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Tskhinvali, Sokhumi, Tbilisi and Moscow problems

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 22
Almost two years have passed since the Russian invasion of Georgia on 08/08/08 and the international community is openly calling Russia's conduct 'occupation'. Though the Russian leadership prefers the term 'liberator', the label has been stuck and is unlikely to be removed until the breakaway territories are de-occupied.

So far only Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru have recognised the ‘independent states’ of Abkhazia and South Ossetia apart from Moscow. Ridiculously enough the leaders of the puppet entities, Bagapsh and Kokoity, are visiting Nicaragua and Venezuela to develop, as they put it, "dynamic relations" and undertake certain bilateral projects. Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela currently are among the world's most odious political figures. As for Nauru, we bet not many people could find it on a map, if they were interested in doing so.

In the thirties of the twentieth century Japan occupied the Chinese territory of Manchuria and created the puppet state of Manchukuo, which was eventually recognised by 23 states including the Soviet Union. In 1945 Manchuria became part of China again.

Today it looks like the two occupied territories are already becoming quite problematic for Moscow and it is unlikely that any other country apart from these three and Russia will recognise them. Some Russian analysts are already suggesting that Moscow might renounce its recognition of these regimes. Russia wants to get closer to the West to modernise its economy, and this cannot be achieved without Western investment and technology, which will come at the price of Russia behaving itself according to the accepted rules of the game.

Russian analyst Andrey Piontkovsky thinks that Russia sometimes tries to come closer to the West and sometimes confront it. “Russian leaders want to enjoy the fruits of Western civilization but do not want to accept Western values," he says. He thinks that Russia has already started bargaining with the West concerning Abkhazia and South Ossetia, citing Putin’s statement that theoretically the return of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region to Georgia is still possible. “I am sure these statements will not be very pleasant to hear in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali,” he said.

Now we can only guess what factor will persuade Russia to de-occupy the Georgian regions. One idea is that Georgia’s consent to Russia entering WTO might do it, but this is only a supposition. Maybe it is not bargaining which has started but an invitation to bid. Of course there could be another option: a happy ending to the occupation may just be a dream for the Georgian population, analysts, politicians and the IDP victims of the Russian aggression.