Georgia/Russia news: 4 SEP 2008

NOTE: This is an informational compilation. GMF does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, the content contained herein.

 

NEWS

 

Cheney Backs NATO Membership for Georgia

New York Times (U.S.), Steven Lee Myers and Alan Cowell, 4 Sep 2008

Summary: “One day after the United States proposed $1 billion in humanitarian and economic assistance to help rebuild Georgia after its war with Russia, Vice President Dick Cheney flew here to reaffirm Washington’s support for this country’s eventual NATO membership and to issue a powerful condemnation of Moscow €¦His words of support for Mr. Saakashvili placed him on a direct collision course with Russia’s leaders who have labeled the Georgian president a “political corpse” and who have made clear that they see Georgia’s membership of NATO as intolerable.”

 

Cheney, in Tbilisi, Slams Russian Actions

Washington Post (U.S.), Tara Bahrampour, Karen DeYoung and Howard Schneider, 4 Sep 2008

Summary: “Vice President Dick Cheney arrived here on Thursday with harsh words for Russia and a message of support for the Georgian government, saying that the military conflict between the two countries had”cast grave doubt on Russia’s intentions and on its reliability as an international partner.”.. Appearing with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Cheney called the Russian actions”an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country’s borders by force,” and reiterated U.S. support for Georgia’s”territorial integrity” and its eventual membership in NATO.”

 

Russia May Suspend Support for NATO Operations in Afghanistan

Ria Novosti (RUS), 4 Sep 2008

Summary: Russia’s NATO envoy has said that Moscow could suspend cooperation with the military alliance on Afghanistan over the recent Georgia crisis.

 

Georgia war boosts Medvedev’s status

Reuters, Oleg Shchedrov, 4 Sep 2008

Summary: “Russia’s conflict with Georgia has helped President Dmitry Medvedev emerge from the shadow of his mentor Vladimir Putin by letting the soft-spoken lawyer assume the mantle of wartime leader €¦The war, in which Russia crushed an attempt by Georgia’s military to retake the breakaway South Ossetia region and sent its troops deep into Georgia, has reshaped the domestic political landscape. Throughout the crisis, Medvedev appeared as a confident leader who made the key decisions, from ordering the invasion to signing a ceasefire deal.”

 

Ukraine government near collapse

International Herald Tribune (U.S.), Clifford J. Levy, 4 Sep 2008

Summary: “The Western-leaning governing coalition in Ukraine, which took power during the Orange Revolution in 2004 but has endured repeated tumult ever since, appeared once again near collapse on Wednesday €¦Yushchenko, whose party had been allied with Tymoshenko’s in Parliament, said his party would withdraw from the governing coalition, adding that a new one had to be formed. He seemed to be daring Tymoshenko to formally join with the pro-Moscow Party of Regions, a move that might upset her supporters.”

 

Nicaragua to Recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Ria Novosti (RUS), 4 Sep 2008

Summary: Nicaragua is taking final steps to officially recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in line with the president’s decision, a deputy foreign minister said.

 

Russia reviews trade deals after conflict

Financial Times (UK), 3 Sep 2008

Summary: “The collateral damage from Russia’s dispute with Georgia over the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has spread to encompass its trading relations with the rest of the world. In the past week Moscow has announced it will suspend agreements to import pork and chicken, banned 19 US companies from exporting poultry to Russia and blocked Turkish trucks at customs posts.”

 

Stocks Tumble, Ruble Passes 25

The Moscow Times (RUS), Courtney Weaver, 4 Sep 2008

Summary: The ruble fell by as much as nearly 2 percent against the dollar on Wednesday. Russia’s RTS Index dropped 4.3 percent, pummeled by low oil prices, a tightening market and geopolitical concerns over Russia’s rift with the West over Georgia.

 

COMMENTARY

 

Hot or Cool on Russia?

Washington Post (U.S.), David Ignatius, 4 Sep 2008

 

Summary: “In the days after the Russian invasion of Georgia, the world had a chance to examine the different foreign policy styles of John McCain and Barack Obama €¦Listening to McCain, you sensed the beginning of a new Cold War; hearing Obama, you felt a desire to prevent that Cold War from taking root.”

 

Da war doch Puschkin – Russland und sein verlorenens Imperium

Säddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), J. Aumäller, 3 Sep 2008

Summary: Aumäller argues that “the conflict in South Ossetia and the debate about the Crimea is not only about Russia’s urge to power €“ it also has to do with the Russian soul, which feels discriminated by history.”

 

Global Cooling

Kommersant (RUS), Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyov, Dmitry Butrin, 3 Sep 2008

Summary: “Last week Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that he is not afraid of cold war. The West started discussing possible sanctions against Russia. Trying to forecast what Russia and the world can expect in the near future, Vlast weekly made up a cold war guide-book.”

 

Sphere of intolerance?

Financial Times (UK), Stefan Wagstyl, Roman Olearchyk and Jan Cienski, 3 Sep 2008

Summary: “The big question is whether instability spreads from Georgia or whether a new balance of forces emerges, with Russia playing a bigger role. The answer depends on the Kremlin’s ambitions, its readiness to resort to force and its willingness to exploit its role as an energy superpower. The responses of its neighbours will also matter, as will the reaction from the west, including the US, the European Union and Nato. Potential flashpoints include Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltic states and the energy-rich Caspian region.”

 

Gerhard Schröder gibt dem Westen die Schuld

Die Welt (Germany), Daniel Friedrich Sturm, 2 Sep 2008

Summary: Sturm reports on a speech former chancellor Gerhard Schröder gave in Berlin on September 1. In his speech Schröder attacked the West for being too critical towards Russia.

 

The Years Wasted

Russian Profile (RUS), Georgy Bovt, 3 Sep 2008

Summary: Diplomatic perturbations spurred by the recent crisis in South Ossetia have brought Russia to the verge of global isolation, nearly canceling all of Russia’s past efforts to build understanding and rapport with the West. But if Russia’s international bridges were immediately shuttered by an acute crisis, how sturdy were they to begin with?

 

A False Alarm?

Russian Profile (RUS), Sergei Balashov, 2 Sep 2008

Summary: This tumultuous summer had it all – diplomatic tensions, a war, and yet another scandal between the government and a major corporation. All of this took a heavy toll on foreign investment in the country, as key economic indicators plummeted, making room for what seems like a full-scale financial demise of an otherwise steadily growing economy. But experts are confident that Russia can easily rebound, downplaying the investment cuts as a factor that won’t impact long-term growth, but will rather set the scene for another massive economic surge.

 

POLICY INSTITUTE ANALYSIS

 

Hunter: Russia is Long Run €˜Loser’ in Georgia Conflict

Council on Foreign Relations (U.S.), Interview with Robert E. Hunter, 3 Sep   2008

Summary: “Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili miscalculated badly in sending his troops into South Ossetia in mid-August. This move precipitated a conflict with Russia and the Russian recognition of the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. In the long run, however, Hunter says that”Russia is the loser here.” At a time when the Russians need Western investment and expertise,”Putin has gone much too far and does not understand exactly what he is doing €¦”