A decade of war with Georgia is a reminder of what abut attempts to gather again the broken state.
It’s not about the details of the five-day Russo-Georgian war (August 8-12, 2008). All kinds of materials on the occasion of round date now published a lot, and it’s unlikely I can add some details.
But you can look at these events as one of the most powerful stock aimed at the restoration of our Empire. Restoration activities began long before the five-day war, virtually simultaneously with the collapse of the Soviet Union. 2008 was a rehearsal of 2014, just as 2014 was a continuation and creative development of 2008.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, then recognized by Moscow as independent States, are entirely since in the sphere of Russian military and economic control. Sometimes referred to as “partially recognized States”, but this, of course, politeness. None of which gained independence from former Soviet republics does not recognize them.
However, the bulk of Georgia in 2008, still has not been a strength turned into a vassal state formation. From today it is seen that only the decision taken with great hesitation, and then allowed Russia to avoid the gap with the West, isolation and sanctions.
Georgia collapsed, survived the change of rulers and exists today as a viable country, where dependence from Moscow fundamentally less pre-war. Though stripped down and Georgia is small, it is still twelve times more inhabitants (3.7 million) than in the clipping of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (about 0.3 million).
Much earlier, in the early 1990s, the status, close to the Abkhaz and jugoosetinskogo, was given an armed hand to Transnistria (the number of inhabitants is steadily decreasing, and today hardly reach 0.5 million), but due to the remoteness of the control over them is weaker.
In 2014, this same club became the DNI and LC (for today, probably with three million inhabitants).
Crimea (2.3 million inhabitants, including Sevastopol) was the only case where the expansion of Russia has been issued a formal order, and that is, simplifying slightly, I think the reason for the gap with the United States and Europe. In fact, the divide has become self-sustaining process later, when plans to divide Ukraine according to the linguistic border began to seem accepted. But then they had to turn, as payment for the exercise started to appear clearly excessive, even in the special atmosphere of 2014-2015.
All that is listed here, taken together, is much less than the restoration of the old powers. Almost thirty years of efforts have had a very moderate impact, a radical having quarreled with the former metropolis with half of the former provinces.
However, in parallel with brute force was used what is called soft power. With Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as several small and remote former Soviet republics organized by the economic and political Union (EEU). But he, though disadvantageous to Russia materially in any way is not a repetition of the old powers. Nominal allies are independent in their domestic Affairs (including regime change, as happened in Armenia), and do not help the Russian restorative policy in any major events, especially in law enforcement. Characteristically, they try to avoid a clear recognition of the Crimea part of Russia, confining himself to various ambiguities.
Since the collapse of the old Empire has been more than a generation, and she never recovered. One can be surprised. Because in Russia it is not just nostalgia for the USSR, but to think his dissolution case accidental, occurred as a result of collusion of several attackers (“bisons”). Few have foreseen the explosion of the “Crimean” enthusiasm in the spring of 2014 showed that these feelings alive. While Russia is still clearly stronger than the other former Soviet republics combined. The collapsed tsarist Empire was twice, revived and then radically expanded by the Bolsheviks in 1919 — 1920 and 1940-E. Why so modest result this time?
The main reasons, I think, three.
First, in today’s world Imperial projects across far more rejection than in the era of the world wars. And it’s not just in the attitudes in the West. For example, Iran’s attempt to debit the Eastern Mediterranean created against him a very diverse coalition, including Western and not the Saudis and not particularly Western Turks. And the scale of the international crisis which would follow an attempt to return to the Empire of Ukraine or at least its half, simply can not be predicted.
Secondly, the sovereign of the feelings of the Russians, even at its peak was not accompanied by a mass willingness to give his life for them. The Crimean operation were excited about including because it is presented as past with absolutely no casualties. Enthusiasm for the Donbas operation was much less, because once it became clear that this is a war.
Thirdly, the tops in the power of awareness, and the masses intuitively know that the Empire is very expensive. All of the land, or otherwise brought under control, it is necessary to contain. Whether they are large and populous, it would overwhelm Russian Finance. Expensive and the EAEU, despite his profectionist. And the history with Chechnya, detached single domestic region, shows that to pay for return have not only first blood, and then a lot of money, but also their own dignity.
I say that in case of growth of the internal problems our bosses will again warm up the Imperial passion. It is impossible to exclude anything. Moreover, in Minsk and Astana rulers grow old and possible crises regimes.
But if the same soup reheated over and over again, it loses palatability. The masses in Russia, annoyed by propaganda, tired of constant forcing their victims to material and moving from the offensive type of statehood to the defensive. To return the exaltation of 2008 and 2014 would be difficult, even if you really want. Eternal Empire did not happen. Eternal and Imperial restauraciones too.