Saturday, August 09, 2008

Russia, Georgia, and the Russian Question

Here are two articles, the first deals directly with the new Russia - Georgia conflict, and the second touches on it in a relevant way.

Josh Trevino at the Brussels Journal gives us his assessment of the Russian VS Georgia situation:

War in the Caucasus
The first thing to understand about the war between Russia and Georgia is that Georgia has lost.


The real question for Georgia, then, is not whether is will win or lose – it has already lost – but how bad its loss will be. The worst case scenario is a Russian occupation and annexation. Fortunately for the Georgians, that’s also the least likely. Less unlikely is some sort of Russian occupation coupled with a Russian-driven regime change that puts Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on the street – if he’s lucky. This might not be the tragedy for Georgia it seems, given Saakashvili’s rather astonishing incompetent gamble in leading the country into the present war. Most likely is that the Russians fully occupy South Ossetia, along with the other secessionist region of Georgia, Abkhazia; declare them both independent or somehow annexed; and thoroughly punish the Georgians with a countrywide air campaign targeting what meager infrastructure there is. Georgia at war’s end – which may well be mere days away – will be definitively dismembered, and smoldering in body and heart.

So much for the probable outcome. What remains is what, if anything, America should do. [...]

He doesn't see America getting involved in a war with Russsia over this, and neither do I. Georgia has been a coalition partner with the US in Iraq, so as an ally it can be argued that we owe them something, but it will probably be helping them to pick up the pieces when this is over. The Georgian President, I expect, will not endure much longer. I could be wrong, we shall see.

Another good article at the Brussels Journal that touches indirectly on this conflict, is by John Laughland, which looks at Western criticism of the recently deceased Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and finds it absurd.

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question

He maintains that Solzhenitzyn was always consistent and not irrational, unlike many of his Western critics. I leave you to read the article for those arguments, but I want to focus on one part, that I think relates strongly to the current Russia - Georgia conflict:
[...] After dealing with both the horrors of Communism, Solzhenitsyn of course turns his attention to the terrible chaos of the post-Communist period. Here again, his concern for the Russian people themselves remains consistent. He writes,
The trouble is not that the USSR broke up – that was inevitable. The real trouble, and a tangle for a long time to come, is that the breakup occurred along false Leninist borders, usurping from us entire Russian provinces. In several days, we lost 25 million ethnic Russians – 18 percent of our entire nation – and the government could not scrape up the courage even to take note of this dreadful event, a colossal historic defeat for Russia, and to declare its political disagreement with it.
Solzhenitsyn is right. One of the most lasting legacies of Leninism, which remains after everything else has been swept away or collapsed, was the decision to create bogus federal entities on the territory of what had been the unitary Russian state. These entities, called Soviet republics, contributed only to the creation of bogus nationalisms and of course to the dilution of Russian nationhood. They were bogus because the republics in question did not, in fact, correspond to ethnic reality: Kazakhs, for instance, are and remain a numerical minority in Kazakhstan, while “Ukraine” is in fact a collection of ancient Russian provinces (especially Kiev) and some Ukrainian ones. This bogus nationalism allowed the Soviet Union to present itself as an international federation of peoples, rather like the European Union today, but it was exploited by Russia’s enemies when the time came to destroy the geopolitical existence of the historic Russian state. This happened when the USSR was unilaterally dissolved by three Republic leaders in December 1991.

And this is the key to the West’s hostility to Solzhenitsyn. The man the West exploited to destroy Communism refused to bend the knee to the West’s continuing attempts (largely succesful) to destroy Russia herself. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) I believe this explains a lot about the current conflict we are seeing. Both the articles are worth reading, neither is very long, and both are very revealing and informative.


Anonymous said...

Georgia started it by atacking osetia, americans and nato are the ones actually promoting instability... osetia is russian territory in first place...Georgian president being an american bum licker...and should get terminated for his actions!!! plus all this american news propoganding wrong source of information... like always they try to make russia bad... they already helped destroying ussr and they just one big fat giant that want to take power all over the globe, but it wont happen...

Look at them saying russia attacking such a small country when they never had yet, but in my opinion they should terminate all the leaders of georgia again becouse of they actions... And one thing about nato what did they did to prevent iraq war nothing american just spit on nato and went in for it... and now again they aint doing anything just pointless meetings that wont save humans life im afraid...

Chas said...

Europeans like to blame America for everything, because as long as it's someone else's fault, they don't have to take any responsibility. Grow up.

The point of this post was that the borders made by the soviets did not take into account ethnic and historical realities on the ground. Many a war has been caused by political entities creating artificial borders without regard to the people who live with them. Years later, wars happen, and people wonder why. It's not hard to understand... and it's hardly all America's fault.