Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chto delat? (What to do)

Here is a quick draft shopping list of possible reactions to the Georgia crisis (I am back properly from holiday next week so sorry if some of this seems out-of-date or ill-informed). I would be interested in all thoughts about priorities, practicalities, desirabilities. Please post comments

1) A "Georgia Solidarity Campaign" to lobby hard for a full troop withdrawal, NATO soldiers in Georgia (see the "Checkpoint Georgia" article by ex-ambassador Donald Maclarin in today's Telegraph). International brigade of volunteers to help Georgia. Visa free travel to EU and US for Georgian (and Ukrainian) passport-holders.

2) Sweden and Finland into NATO ASAP
3) Big counter-attack on information warfare, expose Kremlin lies, inventions, distortions of history. Hit hard on Katyn, Gulag denial, Stalin nostalgia.
4) Sue Chekists everywhere--Strasbourg, Hague, any western court (Can't someone in Spain get Pinochet-style arrest warrant out?) Make them scared to travel.
5) Use separatist arguemnt against Chekists Idel-Ural, Tatarstan, Chechnya
6) Stop talking about "Russia" (except where journalistic convention demands it). These guys aren't Russia. They are criminal gang of bullies, crooks and murderers who have hijacked Russia.
7) Demand Germany and Netherlands pull out of Nord Stream
8) Build up NATO presence in Baltic states (Balts provide the buildings, other NATO countries the people)
9) Constant name and shame of Chekist allies and stooges in Europe. What on earth is Cyprus doing? It should feel the deepest sympathy for Georgia...
10) Attack them financially. Raid Raiffeisen Bank, find out who owns Gunvor, RosUkrEnergo. Make all contact with Chekist-run commercial entitities toxic to professional reputations, careers. Without bankers, auditors, lawyers etc they will find life much more difficult.


Unknown said...

A very visible reaction which would bring the war home to Russian businessmen and middle class would be to substantially change and toughenvisa requirements for Russian citizens to travel to Europe. This is one of the visible changes from the Soviet days in the life of middle-class Russians.

The Russian government has proven its willingness to use visas – against the managers of BP – and passports – granting passports to the citizens of South Ossetia. Let the West strike back with the same weapon.

deBréauté said...

Echoing what the first commenter says, if the UE/US/UK were to revoke the visas of hudreds of oligarchs and, most importantly, their families, thus cutting them off from their gin palaces, country estates, shops, schools etc., the Kremlin would come under pressure to change course form the few people with any real influence.

Dixi said...

1. Boycott European song contest 2009 in Moscow.
2. Cut food supplies from the West to Russia. As especially Sankt Peterburg and Moscow are heavily reliant on food imports from the West, the effects of the boycott would show up as empty shelves quite soon and consequently as accelerating food prices in Russia. This would effectively show that bullying its neighbours hurts Russians as well. That is, Russians cannot be integrated to the West and its consumption markets if its government behaves like the USSR.
3. Actually, the same argument applies to all comsumption goods imports from the West.

Giustino said...

I don't see the Finns being able to integrate with NATO unless Sauli Niinistö is the next president. Current polls show him as a potential favorite, but the election isn't until 2012.

Official neutrality is a central component of Swedish identity. Even if their leadership is actually more pro-Georgia than Berlin is, only a quarter of Swedes support accession.

I think a smart way to safeguard northern Europe would be further defense integration between all the EU countries on the Baltic Sea. That is one common security area. There should be a sort of mini-NATO -- not necessarily including only NATO countries -- developed.

Bea said...

Point 3) is the most effective, but your main point should be put on exposing their ly technics, their manipulations. Katyn' is history, they don't deny the Gulag, they say Russians suffered the most; they say Stalin and some others to blame for the Gulags were no Russians, but Georgians and Jews (the old concept of who belongs to their nation and who doesn't). Stalin is history, too. History is not effective. Expose their recent and present wrongdoings in Chechnya, South Ossetia, Transnistria... Scrutinize so they could not manipulate.
Point 10) also. Point 7) as well.

