Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moldova, Transnistria, Chisinau, Tiraspol....Say them again, three times, fast...

Familiar with Transnistria?  Don't worry, you probably will be's another of those wonderful (former) Russian playgrounds that they're having such fun with these days.  Ah, Vlad, remember how good it was to forment revolutions, stir up ethnic dissent, smuggle weapons, forge currency, write propaganda, and even get in a murder or two?  No problem......come to Transnistria, on the grey banks of the Dnester.  It's just like the old days!
by Corey Flintoff - NPR

It may sound like one of those fictional Eastern European countries, Ruritania or Graustark, but it's a real place, part of Moldova, sandwiched along the border with Ukraine. It doesn't quite reach the Black Sea but mostly follows the eastern shore of one the region's great rivers, the Dnester.  European officials are worried that Russia could use other frozen ethnic conflicts to put pressure on Moldova and Ukraine.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner noted that Russia could use areas such as Transnistria in Moldova to create tension and counter efforts to bring those countries into NATO and the EU.

Life Slowly Returns To Normal In Georgian Port
A visit to the Georgian port of Poti, still under effective Russian control in the wake of this month's conflict, finds there are still some Russian soldiers inside the town — Georgia's largest Black Sea port. Many checkpoints dot the outskirts, but the town is beginning to return to normal.

Russia stands by Georgia actions
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said his decision to recognise Georgia's breakaway regions as independent is irrevocable.

Unfortunately, the French and Germans are not speaking up for sanctions against Russia. 

"French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told the BBC that Paris did not support sanctions but the views of all EU members would have to be taken into account.

"The situation is very difficult and... we must be firm on our position in offering a line defending, of course, territorial integrity of Georgia," he said.........

Germany's foreign minister ( Mr Steinmeier)said that "the dangerous spiral of violence [over Georgia] must be stopped"..... "We need a strong and sensible European role to allow a return to reason and responsibility," he said.

Speaking earlier in the week, Mr Steinmeier rejected the idea of sanctions, saying "someone should first tell me what a sanction against Russia could be".

"Particularly in such a serious political situation, it is necessary to show a bit of common sense," he said.

"We will continue to have Russia as our neighbour also beyond the current day, and it is in our own interest to return to a normal relationship."

The UK's Prime Minister, however, showed some backbone.....

Mr Brown said both the EU and Nato should review their ties with Russia

"When Russia has a grievance over an issue such as South Ossetia, it should act multilaterally by consent rather than unilaterally by force," he said.

"My message to Russia is simple: If you want to be welcome at the top table of organisations such as the G8, OECD and WTO, you must accept that with rights come responsibilities."

How odd.........

Kremlin critic shot in Ingushetia
The owner of an internet site critical of the Russian authorities in the volatile region of Ingushetia has been shot dead in police custody.

Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the site, was a vocal critic of the region's administration.

The Russian prosecutor's office said an investigation into the death had been launched....... (Now move along citizen, there's nothing to see here.....)


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