Russia Is ‘Pulling a Crimea’ in Georgia
Georgia said the signing of a border deal between Russia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia on February 18 means Moscow was one step nearer to officially annexing the territory.
“It’s yet another action directed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and an attempt to artificially redraw internationally recognized borders,” said the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
In 2008, Russia fought a war with Georgia over South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia. After the five-day conflict ended, Moscow recognized both regions as independent nations and asserted control over them. Only a handful of other countries have recognized the two regions’ declarations of independence, and Tbilisi insists they remain part of Georgia.
Last November, Moscow moved toward consolidating the spoils of that war by signing a “strategic partnership” deal with Abkhazia, which integrates Russian security and military forces into those of Abkhazia. The February 18 deal shows that Russia is now creating a similar scenario with South Ossetia.
Georgia has ambitions to join nato, but Russia has said it would not allow such a move. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would “take measures to prevent the negative effect of attempts to drag Tbilisi into nato.”
Russia’s maneuvers in Georgia come less than a year after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and at a time when Russia-Ukraine tensions remain high. Both Ukraine and Georgia were part of the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. Some in Georgia believe Russia’s recent deals with South Ossetia and Abkhazia parallel Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. “Russia, in a way, is pulling a Crimea here,” Dr. Irakli Bokuchava, a Tbilisi-based political commentator, told the Trumpet. In both nations, President Vladimir Putin’s plan is the “creation of a renewed ussr.”
Just after the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry issued this bold forecast:
Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more! … Today, you have [Western leaders] trying to also bring Georgia and Ukraine into nato. I don’t believe Russia will ever allow that to happen. … Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.”
Time has proven that forecast stunningly accurate.
Mr. Flurry could see in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia were not safe from Putin’s expansionist ambitions, and now it is clear that he was right. To understand more about the ongoing Ukraine crisis, and what to expect for South Ossetia and other former Soviet nations and regions, read Mr. Flurry’s article “The Crimean Crisis Is Reshaping Europe.”