Simple Russians should'nt be punished. Only those who acted badly should.

Bea said...

... also: prepare a good answer to what does the USA still do in Iraq, how did it dare to invade and why doesn't it leave...

Demiurgius said...

Well, first of all I received the last email with a title as "telegraph, khuiyovich again, radio interviews " It is interesting what terms "khuiyovich" means.

Second, apart from post "traumatic" reaction of how (if at all) to react. Would be nice to see the Georgia blockbuster through a prism of a general strategy of URSS of XXI century. Preparation for Kremlin next moves in Moldova, Ukraine and Baltic states is essential.

Moldova is most likely episode II of "The Empire Strikes Back" Media and Economic Wars. This time Moscow is most likely to play a role of "peace and unity" broker, promoting in fact a Trojan Horse of Transnistria in Moldova politics. The need for a positive image that will balance the current one, vulnerability of Moldova Communist government to the Kremlin influence, dominance of Russian financial groups in the country's business landscape and emerging electoral aglomeration make this possibility almost real due to lost opportunity cots.

Either there are any forces in the West prepared to react until is accomplished fact it is a question. Until most attention is concentrated on the noise of already collapsed "twin tour" second is going to collapse in a matter of 7 months.

Ahasuerus said...

I would say that 9 of the 10 points are worth considering, although some are more practical than others. However, the notion that "These guys aren't Russia. They are [a] criminal gang of bullies, crooks and murderers who have hijacked Russia" seems to be by far too optimistic. A little history, if I may.

1. June 1991. Yeltsin runs in (and easily wins) the first Russian presidential elections on a democratic, anti-communist, and anti-nationalist platform. The Communist candidate receives 17% (!) of the vote and the nationalist candidate receives 6%. After an unsuccessful Communist coup attempt in August 1991, Yeltsin suspends the Communist Party, disbands the USSR (December 1991) and launches market reforms (January 1992).

2. Summer 1992. After a brief honeymoon with the West, the tide begins to turn in the area of foreign policy, although economic reforms will continue for a number of years. Under pressure from nationalists, Yeltsin decides against returning the Kuril Islands to Japan in exchange for a peace treaty. In October, he reads the riot act to Kozyrev, his pro-western foreign minister, who chooses to fall in line instead of resigning.

3. December 1993. Following a tumultuous year of constant confrontations between the Yeltsin government and the Soviet-era parliament -- which leads to a showdown in October -- the largest nationalist party receives more votes than the largest democratic party. Russia strengthens its opposition to the first NATO expansion and increasingly supports the Serbs in the Balkan conflict.

4. 1995. The democratic parties turn against Yeltsin because of the first Chechen war. The party headed by Yegor Gaidar, the first post-Soviet prime minister who launched economic reforms and advocated collaboration with the West in 1992, receives less than 5% of the vote in December. In response, Yeltsin replaces his foreign minister with an old Soviet functionary, Primakov.

5. June 1996. Yeltsin teams up with a nationalist ex-general (Lebed) in order to secure re-election against a resurgent Communist Party. Yeltsin fires Lebed later in the year, but foreign policy continues to drift in the same direction.

6. August-September 1998. After a financial crisis and a drastic currency devaluation, Yeltsin is under pressure to resign. He survives by appointing Primakov as his prime minister.

7. 1999. Early in the year, Russia and NATO come close to restarting the Cold War over the Kosovo issue. In the spring, Yeltsin replaces Primakov with Stepashin, his former security chief. In August, he fires Stepashin and replaces him with Putin, his acting security chief. Putin becomes popular by prosecuting the second Chechen war and acting tough in public. Yeltsin resigns on December 31 and Putin takes over, although the presidential administration and the government remain, for the most part, in the hands of Yeltsin's men.

8. 2000. Putin is elected president in his own right. He quickly launches an attack on independent media and tries to consolidate his power. He is only partially successful and the consolidation period lasts until the end of 2003.

9. 2003. By the middle of the year, Moscow-based media and most of the presidential administration are controlled by Putin, who appoints many ex-KGB men to top positions. After the Khodorkovsky affair, he replaces his Yeltsin era prime mister and chief of staff taking full control of the central government.

10. 2004. Putin wins re-election and changes the law so that he can appoint governors directly, further consolidating his control over the country.

So it's not like the ex-KGB men that Edward writes about came out of nowhere in 2008 -- or in 2003 or even in 2000. The path that took Russia from 1991 to 2008 was as long and as torturous as the one that took Germany from the Weimar Constitution of 1919 to the Enabling Act of 1933 and to the Anschluss and the Sudetenland in 1938.

The average German may have had his misgivings about fighting another major war in the late 1930s, but he applauded Hitler's bloodless restoration of "Greater Germany". The average Russian today probably doesn't want to fight a "hot war" either, but he is similarly supportive of Putin's attempts to restore a "Greater Russia" as long as it seems to be an almost bloodless and cost-less proposition. Or at least as long as the blood is spilled by somebody else and the costs are also borne by somebody else.

Chertiozhnik said...

"Chto" (что) delat' not "shchto", surely? One from the Pedant's Corner.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't treason trials for Gerhard Schroeder and all other European politicians who sold out their countries for Gazprom gold be a good thing too?

So? said...

LOL, someone is gunning for a job at the Washington Pravda.

globus said...

1) What would it do?
2) I suppose no one prevented Sweden and Finland from joining NATO before. Why now? What will it change? Other than giving the Russian feeling of encirclement a more realistic basis.
3) Always worthy, but nothing new.
4) Same.
5) Already done, so what.
6) A very good one. But on the other hand, everyone probably understands that 'Russia' used in this context is a metonymy.
7) Won't happen.
8) Why? Baltics aren't under attack. Also see (2).
9) A very good one.
10) An even better one; I'd love to see that happen.

Finally, I don't think the problem is that clear cut, and that is because of two reasons: (1) The Russians do not want Georgia in NATO - which isn't obviously illegitimate, and (2) Misha appears to be a royal mudak and, despite his daily efforts at creative reformatting of the very recent past, Georgia is far from an innocent party in the current conflict. He lies every bit as much as the Russians and cannot be taken seriously. Iow, what I'm trying to say, the solution of this problem may not be in finding more ways of bashing Russia. I detest their regime, but as far as the current goings on, any regime would do something similar, maybe even more agressively. They won't go for NATO in the Caucasus and no amount of phoney bleating from Saakishvili et al. will change this fact: the Putin mafia are criminals, but not fools. That has to be one of the premisses when dealing with the problem there. I think that, unless the West is ready for another Crimean war, neither Georgia nor Ukraine will be joining NATO any time soon.

Unknown said...

