Friday, August 8, 2008

The situation in South Ossetia could end with its recognition -- Russian political scientist

Ситуация в Южной Осетии может закончиться её признанием - российский политолог

"I'm not excluding the possibility that as a result of the recent situation, South Ossetia will become and independent state," said Nikolai Silaev, senior fellow at the Center for Caucasian Studies, Moscow Institute of International Relations.

"Judging from information which has been made available by the news media, the Georgian advance has, it would seem, stopped. I don't know what role Russia played in this, because only just now has any kind of statement from the Russian authorities been released," noted the expert.

As for what form the Russian intervention will take, in my opinion, the situation here is such that any decision will be bad. Everyone agrees that no military intervention won't do: I think that the information saying that a column of Russian technical equipment is heading in the direction of Tskhinvali is worth paying attention to, not to say the least about volunteers. It seems to me that it will be very difficult to keep any kind of Russian intervention at the local level. If Georgia is disposed to escalate the conflict, they have more opportunities to do so than Russia,” believes the political scientist.

Besides the question of whether or not the fighting in Tskhinvali will stop, the question will remain what to do next. Russian authorities could grant security guarantees to South Ossetia; however, as today’s events have shown us, these guarantees aren’t enough. These guarantees are enough, maybe, for the preservation of political unity in South Ossetia, but they aren’t enough to provide security for all who live there. And the situation is unstable,” asserts Saliev.

“I’m afraid that there are strategic questions the Russian authorities will have to answer. They’re not talking about the tactical challenges—which forces will intervene, regular units or volunteers, and so on. It’s necessary to know what to do next here,” noted the expert.

“I don’t exclude the possibility that after what’s taken place, that is of course unless Georgia gets its wish, South Ossetia might be recognized as an independent state. But looking at it from another angle, even if this happens, there will still be many problems. The problem of strip farming in Georgian and Ossetian villages will remain. The problem of the considerable Georgian military presence in the conflict zone will remain. The problem of how to protect citizens in the region will remain. The problem of economic provisions will remain—there’s simply nowhere to work there. And recognition in itself won’t solve these problems,” emphasized the expert.

“That’s why, in my opinion, now we have to form our position in a wider context—what to do in general concerning the conflict. Recognition gives little to South Ossetia. Even if the Russian army is present there, can we be assured that Tskhinvali isn’t attacked once more? Armed men will remain, but women, children, and the elderly will be forced to leave? In that case, what’s the point of recognition?” asks Nikolai Silaev.

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