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Georgia's French Defense

Recently Georgia and France have signed an agreement on procurement of advanced air defense systems. There is not enough information on the content of the agreement. According to the defense Ministry it was signed by Georgian Minister of Defense and the director of American-French joint company ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS).

Neither the type of the system the country is buying, nor its price is being announced. Moreover, the Georgian Defense Minister declared that the process is not completed, and another deal is being prepared for signing on arms procurement. During August war in 2008 Georgia's air defense was seriously damaged and it has not been recovered completely. Furthermore, the European partners were reluctant to enter into similar deals with Georgia, realizing Russia's possible harsh reaction. However, as we see, the recent steps undertaken by the Georgian authorities gave their results, and the acquisition of air defense systems became a reality.

The change of European partners' position can be explained by several factors. First of all Russia-West relations are in quite a tense situation and possibility of it becoming even tenser is low. Moreover, NATO has already implemented steps to support its eastern members, as well as those countries seeking membership to raise their defense potential (military aid, deploying troops or increasing the number of deployed troops, joint military drills). In such a situation, not to give any support to Georgia, which always complains about "Russian aggression" and at the same time got a special package at NATO summit in Wales, which supposes NATO support to Georgia to enhance defense capabilities, would be illogical.

It should be noted that this agreement will have its impact on Georgia's political life as well. The recent agreement has been one of the main priorities of Georgian last 3 defense ministers. The possible agreement became a hot topic of discussion in Georgia in November, 2014, when the former Defense Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania announced that the government wants to overthrow the purchase of air defense systems, and it is one of the reasons for his resignation.

With this deal the Georgian government tries to emphasize its commitment to Euro-Atlantic vector and the readiness to combat "Russian threat". Moreover the formation of strong image of pro-Western force is important towards the parliamentary elections of 2016.

It is noteworthy that such an agreement will have a positive impact on Georgia's newly appointed and the first woman Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli's reputation as well, as her appointment was not that much welcomed.

In conclusion we can say that regardless of the type of air defense systems and its efficiency coefficient, the fact of such deal is quite important and, of course, it can not remain unanswered.


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