The volume of chest-thumping moxie pouring out of the Kremlin these days, swift and ebullient as a mountain stream, could choke a horse. President Medvedev, proud and provoked, labeled Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia a genocide – even though the death toll appears to be about 200 Ossetians – and declared independence for his Caucasian brethren.  As if he could.  His moral rectitude has metastasized to hubris. Until someone, anyone else agrees that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are sovereign nations, the Russians are occupiers.  Konstatin Zatulin, who is the Duma official in charge of former republics explained the Russian position thus: “The time when we needed Western applause is over.”  Prime Minister Putin said -perhaps presciently, perhaps prophetically- that Kosovo’s independence from Serbia was a precedent. Go figure.

          But when it comes to partitioning states, Moscow should be careful what it asks for, for it just might get it, and get it good and hard. Chechnya, after all, is right next door to Georgia, wants out of Continue reading

sound bites

          “The aggressor has been punished” said Russian President Dimitri Medvedev of his decision to stop bombing Georgia.  It’s a statement which could have been uttered by any number of leaders, and once in a while it’s even true, though in this world it is aggression which is usually rewarded, while no good deed goes unpunished.  The veracity of the statement in any case, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.  But if the reports are true that Russian forces were deliberately trying to terrorize the civilian population inside and outside the breakaway regions of South Continue reading