First piece of the new USSR falls into place.

For just over 15 years now, the group of nations that sprouted up after the downfall of the USSR and the Soviet empire have been enjoying a period of self determination and relative peace. But recently, things have been changing in Central Europe and its relations with Russia.

In the last 24 hours, we've started reading about a conflict in Georgia, supposedly between rebels in South Ossetia and the Georgian army. Being next to Russia, Russia has stepped in to "help". But who are they helping - Georgia or themselves? It's not clear.


Russia supplies much of the former Eastern Bloc with oil via the Druzhba pipeline. This includes countries which have become quite good friends with the USA, such as the Czech Republic.

Last month on the xth of July, 2008, the USA signed a treaty with the Czech Republic for the contruction of a radar facility to direct missiles planned for deployment in Poland - ostensibly to protect against rogue states in the middle east from launching attacks at the USA. Something that Russia wasn't particularly fond of.

In the days that followed, oil supplies from Russia dropped, without any official word being give as to why. Whilst the Russians cited technical problems, the proximity of the two events doesn't fool anyone. As if this wasn't enough, towards the end of July, oil supplies dropped further, to 50% of its pre-treaty volume.

So what's that got to do with the price of fish, you might say?

Now the question to ponder, is the conflict in Georgia a result of the fallout of diplomatic relations between the USA and Russia surrounding its radar facility in Poland and the Czech Republic? Will Georgia be just the first brick to fall? With the USA caught up in the middle east mess that it made, there's little it can do to help countries such as Georgia. But hold that thought: if the USA or NATO/EU forces were to enter Georgia, what would they do and who would they be shooting at? Would it be the first time that it was East vs West? How will Russia respond if NATO/EU request that they provide peace keeping troops for South Ossetia and that the Russians withdraw?

While the USA has ferried back 2000 Georgian troops from Iraq, much to the outrage of Russia, claiming that the USA was not helping, it would seem that perhaps this might be the limit to which the USA can do something. The conflicts it has embroiled itself in throughout the Middle East are taxing its military muscle and budget, something that Russia is probably well aware of. So if you were Russia, looking at a collection of rogue states around your border that had abandoned you to become friendly with your once enemy and that once enemy was now looking weak, wouldn't you look to capitalise on the situation?

Whether it is by coincidence or not, on August the 20th, Czech TV plans to present footage of the 1968 Russian invasion. Looking at what is happening in Georgia today, it feels like we're in a time loop...



OK. SO the US can send its troops wherever it wants to and do whatever regime changes it wants, but the Russians can't.

The problem is the US, not Russia. They want one set of rules for themselves and one set for everyone else...nuclear capability by Iran is an example - the US, the only rogue nation to have used nuclear missiles does not want Iran to be able to possess even civilian nuclear tech. Hypocrites.

Posted by Eva Green on August 11, 2008 at 03:02 PM PDT #

An alternative view -

Posted by Jane March on August 11, 2008 at 05:04 PM PDT #

Russians closed pipeline branch to Lithuania (officially it was an accident) after Lithuanian government refused to sell oil refinery to Lukoil.
But it's not about energy resources in post Soviet Union. It's political leaders strange (dumb) thinking and megalomania that they are still in Soviet Union.

Posted by mantas on August 11, 2008 at 05:06 PM PDT #


Who gets to have nukes is a very important matter. It can't be anyone who declares intent to use them as soon as they have them, nor anyone that has that intent but doesn't declare it. In fact, it can only be countries that not only intend to use nukes for deterrence, but also countries that have strong incentives not to use nukes preemptively (e.g., India qualifies because India has enormous commercial interests in not starting a nuclear war). Iran does not qualify today; reflexive anti-Americanism is not a good reason for arguing otherwise.

Posted by Nico on August 12, 2008 at 03:22 AM PDT #

Past behaviour is a good indicator for future behaviour

Posted by Phil on August 12, 2008 at 05:35 AM PDT #

That's a very informative read, Jane, thanks!

Posted by Darren on August 12, 2008 at 06:22 AM PDT #

we've started reading about a conflict in Georgia, supposedly between rebels in South Ossetia and the Georgian army. Being next to Russia, Russia has stepped in to "help". But who are they helping - Georgia or themselves? It's not clear.

Posted by China Flowers on January 19, 2010 at 01:22 PM PST #

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