Why I had to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions

Dmitry Medvedev, “President” of Russia, wrote a scintillating editorial in the Financial Times talking about why he needed to recognize Georgia’s breakway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

It’s a fascinating look at how Russia seems to want to justify their invasion of Georgia.  And to be frank, some of it seems to make a little bit of sense.  Other stuff, however, seems full of hyperbole.  But still, it’s worth reading.

Only a madman could have taken such a gamble. Did he believe Russia would stand idly by as he launched an all-out assault on the sleeping city of Tskhinvali, murdering hundreds of peaceful civilians, most of them Russian citizens? Did he believe Russia would stand by as his “peacekeeping” troops fired on Russian comrades with whom they were supposed to be preventing trouble in South Ossetia?

Russia had no option but to crush the attack to save lives. This was not a war of our choice. We have no designs on Georgian territory. Our troops entered Georgia to destroy bases from which the attack was launched and then left. We restored the peace but could not calm the fears and aspirations of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples – not when Mr Saakashvili continued (with the complicity and encouragement of the US and some other Nato members) to talk of rearming his forces and reclaiming “Georgian territory”. The presidents of the two republics appealed to Russia to recognise their independence.”

Medvedev seems intent on accusing Saakashvili of all kinds of crimes, and to be sure he’s not entirely wrong.  Saakashvili has done some pretty questionable things in these breakaway areas.

It’s worth a read, especially now that the provinces are going to be absorbed into Russia.

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