By M. Alkhazashvili

The Messenger
Aug 26 2008

August 25 might become a historic day for Russia. For this was the
day it passed its own death sentence.

Both chambers of the Parliament unanimously supported recognition of
South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence. However the last word on
the matter belongs to President Medvedev, or in reality most probably
Prime Minister Putin.

Russian legislators were "generous" in blaming, criticizing and
threatening Georgia and the West. The illusion that the old empire is
already recovered was clearly there. But the Duma forgot one thing
in the euphoria of its "glorious victory" over Georgia. The Soviet
Union with its satellite states was more powerful and dangerous than
Russia is today. But what happened? It collapsed.

The Kremlin's intention to legalize the separatist regimes is just a
challenge to the West to show it who's boss. Once again the inferiority
complex of the Russian leadership is demonstrated. "Tit for tat, you
recognize Kosovo and we will recognize the separatists in Georgia,"
Moscow has threatened many times. It is more than naive to speak
about "independence" for South Ossetia or Abkhazia. The people living
there have been given Russian passports and Russian occupation forces
control whatever goes on there.

The Russian political elite regrets it did not completely destroy
Western-oriented Georgia. However grabbing two Georgian regions and
keeping the Russian armed forces on the territory of another sovereign
state, to say nothing about the refusal to follow the terms of the
Sarkozy-brokered ceasefire agreement, show clearly that the Kremlin
ignores any international law and is prepared to repeat its aggression
any time, anywhere, against anyone.

What will Medvedev/Putin do? Some analysts think they will pause until
the September 1 EU summit is convened, in order to try and bargain,
whatever it is they think they have to bargain with.

Russian analysts frequently warn their hot blooded politicians about
the threats their country could face by recognizing Georgia's breakaway
territories. Russia has several dozen autonomous ethnic entities of
its own, which might slowly move in the separatist direction. Chechnya
could be repeated once again followed by Ingushetia, Dagestan and
others which are quiet for the time being. Russia will find itself in
complete isolation in the political or, more seriously, the economic
and financial spheres. Russia's next door neighbour Ukraine will
start taking urgent steps to protect itself, and NATO at least will
now take commonsense measures to help it do so.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are following the developments in Georgia
and its separatist regions closely. Armenia hopes that the precedent
Russia has set will make it easier for it to legalize its occupation
of Nagorno Karabakh. However it is hopefully aware that if it too
recognizes the Georgian separatist regions it will create problems
for itself concerning the transit route through Georgia. So Russia
is on the edge of creating a storm over the Caucasus. It can step
back at any time. Or will it prove itself absolutely irresponsible?

P.S. Yesterday around 3 p.m. Russian President Medvedev put his
signature on the Russian Parliament's appeal. Thus Russia recognized
the independence of separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This is
no longer about Georgia, its regions or Russia. It is a challenge to
the entire world.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress