Skip to comments.The Kremlin's Fashion For Independence Votes
Posted on 09/16/2006 5:46:43 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
There are many reasons to expect Moscow's deteriorating ties with the West will continue their downward trend this autumn. But the key one may be growing differences over the breakaway regions of Transdniester, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia and their stated desire to proclaim independence from Moldova and Georgia. The issue pushing the frozen conflicts to the fore are two independence referendums -- one in Transdniester on September 17, the second in South Ossetia on November 12.
Russia, which has acted as a long-term booster for the separatist regions, is looking at the plebescites in two ways: a chance to bring the regions into the Russian fold, and -- more importantly -- a way to begin a reconsolidation of the post-Soviet republics under the patronage of Moscow.
The West is steering clear of the votes. The Organization for Security and Cooperation and Europe, the European Union, and the United States have all disavowed the referendums, saying that -- in support of the territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova -- they will not recognize the results. Moscow, meanwhile, has stopped short of indicated whether it will recognize the ballots, but says it has long respected the "principle" of such referendums.
Patron With A Plan?
The situation in each of the three breakaway enclaves is different, but there is one thing they have in common. Since their formation in the wake of the Soviet collapse -- via armed conflicts aided, directly or otherwise, by the Kremlin -- they have all served Moscow as useful levers against Chisinau and Tbilisi.
In its support of Tiraspol, Sukhum(i), and Tskhinvali, Russia has aimed to keep restive Moldova and Georgia within its orbit. But that strategy has intensified over the past several years, as both Chisinau and Tbilisi made plain their aim of Euro-Atlantic integration and potential NATO and EU membership.
Now, for Moscow, the separatist regions can be used as more than just a thorn in the side of Moldova and Georgia. They are bona fide roadblocks on their path to Western integration. Both the NATO and the EU prohibit the accession of states with unsettled border or territorial disputes. Moscow, therefore, wants the conflicts to stay frozen as much as Chisinau and Tbilisi would like to see them thaw.
Russia has worked hard to cement its influence in the three breakaway regions, providing both military and economic support. First and foremost, Moscow has been very liberal in its provision of Russian passports to enclave residents. In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 85 percent of the population is estimated to hold Russian documents and receive the social benefits and pensions apportioned them as Russian citizens. That figure in Transdniester is considerably lower, but perhaps not for long. Russia's ambassador to Moldova, Nikolai Ryabov, this week announced a new fast-track process for receiving Russian passports had been launched in Tiraspol.
Until recently, Moscow's support of Transdniester, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia shopped short of recognizing outright their "independence" from Moldova and Georgia. Moreover, the Kremlin on many occasions stressed its loyalty to the notion of territorial integrity. This stance clearly reflected Kremlin fears that a pro-separatist position would fuel independence ambitions in places where it is decidedly inconvenient for Moscow, most notably Chechnya.
But a significant shift in that policy could be seen this year. In January, Russian President Vladimir Putin linked the issue of unrecognized states to the anticipated resolution of the status of the Serbian province of Kosovo. "If someone believes that Kosovars can get full state independence," Putin said, "why should we refuse the same for the Abkhaz and South Ossetians?"
A Model Solution
Since then, Putin has several times referred to Kosovo as a model for the frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space. In doing so, Putin appears eager to mobilize the support of Spain, Turkey, China, India, and other countries with their own separatist difficulties.
Assuming sufficient turnout, the results of the Transdniester and South Ossetian referendums will be the same -- a resounding "yes" for independence, with an eye on eventual union with Russia. (Abkhazia, for its part, will not hold a similar plebiscite, but will pursue its own drive for independence based on the results of its 1994 referendum.)
But the results are largely meaningless. While Russian law provides for the adoption of foreign states into the federation, the provision applies only to regions subject to international law, which South Ossetia and Transdniester are not.
Not An Empty Exercise
Why, then, are the referendums being held?
One reason is Moscow's desire to keep the conflicts simmering in order to hamper Georgian and Moldovan NATO and EU bids. But there is a second possible reason as well -- an ambition among Soviet nostalgists to set a precedent for reintegrating former Soviet territory with Russia, with the eventual aim of creating a new but familiar superstate -- a kind of USSR-2.
He added: "The disintegration of the USSR turned us into a divided nation. This applies to not only Russians, but also Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Belarusians, and others. And we should recognize ourselves as being divided people moving toward reunion."
Other pundits find the idea appealing as well. The economic analytical site iamik.ru, for example, in August published a 25-page report proposing a possible course for Russia's policy goals through 2015.
They include the creation on the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States a state, or superstate, comprising a population of 300 million and based on a common market and currency.
Another similar project, published on panarin.com, proposes the creation by 2014 of a new state, Eurasian Rus. It begins with the unification of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Armenia, all by 2008. By 2010, this hypothetical superstate will have grown to include Mongolia, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria. Four years later, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, North and South Korea, and all of Eastern Europe will have joined the club as well.
