Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Russia defiant, amid condemnation -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: Now to Russia's bold move on Georgia, that some analysts warn could reignite Cold War
tensions.

Overnight, Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree recognising the independence of
Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The move has rattled financial markets, and raised concerns over the stability of an international
oil and gas transit route.

The US President George W. Bush, has accused Moscow of escalating tensions with the West. But the
Russian leader remains defiant, as Barney Porter reports.

BARNEY PORTER: Russian tanks and troops continue to occupy parts of Georgia, after crushing
Tbilisi's bid to retake South Ossetia.

The first time Moscow has sent troops into another country since the end of the Soviet Union in
1991. And within the breakaway regions, reaction to Moscow's announcement remains divided along
ethnic lines.

RESIDENT (translated): It would be better if Medvedev will take care of his own country. Georgia is
an independent state and these are our territories. I hope the international community will be
involved and all will be decided as the Georgian nation needs.

RESIDENT 2 (translated): I still can't catch my breath, I'm so happy. Thanks to everybody, thank
you mother Russia that supported us. Congratulations on independence day.

BARNEY PORTER: Tensions between Russia and the West had already been raised over the expansion of
the US missile shield into eastern Europe. Most recently through a deal with Poland on Russia's
border.

And Russia's relationship with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) has become increasingly
strained over Georgia, with Russia's top military brass expressing concern over the alliance's
presence in the Black Sea.

Dr Alexey Muraviev is a strategic affairs analyst at Perth's Curtain University of Technology.

He says there's a clear link between President Medvedev's move, and the West's recognition of
independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo earlier this year, despite Russian protests.

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: The Russian have been warning, soon before the recognition of Kosovo by several
western nations were about to happen that, this will set up a precedent, it's not going to be an
isolated case as the United States will trying to present it to, and certainly who is going to be
next in line, well it's going to be Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

BARNEY PORTER: Dr Muraviev has also dismissed Western threats to block Russia's entry to the World
Trade Organisation, or to exclude it from the G8, as rhetoric for domestic consumption.

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: I think the Russians understand that they have more bargaining points, over this
crisis than the West, there are very few options that is available to the United States.

BARNEY PORTER: And of course there are other factors that come into play, the US also needs
Russia's help in stopping the Iranian nuclear program, dismantling North Korea's nuclear arsenal
and of course for many European countries rely on Russia for their energy.

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: Europe has taken a pragmatic stand and you're absolutely right because Europe is
geographically adjacent to Russia and that's what the Europeans are saying to the Americans. You're
thousands of miles away, you're separated by the oceans from this area but we've got to live here.

Energy resources is an important factor, you also mention Iran, we need to consider Russia's view
and position and influence on Northern Korea's position and obviously their current moves to the
assembling of their nuclear program, is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

BARNEY PORTER: So it's likely that this decision will stand?

ALEXEY MURAVIEV: Well I don't think the Russians will back down, they're taken a tough stand, they
understand that there is cost for them to pay, but in their view this decision helps them to first
of all regain international influence and support, it will, it helps them to regain the status or
once again be a major player, not necessarily a super power but certainly a powerful international
centre of influence.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Dr Alexey Muraviev from Curtin University of Technology speaking to Barney
Porter.