Tag Archives: medvedev

Politics

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.

Politics

Putin won’t go away

As you probably have heard, Russia is going through a pretty turbulent time.  There was a hell of a time trying to contest the presidential election.  It got very little coverage because no opposition was really allowed.

The two gentlemen you see pictured at the top are Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.  Putin, the outgoing president of Russia, was constitutionally prohibited from seeking another term.  So instead, he concocted a different way of staying in power.  He crushed political opposition, jailing those who supported them financially and making it tough to get their message out.

So he hand-picked his successor.  Medvedev is not a great leader.  He’s not charasmatic, he’s not even necessarily the popular choice.  But he does have his uses.  Immediately after ‘winning’ the election, he nominated his sugar daddy (Putin) to be the Prime Minister.  Russian parliament just approved this nomination and so now he is still pretty much in power.

The biggest worry is that Medvedev is simply a puppet figure and not really in charge.  Even worse, after one term, Putin is free to seek the presidency again!   Putin seems desperate to raise Russia’s profile on the world stage.  He’s taken a firm line against what he sees as a Western threat.  NATO is starting to creep closer, with some of the neighbouring countries in talks to join the alliance.  Russia’s doing their best to stop this, even using its massive gas and oil supplies to strong-arm these countries.

Economic pressure has become the new nuclear arsenal in what is looking more and more like a cold-war attitude.  Instead of the threat of nuclear destruction, it’s now a threat of cutting off some of the main pipelines delivering oil and gas to Europe.

So basically, Putin will be in power for many, many years to come.  This may not be that terrible, considering Russians still seem to love him.  But the danger is that will destabilize the region and be a obstacle in progress in general.