However fantastic such a project may seem, the breadth of its ambitions cannot be ignored, especially considering that Russia's leading Unified Russia has already labeled itself the party of "historical revanchism" with an eye to the 2007 parliamentary elections.
To be added or removed from this list, please FReepmail me!!!
Also in the proposal is a massive eurasian state with China and Russia as the nexus of the state.
And they WILL fly the hammer and sickle on a red banner...
"There are many reasons to expect Moscow's deteriorating ties with the West will continue their downward trend this autumn. "
When oil gets to $30, Russia is so inefficient that they lose money.
Then they will come begging to the west again.
I doubt that oil will get to $30 again. Russia won't let it happen, neither will Iran or Venezuela. They will cause a crisis to drive up prices.
The above statement is even true on FR, visible in the antics of the disgusting Putinistas pushing the Kremlin's agenda with Putin's open alliance with the viciously anti-Western Axis of Evil horde.
In terms of Col Putin's neo-Soviet Union, Moscow never ending goal of burying the West through Moscow's well armed proxies, coupled with the Kremlin dream of knocking US out via a massive first strike, is all greatly assisted monetarily by excessive oil and natural gas prices (in relation to energy price trending in 2003).
The well healed energy related funds are driving the prices lower in order to purchase futures & long call options at far cheaper premiums then they were two weeks ago. Winter will be upon us soon, some are forecasting a rough one, and it's inevitable that sooner or later there will be a military showdown with OPEC's Iran, all of which spells a far higher costs for energy.
The meetings in Castro's Cuba (another pal of Putin's) of the 'Washington Bashers Club', such as OPEC's Hugo Chavez and the OPEC Iranians, including other major anti-Western petroleum exporting players have most likely addressed the issue of falling oil prices, and their means to greatly increase prices once again.
The energy market responds to bombastic threats to disrupt the flow of oil. What will be the enemy's next move be to reverse the current bearish trending.
< By 2010, this hypothetical superstate will have grown to include Mongolia, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria. Four years later, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, North and South Korea, and all of Eastern Europe will have joined the club as well.> Strong pot they are smokig. Where they acquire it?
Are Saudis a business partners of Bush family, or I missed something? They financed and trained Chechen and introduced Wahhabism in Russia. Sure, according to orders from Washington.
Wow! Where are all those well armed Moscow's proxies? (seeking everywhere, under blanket, under chair..) Oh, no, nobody in sight. Only mad Batka Lukashenko.
Those putinist are insane for sure - dreaming about turning off own gonads... With all they billions dollars in Western banks and property, their kids with Western education an citizenship, earned by backbreaking toil - all this will be lost. Trying imagine massive first strike with all three bombers, one big antisubmarine ship... I wonder, if USA is bigger, than Chechnya, or not? And were is profit in this business? Who will buy Russian oil and gas after victory? Excessive oil and gas prices is plot of Bush administration - they are in that business, and it was main goal of Iraq war. High fuel prices help slow down economy growth of EU and China, and strangle all Russian economy sectors besides oil and gas extraction. Regular benzine today costs about 80 cents per liter, while wages 500 dollars per month is unreachable dream of majority people. Oil money went to speculation on real estate market. Average cost of one square meter of dwelling in our town is about 1500 dollars, in Moscow - 3500 dollars. Many new buildings are empty, while need in them is very high, and high is joblessness. Besides, excessive oil money are buried in stabilization fund in USA economy in state's bonds, and they are diminishing with sinking dollar. If bloody GBist Putin with his best China cronies were willing to ruin USA, all they need is selling dollars from national bank reserves. Quick and painful keerdyk guaranteed. But it would be most foolish thing to do.
Not long ago have red in book by John van De Graaf, that in USA in Cold War years was built net of strategic highways for repelling of Soviet tanks. Can not believe, laughed, wallowing under chair. Somebody have made good money from prejudices of simple American people, who cannot make simplest calculations, do not know history, geography, and easily believe in every horror tale.
"I doubt that oil will get to $30 again."
Reagan jawboned the Saudis into openingup the spigot in the 80's until he crushed Russia - there was nothing they could do about it then and nothing they'll be able to do about it again.
Don't you remember after the first Ukrainian election when it was obvious that Moscow had F'ed things up - and alll of a sudden oil went from $60's to the $30's ---- in December!
Moscow stayed out of the second Ukrainian election!
"Where are all those well armed Moscow's proxies?"
Venezuela, N Korea, Iran, Syria, Hezbolla.
Do you think we here do not know that Russia exported the Genocide of 100 million in the last century and they are capable of doing it again.
"Somebody have made good money from prejudices of simple American people, who cannot make simplest calculations, do not know history, geography, and easily believe in every horror tale."
When Putin shows his true agressive colours, may the radiating mushrooms be with everyone of you Putin promoters. Then you can follow through, screaming and ranting about ""the simple American people",...."Can not believe, laughed, wallowing under chair".
"Please show me, where those 100 millions killed are, any memorials. Name exterminated nationalities."
No problem - do you want pictures first?
Here's the memorial. mostly Ukrainians, Chinese , and Jews were killed by the Russian scum communists.
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