Cultural Revolutions

Moscow on Georgia

Vladimir Putin, at the end of February, was expected by pundits East and West to react sharply to the news of Washington’s plan to send military advisors to Georgia, aiding Tbilisi in its battle with Taliban-connected Chechen insurgents.  The insurgents have long used Georgia’s Pankisi gorge as a rest camp and base for continuing their war for independence, which has morphed into an Islamic jihad against Russia.  

Moscow has insisted for some time that its war in Chechnya was actually part of a struggle against “international terror” and gloated when Washington belatedly acknowledged ties among the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, and some elements among the Chechen insurgents.

Nevertheless, the possibility of U.S. intervention in the Caucasus presented Moscow with the specter of an ever-widening U.S. presence within Russia’s traditional sphere of influence: Not only does Washington appear to be weaning the Central Asian states from economic and military dependence on Moscow, the United States is poised to spread its arc of influence in the former Soviet Union from Central Asia to the Caucasus.  Russian observers were reasonably taken aback, and some speculated that the United States intended to build permanent bases in the region, potentially using them as military/diplomatic tools in the ongoing dispute over dividing up the energy spoils (oil and gas)...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here