Thursday, September 11, 2008

Russia's PR Game

The South Ossetians are apparently rather gung-ho about this Russia thing; and for good reason. North Ossetia is in Russia, and many South Ossetians already have Russian passports and speak Russian. They'd love to be reunited with their cultural brethren.

But South Ossetia's President Kokoity jumped the gun on annexation, and said that his country would probably skip independence and go straight for Russian annexation (ala Texas). Now, this is a bit iffy--it would scare the heck out of the West, and convince a lot of skeptics that the Russians instigated the Georgian/Ossetian conflict purely out of a desire to annex Georgian territory.

Putin is smarter than to let Kokoity get away with calling for annexation quite yet (especially when being a puppet satellite with Russian troops is just as good! [ala Poland]). Despite not being a representative for foreign policy in the Russian state, Putin handed Kokoity a speedy verbal slap-down, saying such annexation was not going to happen. It looks like the Russians are now trying to ease the minds of their European brethren--the timing is so quick and the vocabulary so strong that it could have been a planned PR stunt (though this is unlikely).

It also brings light to the question that the Russians were merely being opportunists over the Georgia conflict, rather than conspirators. But their very slow pullout, occupation of breakaway provinces, recognition of independence, and complicity in Ossetian pillaging/killing of Georgians leaves still very little doubt over the opportunism being practiced by the Russians now. But in typical Putin fashion, the PR machine is brilliant.
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