1) Why so they can all migrate to the USA and the EU? Visa restrictions have been imposed on them for a specific reason. If it had not been for the latest events, anybody working in an immigration office would be very dubious about letting them in. (Don't mean to be racist, but a friend of mine was married to a Ukrainian lady and she had a lot of trouble coming to the EU, not to mention the stereotypes underlying in the immigration officer's and generally people's minds)
2)Sweden and Finland have long been up to standard to enter NATO (I thought Sweden was already a member but anyway). The fact they have not is probably due to their own choice. Perhaps it would be best to inform Mr. Lucas they don't have unresolved issues with Norway and Iceland for that matter.
3)Aren't western media already anti-Russia enough? Does that involve talking about the many things Europeans and Americans should be not exceptionally proud of such as Vietnam, slavery and later the KKK, the way colonies were treated, (neo)Nazism, Iraq and its lies ... ? Or do you propose omitting all such minor details?
4) OK, sue them for what and with what evidence? Oh and what actually happened to Pinochet, Mr Lucas?
5) OK, but where is there a movement seeking independence at the moment because it would be a bit lame to be asking for independence for regions when the people are not voicing such a desire (except Chechnya in the past) ? Or is the western media following the Kremlin's orders and hiding these voices? Pray tell me.
6)Well apart from the fact Russians appear supportive of their government, what will that do? Are we expected to believe that a government that has taken little notice of the west until now to do so because of the use of a difference in referents. Hurray, three cheers to the power of semantics!
7)You can't demand anything from Germany and the Netherlands. Countries in the EU (least of all one of the leading ones) have the right to the trade deals they see fit. Do you propose, Mr Lucas, that we impose sanctions on Germany and the Netherlands?
8)The Baltics were already looking for the opportunity. NATO also has some more pressing issues in Afghanistan at the moment. It will also burden the tax payer more.
9)Mr Lucas that is plainly immature. Besides do you wonder why Cyprus has taken the stance it has? Cyprus was left to the mercy of God in 1974 when it was invaded by Turkey, what were the USA doing and has been done until today.НЕЧЕГО! Because Turkey was a staunch ally of the USA. Have you ever in a flash of conscience wondered what the USA has done to the "Chekist allies and stooges in Europe" ?
10) There is too much money involved to do anything of the sort let alone risk retaliation within Russia. Good old capitalist, liberal approach though. After all that's the way business is carried out in the west, isn't it.

Dixi said...


Tell me how large is the amount of money involved preventing the exploitation of proposal 10 on Edward's list? Then tell me if you compare that amount of money to Russian GDP and to the GDP of the entire West (EU, US, Canada etc.) which of these will be more vulnerable for taking action on the Chekist money? Of course, financial sanctions always hurt both sides. But the question here is whether freezing the Chekist bank accounts and assets would hurt MORE the entire West or the Kremlin insiders?

beatroot said...

So, we are on the front foot now in the new cold war? Attack!

Before the West does anything it should grasp the following:

Russia here is not acting from a position of strength but of comparative weakness. It genuinely fears possible further disintegration of its regional influence. The new Kremlin posturing is not a self-confident one.

The West should also realise that they have helped Russia act in “defence of national minorities” and “stop ethnic cleansing” and “humanitarian intervention” - all buzz-words Moscow has been using to justify their militarism in Georgia. All of the above have been on the policy agenda of western governments since the early 1990s. Russia is the West’s parrot.

The west must realise that the more they support interventionist policies the more Russia will feel obliged to use the same methods.

As for your demands: most of them seem merely punitive. Aside from making westerners feel good and noble I don’t see how this will realise what should be the number one priority: - ease the tensions in the region. Regimes in Georgia, and Russia, are unstable and can act impetuously - let’s not give them another excuse to make things worse.

Unknown said...

2) Finland´s president was hidden under the duvets, and now that her excuses for being in silence for so long have come to the public light, she´ll show up in Bryssels for no real avail. Finland made a huge mistake when it invited Russians into this country. Oh, I know, the politicians will say that "they´re not Russians, they´re Finnish descendants..." Rubbish. Let´s find cover under Halonen´s blanket asap.
7)Very, very important step.
9)What´s Cyprus without Greece´s influence? Greece also should face scrutiny.
10)Extremely important step.
11) Eurovision boycott is an excellent idea. Only cowards would show up in Moscow.

Unknown said...

We don't want a Cold War, but let us start one anyway. Let us give support to the hardliners in Moscow by introducing all these 'schemes'! Great idea! Then the Russian people really will see that the West is out to get them, and will support their leasders more.


Unknown said...

1. Russian people do not live in a democracy and did not choose their leaders (according to Edward).
2. Let us punish the Russian people because their government behaves badly (according to Edward).
3. Let us call this an ethical policy.

