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Russia seeks to bring Georgia under control - intelligence chief

RIA Novosti

20/03/2009 21:07 TBILISI, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Georgia's foreign intelligence service accused Moscow on Friday of trying to oust the current Georgian leader in an attempt to bring its southern neighbor under control.

"Russia's goals in Georgia are the same: overthrowing the elected power, weakening its statehood, violating its sovereignty and gaining control over its policies," Gela Bezhuashvili told the defense and security committee of the Georgian parliament.

Russia is using the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a foothold for its aggressive policies, aimed at destabilizing the political and economic situation in Georgia, he said.

"Russia spent $20 million last year on discrediting Georgia and spreading disinformation about the current events," Bezhuashvili added.

Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia in late last August after Moscow recognized the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. The move followed a five-day war with Georgia, which began when Tbilisi attacked South Ossetia on August 2008, in a bid to bring it back under central control.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia have had de-facto independence since they broke away from Georgia after the bloody post-Soviet conflicts in the early 1990s.

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