a railway would unblock Armenia, which is now completely isolated from infrastructure schemes built in the South Caucasus by Baku, Tbilisi and Ankara. This would automatically mean strengthening of Armenia's positions in its simple relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Russia, in turn, would instantly retrieve most part of economic, political and military impact in the region, which has considerably declined since 1991. For Armenia it would be new economic possibilities and an absolutely new status, which would allow discussing the Karabakh peace process and the reconciliation with Turkey more confidently", the article says.
Even though neither of the communiques that followed Sargsyan's and Ankvaba's visits mention the railway, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hurried to comment on the issue by saying that there is a political will to restart the road, but one must be careful lest it might damage Georgia's political interests.
"Considering the foreign political unanimity of the Georgian MPs, it will be hard to make this will true, but it will certainly be a crucial topic for Russian-Armenian relations during Sargsyan's second term and for Russian-Abkhazian ones following the Olympic Games in Sochi. Not yet openly formulated by anybody, this problem is as follows: either the railway will be restarted or Russia will continue losing its positions in the South Caucasus," the article says.