Russian is Unlikely to Recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia Republics Any Time Soon: Western Experts
Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 March / corr. Trend A. Gasimova/ The Russian government is very unlikely to recognize the breakaway Ossetia and Abkhazia republics any time soon, Jeff Mankoff, the European expert said.
"For one, recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia would all but ensure Georgia will join NATO, and second, it would strengthen the hand of separatists in Chechnya - and potentially elsewhere inside the Russian Federation," Jeff Mankoff, a fellow at International Security Studies, Yale University and an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations said to Trend on 24 March.
Russia intends to open its representations in the territories of unrecognized republics of South Osetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria, mentioned by the press-release, provided before the hearings in Russian State Duma's Committee for CIS with regards to 'frozen conflicts' in the post-Soviet territory. In addition, a proposal was made during the meeting with regards to changes in the format of relations with South Osetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria. During the meeting, the Russian side will achieve the participation of the representatives of unrecognized republics in all international organizations and forums, which will deal with their interests. In addition, Russia will achieve the insurance of the rights of Russian citizens living in these territories.
According to Mankoff, because the Duma has only a very peripheral role in foreign policy, the direct effects of its decision to call for negotiations on the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are likely to be limited. The Kremlin has the final say in these matters, and, while it can use the Duma's vote as a means to exert pressure on Tbilisi and its allies in the West (especially over the question of Georgia's potential NATO membership)," the expert said.
According to Zeyno Baran, the American expert, this is not the first time the Russian Duma has come up with initiatives that would damage Russia's international standing, if the Government were to follow them.
"I think they will keep the threat of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the table, but mainly as leverage in negotiations with the West over Kosovo. This is a card they can use once. If they were to now start official negotiations, there will be reactions from the West, which I don't think Russia wants," Zeyno Baran, Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Eurasian Policy, said.