This is more about punishing Georgia for daring to try to join Nato," says James Nixey, a Russian expert at Chatham House. In April Nato gave Putin the opportunity he was looking for to exact punishment. Bush had been pressing for his friend Saakashvili to be given a timetable for joining the alliance, which would turn one of his dreams into reality. But France and Germany were wary of extending the Nato guarantee to a small, poor country led by a man they considered to be a hot head whose pledge to regain two separatist areas South Ossetia and Abkhazia could lead to war with Russia. The result of the Nato summit in April was a fudge: Georgia got no timetable for joining, just a sort of diplomatic IOU that said: "You will join at some stage but don't ask us to say when. "Putin, a judo black belt who is used to exploiting his opponents' weaknesses, saw Adidas Gazelle Kid
an opening. He all but annexed South Ossetia and Abkhazia, providing Russian passports, administrators and aid to the residents. He stepped up military provocations against the Georgian army, ho.
Putin understands this. "It is often said that Russia is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. But the story of Vladimir Putin is really quite simple. In 1997 he wrote a doctoral thesis Adidas Gazelle Og Black White Suede Mens Trainers
on the need for greater state control over Russia's raw materials; his presidency ended with a campaign of harassment of the oil company BP, seemingly designed to force it to cede control of its Russian joint venture TNK BP to Russian interests. It is tempting to see the Russian actions in Georgia as a continuing campaign Adidas Gazelle Navy Womens
t had gone home, his predecessor now in the lesser role as prime minister was on the line, telling him he had spoken out of turn. Within a couple of days Russia had vetoed the Zimbabwe sanctions resolution at the UN Security Council. Adidas Originals Gazelle Ii Mens Trainers - Green/White David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, called the Russian U turn "incomprehensible". The US ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said it "raises questions about Russia's reliability as a G8 partner". Now the diplomatic world has all its questions answered. Putin is back in charge. The West should be grateful, at least, for knowing who it has to deal with. But why does Russia, which is getting wealthier by the day thanks to high oil prices, want to "invade, occupy and annihilate" as Saakashvili puts it the republic of Georgia?A Russian journalist who has to keep many of his thoughts to himself these days says flexing muscles abroad comes with growing wealth at home. "When a man has bought his first IKEA kitchen and his first German fridge, there is still something lacking in his life. He wants respect, and to see his government cracking a few heads abroad.
against BP. The oil company is 30 per cent owner of a pipeline that crosses Georgian territory on its way to Turkey and Western markets. But despite reports not confirmed of the Russian air force attacking the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan pipeline, this is not an oil war. "In Russia, politics still trumps economics. The Russians have accepted that the pipeline exists.
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