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Dialogues on Independence2010-06-07 15:54
Sunday's speech by Russian vice PM Sergey Ivanov at Shangri-La Dialogue, the International Asia-Pacific Security Conference in Singapore was an unpleasant surprise for Georgia's political establishment. For the first time since August 2008 conflict a high-ranking official has phrased the reasons that pushed Russia to recognize Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence.
Ivanov remarked that over 15 years Russian peacekeepers had been maintaining order in the region but "Georgia's attack on South Ossetia in August 2008 undermined international efforts to settle these conflicts urging Russia to interfere and protect local population". Ivanov also called attention of the conferees to the fact that "proclamation of Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's independence in 2008 was a vivid manifestation that the use of radical military methods for conflict settlement is inadmissible and that it's important to pursue a political dialogue and seek solutions acceptable for all conflicting sides".
Thus, Russian Vice PM conveyed a clear message that recognizing independence of the two republics was meant to halt conflict escalation in South Caucasus. No doubt, there is a difference between fighting "separatist regimes" in "rebellious regions" and launching an open conflict with independent states. Repeated sneers at Nicaragua's and Nauru's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia don't matter much basically. Being recognized and protected by one of the world's biggest countries is a more important fact. All the rest is a question of time and diplomacy.
It should also be understood that recognizing independence Russia greatly slackened the tension in the region also by securing its borders with the formation of buffer zones. 2014 Sochi Olympics are not far off. It is quite natural that Russia's leadership seeks tranquility and stability in Caucasus appointing Khloponin as Vice PM for North Caucasus and supporting (economically - in first place) Abkhazia and South Ossetia. That is why Russian diplomats are actively participating in Karabakh conflict settlement. The message in Sergey Ivanov's speech was to make it clear to all interested sides that Russia doesn't want tension in the region and that all available tools will be applied to achieve stability.