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Thursday, May 18, 2006

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin

An excellent opinion piece in the Moscow Times today by Boris Kagarlitsky (whose column is called "Always a Dissident") addresses the Russian ban of Georgian and Moldovan wine and food imports:
We are no longer going to drink Borjomi mineral water. And Georgian and Moldovan wines are out too. We're going to drink vodka with patriotically named beer chasers. To hell with our livers!
The obvious reason for the crises in Russian-Moldovan and Russian-Georgian relations is the "separatism" issue. By supporting the breakaway powers in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transdnestr, Moscow naturally sets itself in opposition to Tbilisi and Chisinau. It's easy to understand the emotions here: The separatism of the autonomous territories was an answer to discrimination against them from the republican centers -- in exactly the same way that the separatism of the republics themselves was prompted by the policies of the Soviet central government.
The Kremlin is consciously and systematically carrying out a policy of isolating itself across the former Soviet Union. The more pressure it puts on former Soviet republics, the more it hurries them into the arms of the West... And the cruder the Kremlin's measures and methods, the easier it is for the governments in Chisinau and Tbilisi to justify their own mistakes and failures: All economic problems become the fault of the evil Russians.
It's like Princess Leia tells Governor Tarkin in Star Wars: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

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Blogger Axar Harebate on Sun May 21, 03:03:00 AM:
I think in the situation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia is the good guys. This is not to say that Kremlin is not reverting back to what we come to believe to the Soviet Past. But if you examine the issue fo this conflict you can see that the Georgian side as done many wrongs to both Ossetians and Abkhazians. Georgian government did its best to decline the South Ossetian commerce shutting down its roads, markets and bombing their industries in 1990s. The region is still isolated by the Georgian side, if it was not for the Russian support it would surely die. There are also the Ossetian genocide at the hands of Georgian authorities in the early 1990s.

South Ossetian people have declared independence a decade ago. Why are they not recognized by the US and EU governments, even when the popular vote supports this time and again? Should be the real question. My guess since the region is full of natural resource, US plans an oil pipeline and it is a good military strategic location for US -- the democracy is again not living it up to its own standarts, supports Georgia.

Russia putting sactions on Georgia is fair, seeing how Georgia isolates South Ossetia and continues to opress the region which does not belong to them. Since sanctions is exactly what the western government uses.