Doris said...

not food, but consumer products should maybe be held back. also, perhaps the Russian side could see the "benefits" of EU bureaucratic customs lines that stretch 30 km and cause all kinds of costs and trash to the area? On the Russian side...

It is very important to support the confidence of the Russian people and any inclination from them for a democratic movement. Russians should not be made feel like they're cut off and surrounded, this would only prove the Kremlin propaganda true.

As for the propaganda-war, this is only possible if done via -mainly- non-internet transmitters. Internet penetration in Russia is not that huge and the idea is to get the information to as many people as possible.

*sigh* all this plotting sound suspiciously like soviet-style ideology-planting mechanism.

Anton said...

US, EU actions are only doing the opposite, they're rallying the russians around the flag.

Unknown said...

Most important response of all should be: Offer Ukraine a "European Perspective" of EU Membership.

rational-about-russia said...

What I mean is that they are already numerous businesses operating in Russia that are not directly related to the energy sector, such as car factories (e.g. Nissan and Toyota, I believe. Moreover as spending surges at a pace of about 10% annually in Russia (at least up to this year while consumption has been increasing marginally in the west as a rule with the potential of declining) even more businesses will consider opening up there (there was talk of K-Mart, Tescos, not to mention the Ikea shops already opened. These enterprises would be vulnerable, if action was taken against Russian businesses (hence political pressure against sanctions from governments from other countries).
Second, to attack Russian enterprises abroad would also be harmful to western businesses (lobbies).
The point is there is money to be made in transactions with Russia and this I think can override reputation. After all embargoes on far worse regimes (with a broader consensus regarding them) have been broken because there was money to be made.
Unless, of course if Mr Lucas suggests adopting policies similar to those of the Kremlin which would only undermine our own economies and the rule of law in our own countries. And freezing accounts for clearly political reasons on unconvincing economic/ legal grounds is not much different from that.
The GDP of countries is quite irrelevant in this case, Russia's is increasing at a rate of 26% per annum nominally anyway.

Joyce: (I am actually Greek)
Greece and Cyprus are sovereign states that maintain the right to determine their own foreign policy and legitimate trade deals. We have been members of NATO for over half a century, contributed to military operations and peace-keeping from Korea to Afghanistan (far more that any Eastern European country that now expects us to go to war with Russia, essentially,for the sake of their hatred) and over the years we got a military Junta (1967) and colonial political intervention, arms deals with Turkey... So forgive me if the notion of scrutiny from the USA leaves me indifferent. As I said there are reasons for which countries make the choices they do (point 9 response) rightly or wrongly.

Doris said...

btw, your website is hard to access for a few days now. loads forever and jams the computer... are you under *gasp* cyber-attack?

Dixi said...


Yes, we all know Russia’s economy is growing and there is definitely money to be made (and then to be confiscated, eh?). The point is that percentages does not possess purchasing power instead the size of GDP is a much better measure for that. That is, if you start from the bottom (as Russia) you surely can manifest some not so modest growth rates for a while (even though, and especially, given current record high price of crude oil, Russian economic performance during the present high price period have not been quite so impressive lacking actually behind many former Communist countries in Europe, not to mention China and other new economic entrants).

So, still economic sanctions would surely hurt both sides. But, given the huge imbalance in economic capacities between Russia and the industrilized West, economic losses would affect a much smaller fraction of all the Western economies taken together than the Russian economy which is heavily dependent on food and consumer goods imports from the West (I mean you can’t eat oil and, for example, China is no option for an alternative food exporter). Of course, at the end of the day, the question is whether there is political will? But what we are here discussing, as far as I understand, is whether there exist any options for effective economic sanctions in general. I mean, if there wouldn’t then the whole issue of political will would be merely academic.

Finally, I would like to add still one proposal for counter measures the West can take against Russian aggression.

