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Armenia

Abkhazia, South Ossetia to become a measure of Russia's international influence

Both houses of Russia’s parliament have urged Dmitri Medvedev to recognize the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, BBC Reports. Although voted unanimosly in favour by both houses of Russian Duma, the bill will have to be ratified by President Medvedev, before it comes into action. The choice is not as easy as it seems, however, and the Kremlin might delay its decision while it carries out wider negotiations with the West on the crisis. The decision to recognize the independence of the two breakaway regions might become a testing ground of Russia’s international influence and the Abkhaz and South Ossetian struggle for independence might end up either like Kosovo, whose independence was accepted by a substantial number of governments, or like Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. Will Russia want to take the risk? Will it have to force allies like the CSTO members, Venezuela and Cuba?
It is almost certain, that if Russia pushes for it, Armenia will have to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Meanwhile Armenia hasn’t recognized Kosovo yet, although given our quest for self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh, it would have seemed like the most natural thing for us to do. We would have everything to gain and nothing to loose, especially as it would be fully in line with out ‘complimentary’ foreign policy and would demonstrate at least a limited degree of independence from Russia. Meanwhile, recognizning the two breakaway regions of Georgia, our main export route, is going to be a controversial choice. And while it would be great news for Nagorno-Karabakh, the economic consequencies might prove destructive for the Armenian economy.

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Armenia

Georgia-Russia war buries hopes for Armenia's independence

The world is filled with comment and analysis about the Georgian-Russian war and while the active military actions have ceased, the information war is going on full speed. The Guardian has been my main source of information throughout the past 5-6 days of armed conflict in Georgia, along with the Russian version of the BBC, which was a great deal more balanced than its English language version. At any rate, this analysis by BBC’s Paul Reynolds has captured the essence and reality of the Georgia conflict in short and simple formulations, which are hard to disagree with. Observe the following balance sheet:

Winners Losers
1. Russia
2. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
3. The South Ossetians
4. Old Europe
1. The dead and wounded and the refugees, of course
2. President Saakashvili of Georgia
3. The truth
4. The West

The calculation of winning points and losses is still on and looking at how effective the western propaganda means like BBC and CNN are at disseminating cleverly designed half-truths, Saakashvili might just be able to turn this defeat into a victory.
Meanwhile, Armenia kept an uneasy silence throughout the clash of its two vital partners – Georgia, the main trade route to the world and Russia, the actual owner of this country (Armenian gas, electricity, communications infrastructure, railways are all controlled by Russian companies, Russian army guards Armenia’s border with Turkey).
There were a couple of vague and failed attempts to provoke and involve Armenia into the conflict in Georgia. The first of such attempts was the claim that the Russian warplanes bombing the military airfield near Tbilisi had actually taken off from the Russian airbase situated in Gyumri, Northern Armenia. Following refutations from Armenia, Georgian and Russian sources, the news died down, but the damage was done and Russian bases in Armenia were seen as a potential threat. Armenia was once again depicted as the Russian fore-post in the Caucasus – not that it needed proving or any further publicity. A second false rumor concerned the Armenians in Georgia’s Javakheti region – a nationalist Russian website claimed, that Georgia is planning ethnic cleansing in this mostly Armenian populated area, and that Armenians are gathering into armed groups to defend themselves. And although Armenia successfully avoided any involvement into the Georgia-Russia conflict, there are already sings, that the developments have left great impact on us. Making the assumption, that independence and physical safety of citizens are the key assets of a nation, here are some points for us to consider:

  1. We are hanging out with the strongest guy on our block – Russia showed the world who is the boss in the South Caucasus. Sadly though, the big guy has a nasty character – any attempts to demonstrate independence will result in severe punishment. There goes our independence…
  2. There was strong militaristic sentiment in Azerbaijan on the first day of the conflict, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. Many in Baku were suggesting Azerbaijan should act by force, just like Georgia and attack Nagorno-Karabakh – a seemingly similar breakaway region of Azerbaijan. Following Russia’s violent response, calls for war toned down in Azerbaijan. However, looking at things more realistically, we will see that South Ossetia has nothing to do with Nagorno-Karabakh. There are no Russian peacekeepers standing on the border and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev has so far been much more balanced in its attitude towards the West and Russia, than his Georgian counterpart, so Russia has no reason to ‘punish’ Azerbaijan if it attacks Armenia, even though Armenia is part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Azerbaijan isn’t. With the Georgian invasion Russia has proved all it needs to the West already, so it will have nothing to gain and everything to loose by defending Armenia against Azerbaijan. There goes the physical safety…

…and especially for those who believe in ‘collective security treaties’ and century long friendship of Armenians and Russians, my response will be short – LOL!

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Armenia

Russia's Dmitry Medvedev announces an end to Georgia-Russia war

“I have reached a decision to halt the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace,” Medvedev said. “The aggressor has been punished and has incurred very significant losses. Its armed forces are disorganized.” Despite the Russian president’s announcement, it is still unclear, whether this means an end to the war, or not. However, some conclusions can be drawn even today.
The cost of the 6 day war, that started with Georgia’s genocidal attack against the peaceful population of its breakaway South Ossetian region and ended with Russia’s response action followed by Russian intrusion into Georgian territory, blockade of Black See ports and opening of second front from Abkhazia, another breakaway region of Georgia, has been horrible for Georgia. According to Russian claims, there are 2,000 dead and over 30,000 refugees from the South Ossetian population of around 100,000 people. Georgian army and military infrustructure suffered a deadly blow from the Russians, whose massive “peace enforcement” campaign turned into a full scale invasion into Georgia, with conflicting reports of taking Gori, Zugdidi, Seneki, etc.
Even now it is hard to understand who were the conflicting sides? There are suggestions, that it was 1. Georgia, 2. Russia, 3. USA, 4. NATO, 5. South Ossetia and Abkhazia – sorted according to the degree of their involvement. At this point it is also hard to understand who won – Russia? The West? One thing is clear – peaceful population of South Ossetia were the ones who paid the horrible price for geopolitical ambitions and divisions of influence.  It is also beyond any doubts, that Georgia lost badly and the world has yet to study the lessons of the Georgia-Russia war, one lesson learnt is – Kosovo precedent has everything to do with the burning and frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus. Perhaps it is the right time to think about the consequencies for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

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Armenia

Pain and Prayer for South Ossetia, Georgia, Russia

Innocent lives of our brothers in South Ossetia and Georgia became the cost of hypocrisy and imperial ambitions of the US, NATO and Russia. A half-witted, semi-fascistic marionette – Mikhail Saakashvili willingly became the tool in the hands of the daemon.
I pray for peace in this troubled region. I pray for those many friends I have in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Georgia of whom I have no news. I pray for those brothers of mine, whom I have never met before, but who are my brothers all the same. I pray for all those who are now in grave danger.

I will say of the LORD,
“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver
you from the snare of the fowler
and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings
you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid
of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence
that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction
that lays waste at noonday.
Psalm 91:2-6