Nearly a year after Russia intervened to put an end to Georgian military adventurism in South Ossetia the Daily Telegraph is still filling its leaders with condemnation of the Kremlin’s ‘shameful invasion’. It is almost as if the paper does not want to let its readers forget the painfully simplistic editorial line it took when war flared in the Caucasus. It is like a dog leading its owner back to vomit.
Only the most partisan commentators now persist in the illusion that Georgia was blameless last summer. And the Telegraph’s nasty, sneering piece is nothing if not partisan. It lists triumphantly what it perceives to be Russia’s weaknesses, then with jaw dropping condescension claims, ‘we take no pleasure in pointing this out, for the achievements of the Russian people are exceptional: their literature is justifiably renowned and their stubborn heroism was indispensable to the defeat of Hitler’. Those Russkis are a bad lot, but still, soon there’ll be a lot fewer of them and you’ve got to love Tolstoy!
Whisper it softly in the Telegraph office, but the birth rate in Russia is actually recovering, albeit not quickly enough. And more journalists were murdered when Boris Yeltsin was president than during V.V. Putin’s tenure.
Meanwhile Barack Obama has delivered a speech to Russian students at the New Economic School. The US president spoke about state sovereignty as a “cornerstone of international order”. It is a good principle and one which should apply to Serbia as much as it should to Georgia. Perhaps by withdrawing its support for Kosovo Albanian independence, the US could persuade Russia to recognise Georgia’s claim to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, if appropriate arrangements were made to allow a degree of autonomy.
Certainly state sovereignty is not, in any case, a sufficient pretext to advance a hostile military alliance to Russia’s borders by admitting questionable regimes. A much more imaginative approach to ‘security architecture’ in Europe is required. One which does not pointedly omit the continent’s largest nation.