I’m not planning on making this into a long post. In all my previous articles about the 2008 South Ossetia War I have already made my position clear. I don’t perceive Russia as the bad guy in this situation and am wishing for the independence (or even Russian annexation) of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It’s a position I’m not proud of, it’s one that is in direct conflict with my pacifistic liberal nature. Yet, I can’t deny how I feel about the situation and I haven’t.
Today the Russian Federation officially recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A move that will most likely create an even larger gap between Russia and “the West.” Am I sad that it will? I live in the Western world, so perhaps I should — yet I don’t. Should Russia really care about having deep relationships with countries who hold such strong double standards when it comes to conflict, and who hold such bigotry against Russia just because of history?
The citizens of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia want to be closer to Russia — they infinitely hate Georgia. Why the West thinks that would be a great basis for them to remain under Georgian sovereignity, I don’t know, but I do know they have previously accepted hate as basis for independence — when it comes to Kosovo. They have a different ethnicity than Serbians, just like with South Ossetia and Abkhazia; they have had a hostile and bloody past with Serbia, just like South Ossetia and Abkhazia with Georgia; a war eventually turned into independence, just as it’s now going to happen (recognized or not) with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Same (basic) conditions and situations, yet a different approach from the United States and “allies.”
This brings up another issue. Russia now recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and validates their cry for independence. However, as loyal to Serbia, the Russian Federation doesn’t officially recognize Kosovo. This could be a problem if they want to be taken seriously in this diplomatic issue. Not recognizing Kosovo, but unilaterally recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia, shows the existence of double standards in Russian policy. If they want to annex South Ossetia, and merge it with North Ossetia in the future (as by the desire of the South Ossetians), they should recognize Kosovo. When they do, the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia suddenly becomes a bright spot in their foreign policy. They can say, without any doubt, that the West is being hypocritical by allowing Kosovo its independence, but not South Ossetia and Abkhazia, even though they may have more reasons than Kosovo.
For now it remains a hypocrisy from both sides. “The West” recognizes Kosovo, but not South Ossetia and Abkhazia; and Russia vice versa. I’m for the independence of all three countries, and even see the possibility of South Ossetia being part of Russia. Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia (although Abkhazia has more of an economy) have little substance to rely on for independence, and considering almost every citizen of both countries are pro-Russia, why not? If it’s their wish, shouldn’t the West respect it? They respected Kosovo’s wishes and aren’t they saying the South Ossetians and Abkhaz are second-rate world citizens, ranking lower than the Kosovars, if they don’t respect their wishes?