A wake-up call for Georgia, Ukraine – and the West


                I wonder why it always needs an escalations of conflict in post-soviet area in order the west to pay attention, without Ukraine and Georgia afterward telling them"but we have warned you" and the west responding "did you?".

It is important to note that Ukraine and Georgia represent a somewhat different cases than the Baltic Republics or other Eastern European countries. With the exception of the Baltic states, the countries seeking NATO and EU membership in the 1990s had not been part of the Soviet Union. Moreover, they benefited from historical traditions of democratic governance and their “Europeanness” was never in doubt. Even the Baltic States, that were administered by the USSR, were perceived internationally as having certain legitimate claims to statehood throughout the Soviet period.

Ukraine and Georgia, in contradistinction to this, had to invent a modern statehood after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. These countries are weaker, poorer, and more politically problematic than the central and eastern European states. Georgia, for instance experiences much more serious security threats than any of those countries, including the Baltic states, ever did. More importantly, Ukraine and Georgia enjoy much less Western support in terms of membership prospects in the EU and NATO, than those countries did. Additionally to this we should take into consideration another important change that occurred in the 21 century: Russia has changed. In the 90s, it was a post-collapsed, weak state trying to figure out its new orientations. Now, a more powerful, nationalist, courageous and aggressive Russia is challenging the West.       

The road is especially tricky for Georgia. Russia still has not complied with key aspects of the ceasefire agreements that President Medvedev reached in August/September 2008 with French President Sarkozy in his then EU presidency role. Furthermore, Russia’s 15 June Security Council veto of an extension of the sixteen-year-old UN observer mission mandate in Georgia and Abkhazia and its apparent intention to require the removal of the mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by the end of the month are blows to regional security that will further fuel tensions.

         "Moscow is now exploiting this vulnerability in Ukraine and Georgia by demonizing democrats, aiding their opponents, and abetting separatists. The failure for democrats within those countries to work together could lead to authoritarian or anti-Western rule," – argues Christian Science Monitor in its recent opinion article. Read full article

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