Soviet Union or Bust for Georgians?
Vladimir Putin's aim has long been to re-establish as much of the old Soviet order as possible, preferably all of it, under Kremlin control. Within that context, the fight for Georgia appears about to get dirtier and nastier in short order as the Russian Duma (parliament) just handed Putin a mandate to support Georgian separatist movements in order to fragment the potential NATO member into splintered internal disarray.
MOSCOW: Parliament on Friday urged the Kremlin to consider recognizing the independence of two separatist regions in neighboring Georgia, stepping up Moscow's campaign to keep the former Soviet republic out of NATO.
The lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, voted overwhelmingly to adopt a statement calling on President Vladimir Putin and the government to "consider the question of the expediency of recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
The statement also says the government should speed up efforts to support the sovereignty of the two regions in case Georgia "accelerated" its drive to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, suggesting that Moscow should move swiftly toward recognizing the regions if the alliance puts Georgia on track for membership at a meeting next month.
The vote was 440 to 0 in the 450-seat chamber. [Ed. Note: In Russia, that's a mandate.]
The statement calls on the government to increase support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgian government control after the 1991 Soviet breakup and have made renewed calls for international recognition since Kosovo's Western-backed declaration of independence.Moscow has granted most of the regions' residents Russian citizenship and has backed them in disputes with the government of Georgia's pro-Western president, Mikheil Saakashvili, but it formally recognizes Georgia's territorial integrity.