Russian Failure in Ossetia and Chechnya
Two reports last week highlighted the increasing humiliation Russia is experiencing in the Caucasus region.
First, Russia was left fuming with egg on its face when the Council of Europe adopted a draft resolution condemning barbarous Russian atrocities in Chechnya, and did so in the presence of infamous Chechen freedom fighter Akhmed Zakayev. Once again, Russians were forced to confront their government’s utter failure in foreign policy in Europe, and forced to face the shame of having their wanton criminal behavior in the Caucasus exposed before a slack-jawed world.
And then came the news that Ossetia has already been declared a failed state.
The Moscow Times reports:
Despite being recognized by Moscow as an independent state after the war, South Ossetia still has no autonomous means of survival. According to some observers, its population could now be as low as 20,000 after the Georgians who used to live in what was once an ethnically mixed area were forced to flee during and after the war.
A report published earlier this month by the International Crisis Group paints a gloomy picture of life in this tiny, isolated region. Post-war reconstruction efforts funded by the Kremlin have rehabilitated official buildings and schools, but most private homes that were damaged in the war have remained untouched amid claims that renovation funds have been embezzled by local officials. As a result, some South Ossetians are living in empty train cars.
Moreover, the agricultural sector is failing, and this fertile but backward region can’t fulfill its own demand. Industry is virtually nonexistent, and even the black economy has suffered since the war. Medical services and education remain poor. Anyone who questions the authorities risks being labeled a traitor.
In fact, the Russian army appears to be the only thing that is thriving in South Ossetia, the International Crisis Group report suggests, pointing to a potential future as bleak as the present: “Both local and Russian analysts agree that if the local economy does not develop, the region will in effect turn into a Russian garrison.”
A Russian garrison, not a free and independent, prosperous new state.
Has Russia spent the millions it needs to in order to repair it’s tiny little creation? It has not. Russians never cared one whit for the people of Ossetia, they cared only about their seething hatred for the daring President of Georgia who dared to flout their authority and demand freedom for his people, freedom from the same Russian imperialism and aggression that now bedevils the people of Ossetia.
We pity them.