Friday, August 11, 2006

Russian Imperialism Alive and Well

Sponsored jointly by Russian big business and security services, a network of Greater Russia political and “civic” organizations is sprouting up in Transnistria, advocating the accession to the Russian Federation of this part of Moldova. Recent days have witnessed a wave of founding conferences of these organizations.

In the immediate term, this burst of activity is linked to preparations for the referendum that is scheduled to be held on September 17 by the Russia-installed authorities. A leading question on the ballot is asking voters whether they favor Transnistria’s entry into the Russian Federation. The “referendum” will be followed by a “presidential” election that is expected to return Igor Smirnov for a fourth term in that post. In the short-to-medium term, however, Moscow will use these organizations to provide a semblance of “democratic legitimacy” for Russian control over distant Transnistria in the form of a second Kaliningrad.

Russian looks to bite off a chunk of a smaller country. Border moving is definitely in vogue there in Moscow. How long until the break away regions of Georgia "vote" to be included in Russia? It will be interesting to see if Russia pulls this off. It will be equally interesting to see how the world, especially the EU, reacts to this.

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