No Respect For Russia In Its Own Backyard

MOSCOW, Russia -- President Dmitry Medvedev headed to Central Asia last week amid ominous signs for Russia in its own backyard that are testing his leadership, a year after he sent troops to roll back Georgia’s invasion into South Ossetia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and Georgia last month to reiterate U.S. support for the countries’ plans to join NATO. To rub the point in, Ukraine and Georgia used the occasion of Biden’s visit to order the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Days earlier, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov promised U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns that his country would supply gas to Nabucco, a threat to Gazprom’s South Stream.

Medvedev was humiliated by the failure of four CIS presidents to show up for a horse race summit in Moscow in July, where a breakthrough in peace talks on Nagorno-Kharabakh between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan did not materialize.

The sharpest slap in the face came from Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, who instructed his top diplomats to develop closer ties with the West and called the Russia-Belarus union “a failed project.” Lukashenko’s Foreign Ministry issued a bold statement that reaffirmed Belarus’ recognition of Georgia’s sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite Moscow’s persistent prodding that Minsk recognize them as independent states.

Lukashenko continued to stall Medvedev at last week’s Collective Security Treaty Organization summit on agreement to form a rapid-response force, while the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan resisted the opening of a Russian military base near the Fergana Valley.

To add insult to injury, Tajikistan announced it would ban the use of Russian by state agencies and in official documents, while asking Russia to pay commercial rates for its military base there.

These multiplying rebuffs by Russia’s closest neighbors are putting pressure on Medvedev to respond toughly to reassure the Russian people that their country is not being treated like a doormat. Putin never allowed such indignities to go unanswered. The leaders of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia learned that lesson the hard way.

Medvedev needs to walk a fine line between appearing tough domestically and pragmatic globally, but he cannot afford to be perceived as weak as the slights to Russia increase. Neither can he afford to have Putin settle the scores for him.

Source: The Moscow Times

Comments

Not sure how Russia is being treated like a doormat... it's not like it is forced to give up land to build bases on.
Tommy said…
Sure, we get a warm feel good feeling everytime there is a "cooling" of relatins between mother Russia and its previous fellow travellers.... but anytime when the chips are down, the bosses in these past clans run back to the bosom of mother Russia.... ! Just look at the likes of Nursultan and the others ... back to where they feel comfortable.