Contribute to economic, political, cultural etc. integration of Georgia and Ukraine with the West with all the disposable means (inter-government cooperation, cooperation between NGOs, trade relationships, economic aid, cultural exchange, student exchange (open up the EU’s Erasmus programme for Georgians and Ukrainians) making sure that EU and NATO memberships remain open for Georgia and Ukraine despite Russia’s intimidation. The point is that while Russia’s choice - once again - seems to be to offer only a stick, the West must stay around to offer a carrot.

Sean Hanley said...

Read in parallel your two posts answer your question very well: there is little very effective immediate reaction available, but some courses of action may have effective term consequences. Your earlier post, for example, seems to suggest that, as old Cold War, in the longer term Putineque authoritarian state capitalism will collapse under it own contradictions, rather like Soviet socialism. That suggests that some form of dogged containment policy is needed. I'm not sure whether I agree with that view necessarily, but thinking in terms of long game 10, 15 or 20 years would clarify where we are.

Anonymous said...

rational (?)-in-russia:
"Greece and Cyprus are sovereign states that maintain the right to determine their own foreign policy and legitimate trade deals."
What does this comment have to do with my previous one??? Oh, you mean that Greece does not meddle with Cyprus internal/external problems? Great news! So, finally, Cyprus and Turkey will be able to put an end to Cyprus´division.

"We have been members of NATO for over half a century, contributed to military operations and peace-keeping from Korea to Afghanistan (far more that any Eastern European country that now expects us to go to war with Russia, essentially,for the sake of their hatred...
I`m sure you DO NOT UNDERSTAND what´s being debate in here, so I´ll explain a few things to you:
1)Finland has never asked Greece to wage war against Russia nor to get involved in the previous ones that happened between the two countries.
2)Whenever Finland needs to defend itself, we have brave people in here who have never been intimidated by our bully neighbor, Russia. When Finland was dragged into wars, it was our BRAVERY that kept the country united.
3)Finland does not need the one thing Greece has plenty to offer, that´s BRAVADO attitude. So, let´s leave Greece immersed in its imaginary threats, let´s leave Greece in peace so the country can deal with the very important dispute about Macedonia´s name, that´s my proposal.
4)Talking about the number of troops Greece has sent abroad, it´s rather interesting to find out that little northern European countries have larger number of troops in Afghanistan (individual number of troops per country compared to each country total population) than mighty Greece has...
5)No matter our troubled past relations with Russia, Finland is a very active commercial partner to Russia, as well as a heavy financial investor. I guess you know that Finland invests in mundane actions in Russia, such funding raw sewage treatment plants in St. Petersburg, as well as water purification ones. One can hardly say Finland is guided by hate towards Russia.

"and over the years we got a military Junta (1967) and colonial political intervention, arms deals with Turkey... So forgive me if the notion of scrutiny from the USA leaves me indifferent."
I never proposed any USA scrutiny. That´s your huge imagination at work. What I do propose is that the EU scrutinizes shady investments made with Russian money and well as money laundry.

rational-about-russia said...


I essentially agree with you and would like to point out two things you mentioned:
1) the need for political will
2) losses for both sides, regardless of who stands to lose more.
It is these two that render the possibility of sanctions rather unlikely and not necessarily effective. It is this I am getting at.


1)I fail to understand the connection between Finland and the biggest part of your -bravery, bravado (pray tell me in which case by the way) related - rant with my comment and will not go into detail discussing the relationships between Greece-Cyprus-Turkey because it is not the topic of this post. I'm also not prepared to discuss these issues with somebody who understands Finland under the term Eastern Europe in a contemporary sense expecting to go to war with Russia and thinks that Greece's biggest problem is Macedonia.
2)I can only say that if Joyce's comment -which I have so tragically misunderstood (remind me is there another comment I commented on about scrutiny that I can't recall)-and your explanation of scrutinizing "shady investments made with Russian money and well as money laundry" have anything to do with one another then there is something missing from the original comment.
If any rational person is supposed to understand what you meant based on Joyce's comment then I'm sorry it's not my imagination at work here.

