A row over the talks between the Georgian government and Gazprom on possible supplies of Russian gas to commercial operators and private companies has erupted in Georgia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze informed about the negotiations, as well as the meeting with the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller on September 25th in Brussels.
"We discussed the issue of increasing the volume of gas supplied to Armenia, because for us it is important to use the pipeline to full capacity and receive gas in large volumes. And if commercial companies have the desire and ability they can receive Russian gas,’’ he said.
The head of the Institute for Strategic Studies, Peter Mamradze, expressed his opinion in an interview with a VK correspondent it was more about politics than energy security. "I know these people very well. They try to play any card. The parliamentary elections are to take place in a year, and they are trying to use very opportunity already now," he said.
"On the other hand, the politically wrong actions of the Georgian Dream coalition could be the reason for such a stable political situation and controversy. For example, immediately after Kakha Kaladze’s statement Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili paid a visit to Azerbaijan in order to meet with President Ilham Aliyev. It was assumed that he intended to correct Kaladze’s mistake regarding Russian gas in order not to offend Azerbaijan. But they could be acting in a slightly different way: after the meeting with Miller, Kaladze said they could organize a press conference and inform both the world and the Georgian people about its results,’’ the expert added.
"It is a very significant thing, the point is that in all these years Gazprom's gas was supplied to Armenia through the territory of Georgia. Georgia has its own interests, as it received revenue for transit. Now Gazprom is going to increase gas supplies to Armenia, and therefore they must agree what revenues Georgia will receive in this case. It is pure speculation to find any underlying political reason, as both Ukraine and Western countries buy Gazprom's gas, ‘’ Mamradze said.
"On the one hand, we can see some constant provocations from the opposition, including the president’s groups, as well as those people who sympathize with Mikheil Saakashvili, and on the other hand, the wrong actions of Georgian Dream," he said.
The associate professor of the department of state regulation of the economy, the deputy head of the department on educational work at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IGSU) of RANHiGS, Ivan Kapitonov, said that "direct gas supplies to Georgia will undoubtedly maintain the strengthening of Russian-Georgian bilateral relations." "Therefore, we can say with a high probability that Russia will compromise with some partners in order to sign this contract. It will pursue political relations, rather than economic ones, as well as strengthen our good-neighborly relations with Georgia, which started recently," he said.