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Russia fights for dominance in the post-Soviet space

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, February 25
Russian imperialism haunts the events transpiring in the post-Soviet space. It was Russia’s rejection of Ukraine’s decision to join the European Union Association Membership project that triggered the initial hostilities on the streets of Kyiv.

Indirectly, the Ukrainian events remind us of Georgia’s past fate with the Russians. It is known that Moscow launched its military attack on Georgia to prevent it from joining NATO, and consequently, the EU. The Russian leadership itself acknowledged this as much

Some analysts suggest that now that the Sochi Olympic Games are over, Russia’s focus will turn to Georgia, as it has yet to respond after Tbilisi signed the EU initial agreement.

The methods Russia uses towards its neighbors have been refined during the last twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have become all too predictable.

The first method used against the Russia’s former Soviet republics was the fermentation of ethnic unrest in the regions. This was used “very successfully” against Georgia in particular where two conflicts have been set – one in Abkhazia and another in the Tskhinvali region.

An almost similar scenario was triggered in Moldova – one in the Prednestrov region and another in the area inhabited by the ethnic Gagauz people. In all these cases, Moscow was actively supporting separatism, but at the same time, it disguised itself under the mask of peacekeepers.

This was the case when the Kremlin got involved in Georgia. It never intended to settle the conflicts or maintain territorial integrity. On the contrary, Moscow used the policy of creeping annexation, via the distribution of Russian passports in the regions, and introducing various subversive actions against sovereign Georgia.

The peak of all this was August 8, 2008 when Russia backed an irresponsible Georgian leadership headed by President Mikheil Saakashvili into a corner. This resulted in a conflict which ended with the occupation of Georgian territories by Russia. Moscow would go on to recognize the Georgian breakaway territories as independent states.

So, the scenario is simple. Territory belonging to a sovereign country inhabited by different ethnicities expresses its claims for extra autonomy… It eventually receives support from Moscow, and after time, separates from the original territory from whence it came.

The method applied in the mountainous Karabakh is analogous: the two neighboring countries – Armenia and Azerbaijan got into a conflict over the territory. As a result, both of them, but mostly Armenia, are relying on Russian policy.

Since then, Yerevan refuses to join the EU Eastern Partnership program and has given preference to the Russian-led Customs Union.

These methods have some different variations as well. For instance, in 1992-1993 Moscow intensively used north Caucasus fighters against Georgia.

Moscow has many opportunities to promulgate conflict in different areas of the post-Soviet space. Usually neighboring countries always have territorial claims.

Apart from such conflicts and variations, Moscow actively exploits the countries’ energy needs when they highly depend on Russian energy sources. Georgia managed to release itself from Russian energy dependence by solving the problem through using Azerbaijani oil and gas.

However, Ukraine almost totally depends on Russian natural gas. The same could be said about Armenia as well. Another method used by Moscow is the installation of pro-Russian political forces on the ground through financial and political support.

Some analysts suggest that Moscow will not accept losing its influence over Ukraine, as well as allowing Georgia to sign the Association Membership with the EU.

So, new surprises are expected from the Kremlin.