Russian Failure in Georgia
“The invasion proved the limits of Russian power. They couldn’t take over our country or remove our government. And . . . [t]hey’ve failed to drag us into their sphere of influence. Yes, they’ve occupied strategic terrain and purged our citizens but, soon, it’s the very people the Russians supposedly saved who will feel occupied by them. Many already do. Russian subsidies don’t reach the general population any more than they do in Russia.”
–Georgian cabinet minister Temuri Iakobashvili, to the Wall Street Journal, on the Russian invasion of his country
Georgia is coming back stronger and better than ever following Russia’s wanton invasion against it. Russia failed to achieve regime change, failed to obtain international recognition, and was condemned for egregious violations of international law by both the European Union and the United Nations. World leaders rushed to the side of besieged Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, snubbing Russia openly, and only weeks ago the U.S. Secretary of State referred openly to Russian “occupation” of South Ossetia (an artificial state created by Stalin) and Abkhazia (a state that received absolutely no hint of Georgian fire before it was brazenly invaded by Russian forces). Even more recently, a report on terrorism praised Georgia and infuriated the Russians. Russia is reminded of its total diplomatic failure in Georgia, in other words, on a daily basis. And the heinous Russian aggression has even driven a wedge between Russia and its Slavic little brother, Belarus.
And that’s only the beginning of Russia’s troubles in the region.
The world not only now sees Russia as a cowardly bully, but Russia is foist with responsibility for creating a permanent military garrison and welfare state in Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has created a legion of refugees, appalling the planet, and it will not be able to deliver goods and services to the general population of Ossetia, which will soon be chafing under the poverty and servitude imposed by Russian occupation. Meanwhile, Georgia’s economy is roaring with potential and growth and Georgians are standing rock-solid behind their government.
Writing in the WSJ, reporter Melik Kalyan (who has seen Georgia up close and personal for years) writes: “This mini-Iron Curtain, like the one that descended over Europe in the aftermath of World War II, will also be swept away. Yes, it will take time. But artificial zones dependent on Moscow’s subsidies are black holes. No competitive legitimate business flourishes there—only corruption, smuggling, gambling, alcoholism and weapons training. Meanwhile, the World Bank rates Georgia as the 11th easiest country on Earth in which to do business.”
That says it all. Huge amounts of Russian resources are going to be misdirected towards Ossetia and Abkhazia, and utterly wasted. Meanwhile, Russians will languish in greater and greater poverty, just as in Soviet times, and free Georgia will slowly assimilate into the West, finding greater and greater prosperity and freedom there.
Putin’s policy in Georgia has been an abysmal failure, just as has been his policy in the wider Caucasus. Terrorism is out of control, Ramzan Kadyrov is out of control, and Islamic insurgency is taking firm roots. Russia, in fact, is becoming an Islamic country, leaving the Slavic Russians at the roadside with their begging bowls. The appalling cost of Putin’s Caucasus adventure is becoming clearer by the day, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.