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The ripple effect of Crimea

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 19
Different countries have displayed different attitudes towards Russia’s conduct concerning the Crimean issue. Some have preferred to take a neutral position by neither condemning nor supporting Russia (there were almost no voices entirely supporting Moscow). Most have condemned Russia, and Georgia was among them.

Of course, by taking this position, Georgia risks complicating its attempts to regulate relations with the Kremlin. In addition, Georgia still awaits Russia’s response after it went ahead and initialed the European Association agreement recently.

The positions of western countries like the EU, the US, Canada, South Korea and Japan will be crucial.

The immediate reaction is that the Kremlin has won: it did what it wanted to do and has so far suffered few consequences for its actions. As such, Russia revealed a new sort of politics that can be used against its neighbors, and the entire world has probably taken note.

The signs of such a behavior have started to appear as far back as 2008 when Russia attacked Georgia. However, Russian action in Georgia were not on such a grand scale, thus the international community did precious little aside from offering the usual condemnatory response in the media.

The world community has unfortunately been careless: Russia has become much more arrogant, and its criminal annexation of Crimea will only serve to encourage Moscow to continue its aggressive steps in the future (first against its neighbors).

Some analysts speculate that Moldova will become Russia’s next target of aggression because of the Russian-populated and separatist-oriented region of Pridnestrovie.

What is Georgia’s position? It is clear that Moscow will become more aggressive against Tbilisi as well. For this reason Georgia hopes that the European Union will accelerate the EU Association Membership process and Tbilisi is banking on NATO’s membership action plan (MAP) in September.

At the same time, it is well known that Moscow is against both of these steps. So pressure from Moscow is inevitable. The question remains though: is Georgia ready to resist Russian pressure or, in other words: is the West ready to protect Georgia?

The developments in Crimea don’t paint a rosy picture for the above.

The official position of Georgia condemns Moscow’s conduct and Georgia steadfastly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The official position also recommends that the international community force Russia to take back its decisions. However, it is unlikely that anything of this kind will take place amid Russia’s current victorious euphoria.

In the background of all of this, Georgia’s breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia welcome the results of Crimean referendum and Russia’s decision to integrate these territories into the Russian Federation.

Some say South Ossetia will be next under the slogan of “Uniting one Ossetian nation – North and South” into one entity under the Russian umbrella. As for Abkhazia, it will do as the Russian strategic interests prompt.