Back in the USSR
Reports that Russia is not exiting Georgia under the terms of a French negotiated ceasefire signal a frosty return to a tense and trying time of stand-offs and confrontation between the West and Russia:
Both houses of Russia's parliament, controlled by Kremlin loyalists, endorsed non-binding resolutions urging President Dmitry Medvedev to recognise the pro-Moscow breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Parliament's resolutions may signal Medvedev himself intends to grant recognition, or simply be a Kremlin bargaining chip.
It's a beautiful bargaining chip for the Russians. This is Russia's Kosovo.
Kosovo had an ethnically separate minority under attack from it's central government wishing to be independent and protected by the West - the West declared war, bombed them into submission, sent in troops and then held a referendum, they voted for independence and most of the West recognised the following declaration of independence. This was all done against Russia's will.
Now all this is reversed, but the logic is just the same for the two "break-away" regions of Georgia. South Ossetia has already had a referendum and now it has had a war and the final step - using the Kosovo example - is independence (under the security and economic guarantee of Russia). So this should be viewed as blatant hypocrisy:
US President George W Bush said he was deeply concerned by the parliamentary votes. He called on Russia's leaders to respect Georgian territorial integrity and not recognize the regions, which broke with Tbilisi after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as independent.
But you recognised the independence of Kosovo in about 2 seconds? Opportunism is working both ways now and the Americans facilitated it via the Kosovan scenario.
I've put up a news bulletin in tubemeke (sidebar) from the Russian official TV mouthpiece of the Kremlin. The general is warning against the NATO naval presence in the Black sea and is making excuses about the troop withdrawal. This bodes poorly for a restitution of the status quo ante.