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Russia further strengthens its position in the Caucasus

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 23
Russia is further strengthening its position in the South Caucasus and consequently all over the post Soviet area as well as in the Middle East. Meanwhile the West naively observes this “resetting policy” with curiosity. This is what we conclude from the recent developments in the mentioned areas - the deployment of S300 missiles on Georgia's territory of Abkhazia, the possible sale of the same devices to Azerbaijan, the visit of Russia’s president Medvedev to Yerevan, along with his signing of an agreement on Russian military base in Armenia, holding the Collective Security Treaty Summit, an upcoming visit of Medvedev to Baku in September, as well as a general strengthening of its military presence in Georgia’s occupied territories which have already been “the new reality” for two years.

Analysts worldwide, not only in Georgia, express their deep concern as they see Russia increasing its presence not only in the regions mentioned, but around the world. For instance Ariel Cohen in his article in Washington Times thinks that Moscow is using whole geopolitical instruments to change the balance in Eurasia. This includes diplomacy, informative operations, selling arms and constructing military bases to protect its interests in the sphere. It has become clear that either the West cannot stop Russia, or it is choosing not to do so. With the deployment of S-300 missiles in Abkhazia and Armenia, Russia is able to control the entire area of the South Caucasus, Black Sea and part of the Near East. Strangely enough the West “cannot see” that and/or cannot respond effectively.

The US administration has chosen a soft force policy, while Moscow exploits a “hard policy” and is gradually exercising more and more influence in this strategically important region. Ariel Cohen predicts that if things continue like this, Washington's influence in the region will decrease considerably and the US would need tens of years to rebuild it, while the Russians are acting directly to expel the US out of these regions. Cohen’s predictions are rather pessimistic concerning the US reset policy towards Russia.

We can also surmise that Russia does not even think about the EU as a player while it is creating its new reality. Russian analyst, Stanislav Tarasov extremely positively evaluates Russia’s moves in the regions, believing that they change the regional balance of the forces in Moscow's favour. Speaking about the South Caucasus, we should assume that Moscow has also managed to push Turkey aside. The final major problem Russia must overcome is to be the champion that brokers the settlement of the Azeri-Armenian conflict over Karabakh. If it can find an acceptable solution of the conflict for both sides, then Russia’s position will be finally domineering in this region, at least for time being.