Russia has capped off its three recent summits–held in late May with the United States, NATO and the EU–with increased pressures on Georgia. So much for the hopes of any summiteers who expected a change in Moscow’s behavior in “post-Soviet space.” The moves also run counter to the final documents of the three summits, which variously envisage participation by the United States, the EU and potentially the NATO-Russia Council in conflict-resolution and peacekeeping efforts in former Soviet countries.
Moscow’s moves against Georgia, moreover, mainly target Western transit interests in the Caspian-South Caucasus region. In a June 4 message to the international Oil and Gas Conference in Baku, President George W. Bush strongly reaffirmed U.S. support for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Shah Deniz-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline projects–which, like all other transit projects, presuppose a Western-oriented Georgia. Russian pressure seems intent on keeping Georgia out of any Western orbit. The Kremlin is not a direct participant in this campaign, but it should not be considered a politically innocent bystander.