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Russia and its strategic interests in the Caucasus

Russia and its strategic interests in the Caucasus

Marcelo Rech

The recent conflict between the South Ossetia and the Abkhazia, in the Caucasus, was useful, among other things, to reaffirm the Russian interests in the region and the message to the world was very clear.

Besides, it is necessary to explain that the tensions of August of 2008 are preceded by several events registered in the last 18 years in the region.

Georgia is responsible for a genocide that only wasn´t bigger because of an armistice in 1992 that avoided a slaughter of Ossetians.

In 2005, Mikhail Saakashvili reached the power without hiding his ambitions.

Until August of 2008, Georgia already had a great military potential.

Saakashvili received billions of dollars of the United States, that were employed in the formation of two Georgian armored vehicles and four mechanized brigades, several battalions of field artillery and multiple systems of rockets of artillery, among others.

Counselors and military specialists of the United States, Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, Latvia and Poland, were easily found with the troops of Georgia.

The Georgian president had, thus, the necessary political and military backrest to start the war against the separatist republics.

The exigencies of Russia of calling a emergence meeting of the UN Security Council on August 9 didn´t produce effect.

Equally, the Councils of Europe and of the OSCE ignored the appeals of Moscow to consider the situation in the region.

On the other side, the position of the Kremlin in the conflict Georgia- South Ossetia had practically unanimous approval in Russia.

Even the oppositionists of extreme-Right didn´t dare to adopt position against the severe measures against Georgia until the military intervention in the conflict on South Ossetia’s side.

Result of the military adventure of Saakashvili

The authorities carefully hid of the people the human losses of the Armed Forces of Georgia.

Then, in August of 2008, the information that the Army had lost between three and five thousand members caused a mass desertion.

Almost all the armored vehicles, equipments of engineering, naval engineering and air force of the Georgian Armed Forces were destroyed, the military airports and other military installations went out of operation.

The Army lost almost all the small weapons and ammunitions and military equipments stored in its arsenals.

The United States and the NATO had to recover from the zero the efficiency of combat of the Georgian Army.

Besides, Georgia lost the capacity of restoring all the bonds with Russia in a territory where more than five million ethnic Georgians live.

The two countries broke the straight diplomatic relations, there is no connection of transport, trade and the economical relations are practically null.

This picture affects the economy of Georgia, whose revenues substantially depend on the level of the relations with its neighbor, Russia.

Now, Georgia lives principally from the economical and financial aid of the United States and of Western Europe.

Mikhail Saakashvili imposed still the unilateral break of the communications of data with Russia, situation that persists.

The Russian television, printed media and others aren´t available for the Georgian population. The war of information against Russia continues in the country.

Facing the current scenario, the United States understand that it is better not to stimulate the anti-Russian feeling, but, on the contrary, to use each opportunity to restore the relations with Moscow.

Russia was the first one in recognizing formally the independence of the South Osseia, in spite of the deep dissatisfaction of Washington and of the European capitals.

The country, for the first time in 40 years, has been demonstrating to its foreign partners a new policy, destined to the difficult defense of its strategic interests.

In the events of August of 2008, Russia showed its strength and, as consequence, increased its authority and international influence.

The United States and the NATO had to acknowledge the weight of Moscow in the maintenance of the stability in the Caucasus and, therefore, its strategic interests in the region.

Marcelo Rech is a journalist, editor of the InfoRel, specialist in International Relations, Strategies & Policies of Defense and Terrorism & Counter-insurgency. E-mail: inforel@inforel.org

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