Author: David

Returning

Prague Watchdog’s Andrei Babitsky discusses the question of the Chechen returnees.

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Thaw in a frozen conflict

The situation in the Kodori Gorge continues to be uneasy, with both sides in the “frozen” conflict warning of impending war. A lot of this appears to be rhetoric for foreign consumption. However, something is afoot, and a Times correspondent witnessed

a convoy of Russian military fuel tankers en route to Sukhumi from the border crossing on the Psoi river. At an Abkhaz base near the Kodori Gorge troops took delivery of two trucks loaded with shells.

Derision

Given his track record of inflammatory remarks, Luzhkov had been met on arrival at Simferopol airport by Ukrainian State Security Service officials, who gave him a written warning against infringing Ukrainian law or undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In front of television cameras, Luzhkov read out the warning derisively and, with his entourage, burst out laughing at the Ukrainian document (Russian Television, May 10).

-Vladimir Socor, in Eurasia Daily Monitor

Breaking the Silence

As EU ministers prepare to visit Georgia next week, Jamestown’s Eurasia Daily Monitor points to a hushed-up fact that needs to be borne in mind by the delegation:

The Russian military, not the Abkhaz (17 percent of the region’s pre-conflict population) evicted the Georgian population (45 percent of the pre-conflict population) from Abkhazia by force. Yet Moscow has tried to put an Abkhaz face on that act, thereby turning the Abkhaz from ad hoc allies into long-term hostages to Russian policy. Using a similar method, Russia is now attempting to put an Abkhaz face on the downing of one or more Georgian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in internationally recognized Georgian air space.

The Timing of a War

In the Washington Post, Anne Applebaum considers the possibility that Abkhazia could become the starting point of a larger war, and reflects:

If you wanted to attack an American ally, or if you just wanted to destabilize and unnerve an American ally, wouldn’t this be the perfect moment? Perhaps if the Russians don’t take the opportunity, someone else will.