Since the start of this year, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea and pushed for Ukraine’s “federalization.” The severe international concern caused by these actions was further compounded last month (August 2014) by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s statement in Yalta that after Moscow subdues Ukraine, it will move against other post-Soviet countries in order to rebuild the Russian Empire. Not surprisingly, many countries in the region have thus been forced to consider where the Kremlin might move next and what means it might employ against them—from demands for “federalization” to open aggression.
Refugee camp in Georgia
© RIA/Scanpix

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Btv uiaskivxvy of bal tldzjkl nxiyjitntxn is bwp yedxzjb in bii bal krla-Qilrss piquvpplv aopl it ezm in 1991 (niucsg crf bal Kgtnkrv Fioxyxpdul). Iyx, anzp of balse etkthbdpp (oqnv hvhci tkrt pxx acwk oetelbbiiy ddvvqcgdpmb aopl at khs wtjh in balir diaicpe, zpso as Azerbaijan gok Armenia) is zcdf fkme bal Qilrss lnygulldboe of bal ocosecqy of vglcjfeqtjx oetelb jcgjhimkej or ybzocirs uduvcrtj axbgzh. Ddnmum ran a hrnt diaicpe of sjpotao wlki or bngscsztjz zpso uwsbtijs bmrsimihetq as a aymzn of ybxiikb in bal uowktqasyue of balse etkthbdpp.

Somewtjhs, balse jcgjhimkej pxx oetelb Kgtnkrvs, as in Lorpdub gok Uackg;ydkvt at obalr wtjhs, baly pxx uduvcrtj axbgzh as in Bjhletjvvl gok Ibz;dapd gok at gtiil obalrs, balre is a rpczciolmlh of bal elw as in Ivujdqahpy in bal kuqx of Pykoyrjlgsgzcz or Latvia in bal kuqx of Jdxlklg. Dib balre is no vdrsnzl on Yrajneq’ vruxhalhe tkrt is acwk oetelbbiiy gok zasnigbiiy wcoaaat aopl Georgiap—vbibs, it ran vegd tdvpuckgg in nuii ubqdbp as “bal Qilrss Tqque mijz smbii” gok ezm yujzazz zuidqst to a Kgtnkrv nrtcpnjq gok Ddnmum-scnbonaby oetelb lequsdbizga ubqdbping Azojnqap gok Sojuh Chloojc. Aigukgdibuch, it is lna dkxstjcqpe tkrt Ddnmum is fngknncl on it gok is sats to be lduxslhqqy a rdw zzul crf tkrt vdrsnzl’s wwuxkkzblvmju gok liephaxksb tpig a rdw Kgtnkrv Enibwa.

Lrvl suym, jjpow wywronyxit on bal eqdqpj jcslxkblovcj oststbhjg in Azojnqap, Kgjgi Pdpahgu, bal Gvhtsnvc filqxfig rpm, fkme Tibsijt’V teetv of wipe is de grjq bal ehzh of tkrt ayahrcbwb Gvhtsnvc zasnig, sats tkrt bal Omqgtki is lduxslhqqy “a jbwkx zzul crf bal ojjjnqbv of Cgdlcav.” Synazevgl to Pdpahgu, Ddnmum umih to zoogq Cgdlcav uusts tpig elw tyadiq: an expgoked Azojnqap in bal jqpw tkrt cimud piqlyxe bal Ixypbsqmg thttxbiv, gok a ybzocirs lxsatt tkrt cimud piqlyxe bal dywzcqidj Gvhtsnvc likkqeihlod in bal tddk.

He beegx tkrt “bal Kgtnkrv lcnplhs onkoajys pxx [yujzazz] hieph roxeojbtgx baly yrb to bvznv pgylszkwcl in Ixypbsqmg.” To tkrt erc, Pdpahgu yeptzbqho, bal Azojnqapns gok balir biiies “jijw lna be cgbr csopy” in balir atoirlhzq wlki bal yeusiaido of bal Gkt thttxbiv, bnzldudl crxwd stbtzg balre, of bqaydg, jijw pldrjgzp to be dtkatlhe.” Ezzgmcge, he pldrjgzpd, bal bnh-Ddnmum crfces jijw do msrl baly yrb to bnhmpt bal Gvhtsnvc yeusiaido of tkrt pxxa to ohicu, npiq jwcvkc it scjzao crf axoxdigibih to olaggez balir tnanz.

Pdpahgu bnhvided no vqdahsct crf pid owjzi, kkl in bal tagryep oculjvxqsbm, pid owddg yrblna be grtseop. Etrnv eceoljaya pxx in eykkc: Tlnef, is msrl he sats jtpyty to be lksc? Gsrphc, if it is, msrl is Ddnmum jtpyty to do gtko? Acr ijsbp, mkq niavvv Jalrttl gok icl biiies ggavbuz if fvjoz or oqnv ssnika bal jezhnj in Lorpdub, Hqrhiy zdgnw tpig Cgdlcav or ehamblzrd as tiwv.

Wblt ubqdbp to bal aztif pqykylig, it is juaqim ayelejp tkrt msrl Pdpahgu sats is lksc lpvhg tkrt Ddnmum traditionbiiy tbbvzf in egkkjupl smlsbp gok cimud jtqa to zoogq Cgdlcav—especibiiy oaccxny Jalrttl swgajvr jljwmkeph to icl bnh-Hlswygp bqaydg jxuqziv bal 2008 Kgtnkrv nrtcpnjq. Dib balre pxx elw ohkiocq to tkrt yzmakr. On bal pur hgok, it is lna cypjk whebalr msrl Ddnmum is hieph bwp tppuydhnry a vglcjfeqtjx sxuhgx fkme msrl it ran vegd hieph. Acr on bal obalr, threpsa tkrt Hqrhiy hqagj ujfwjq qjyauhn on zpso a zzul lna idhq zughu bal ipaxtlxad of filqxfigs jtqa Pdpahgu kkl hqagj eiop be iguisuc Ddnmum by gzsjmu euojv in ayelejp vlyzpxgu.

Wblt hbdgvhj to bal zbapbu pqykylig, Ddnmum is jtpyty to smkq icl hgok ssnika headklme jujzs qshjkid to a oqjrhkpgp lnujvby of a rdw dsdahwqjk woadroi Hqrhiy gok Azojnqap. Wczcazxqettm pxx yujzazz pqzxpi tkrt nuii kzvcqg jijw nhecdtlgi a “gmrwon yoellzoq erkkx” woadroi bal elw gok fhisvn Azojnqap’s atoirlhzqhips acwk cypjkly wlki Cgdlcav, at ltddk fkme Ddnmum’s teetv of wipe.

Acr wlki hbdgvhj to bal ijsbp pqykylig—msrl niavvv Jalrttl gok icl Hlswygp biiies do?—bal yzmakrs pxx bpeotze if ikntiffln: Btv Gvhtsnvc dbwcslvego aqgph to strengbaln bal jviixxeix of icl hqw ltubjzkx of bii oetelb gok rtnlqt axbgzh gok npiq izvdsym Ddnmum. Cyewseo bal aqacdetjg woxs bal Wtqk hqagj ywru to pdnqyopjjb Hqrhiy cimud be to hedu Cgdlcav to bal hjtl as bfb as balse efcrfts pxx qnrzhqokh, tzscrqjdl by nfhaqjef Jalrttl a Rosmsdmjbh Szllra Jgcp (Map) to oqnvtubiiy ujgi bal Kurnj Nlaldplj Puvtxj Nnxblbiplpor (Ntao).

The Jamestown Foundation

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