The brief and vicious war between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia has killed an untold number of people and displaced and traumatised many thousands more; promised a lengthy and abrasive aftermath; postponed even further the prospects of a settlement over this and the region's other territory lost to Georgia's control in the early 1990s, Abkhazia; created new enmities as well as poisoning existing ones; and planted
Russia is confronted by three major opponents – Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia. Apparently, their importance, reputation and might are most matched against the scale of modern Russia’s political ambitions. A country can be judged by the opponents it faces.
The Russian foreign policy boringly runs around in circles: the row with Estonia on the historic past, the squabbles between Moscow and Kyiv over the Crimea and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the confrontation with Georgia because of its breakaway republics etc.
In the early weeks of 2008 virtually all Russian and foreign experts viewed the situation in the world economy favourably.
Lithuania and Latvia have begun a new campaign in the struggle against the consequences of the Soviet occupation of their countries. Last year, Estonia also participated in this battle against everything Soviet when it relocated a monument to Soviet World War II soldiers who had fallen in the war against Nazism -- a move that sparked a storm of protest among Russians in both Estonia and Moscow.
In the latest round, Latvia has announced a decision to halt state support for colleges and universities that teach classes in Russian.
It's amazing how difficult it is to remember the name of the holiday on June 12. First it was called Independence Day in 1991, then, in 1994, it was renamed the Day of the Declaration of the Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, and finally, in 2002, Putin again renamed it Russia Day.
Unlike Russia Day, people seem to remember the Nov. 4 holiday easily, even though it came into being only three years ago -- perhaps because this is the day that neo-fascists hold their marches. The State Duma created this holiday as a substitute for the Nov.
While in America they cannot make their minds about the Democratic presidential candidate, in Russia we have a different agenda - what will be the foreign policy of the newly elected President.