(P.S. George=Rational about Russia, sorry for the mix up)

Unknown said...

1) What about easy visas to "simple people" Russians who are not blacklisted - so they are less prone to KGB junta's propaganda?
2) Hard to believe the Swedes will ever subscribe to this point, but why not try it?
3) Perhaps the most important as it would weaken the supporters of the KGB junta in the West.
4) The Brits can lead this effort.
5) Part of point 3. Show links of history and today.
6) Part of 3 and what I suggested in 1.
7) A very good point.
8) Is that effective? Better help the Balts protect them from obvious infiltrations in their own Governments...
9) Part of p 3.
10) As important as p 3. Can it be done legally?

Juan Manuel said...

I agree that a zero-tolerance policy should be applied to murky deals by civil servants and Russian businessmen close to the Kremlin.

Obviously, this is not an easy thing to do, since western countries like having Russians investing in real estate and opening bank accounts in their countries.

On the other hand, I think European leaders should avoid using harsh rhetoric against Russia, since, that is precisely what the siloviki want.

harbinger said...

Lucas reminds me of all those authors who spread scare stories about Germany in the early part of the twentieth century. Remember the great German invasion plan? The claim that Germany had a secret army in Britain disguised as restaurant waiters! Read Dr Andrew's book on the history of the British Secret Service and see how similar all this stuff from Lucas is to those authors of a century ago. Of course they got what they wanted - a war against Germany. How many millions of dead will satisfy Lucas in a war against Russia?

tyutchev said...

The disadvantage of "what to do" lists in the present context is that they tend to be backed by the assumption of a rational adversary. But the little guy in the Kremlin who's currently calling the shots is unstable, prone to fits of unmanageable rage,and obsessed by macho ideas of Russian national and ethnic supremacy. These ideas are now quite widespread among the Moscow political elite, and they derive from a half-baked but none the less dangerous "neo-Eurasianist" ideology drawn from sources like Heydrich, Evola, Gregor Strasser (who once called Lenin Russia's "national liberator") and Julius Rosenberg. See, for example:


With leaders like this in charge, the only way forward for concerned neighbours and the international community at large is probably to play the situation by ear and apply restraining measures wherever possible. In purely practical terms, the plan of beefing up NATO, especially in areas of Europe like the Baltic states, is certainly a sensible step. And the freezing of the elite's financial assets held abroad - the PM alone is worth more than 40 billion USD - would also be a reasonable one to take. However, after what Moscow has done in Georgia,the Kremlin's behaviour can't be predicted with any degree of certainty,and the wisest strategy for the West is probably to plan for the very worst that could happen and hope that it doesn't.

Дмитрий Мынзэрарь (Dumitru Minzarari) said...

Perhaps somewhere in the list one should include a Marshall Plan type of initiative for Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, assisting them to address their systemic vulnerabilities caused by a Soviet-rooted regionalism; a deployment of Western peacekeeping forces to Moldova and Georgia, as well as observers to Crimea, attempting to repair the damaged credibility of Western deterrence, which could encourage Russia to think that if one day they roll their tanks over the Estonian borders to "defend the Russian citizens", then NATO and EU will only react with political statements; accelerating a real and effective inclusion of the Georgia and Ukraine (also convince Moldova to join) into the NATO’s Air Situation Data Exchange program... I could think of a few more... maybe To accelerate the membership process for Ukraine and Georgia, because this would have prevented the Caucasus war, contrary to the simplistic arguments so popular in the West - democratic development of the post-Soviet states is hindered because of the external security threats, which create impassable obstacles to any economic and political development initiatives. One has to solve the external security threats problem to move on with a real democratic development, and NATO can play a key role in this process (see the empiric evidence of the success stories in Europe - they all first dealt with foreign security threats, either under U.S. security umbrella, or spared of the Russian political subversion and economic pressures).