August 15, 2008
The Heritage Foundation
Russia has not only invaded its small neighbor to the South, Georgia, threatening its independence and sovereignty, it has also bombed the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which is the only means of exporting Central Asian energy. And this isn't its only move. Russia has been working for some time, building partnerships and acting strategically, to redistribute global power.
By positioning itself to control major energy pipelines, and proving that it has no problem actively threatening sovereign, democratic nations, Russia provides evidence of its throwback to Soviet-style spheres of influence and threats to stability worldwide.
Recent Research from the Heritage Foundaton
Why Georgia Matters:
Details on the current state of Russia's invasion of Georgia are still hard to verify at this point. The last 12 hours have seen news of both a claim by Russia that it has stopped the violence, but also many reports that Russian forces continue to push deep into Georgia - looting, burning and killing innocent Georgians along the way. What is becoming more and more clear, however, is that this Russian invasion had been planned for some time and that the scope of its objectives extends well beyond the disputed South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions.
The Russian Military: Modernization and the Future:
Heritage held an event on the Russian Military, featuring top Russian officials and experts, in April 2008. View the details and watch the event at the above link.
"Russia's massive use of force against its small neighbor remains appalling and deeply troubling..." Heritage expert Ariel Cohen discusses the wide-ranging consequences of Russia's advance on Georgia, from the threat to Georgian sovereignty and even existence as an independent state, the threat to strategic energy pipelines, the prevention of Georgia teaming up with Western allies in areas such as membership in NATO, and the increasing Russian sphere of influence in the Caucasus.
The War in Georgia is a War for the West:
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili writes from Tbilisi, Georgia, as Russian tanks and soldiers invade his country. His oped was published in the Wall Street Journal, and is a cry at the injustice of Russian actions.
U.S., allies keep up pressure on Russia to end attacks in Georgia:
At a UN Security Council emergency session on Sunday, the Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin stated, "sometimes there are occasions when, and we know from history, there are different leaders who come to power either democratically or semi-democratically...and they become on obstacle," as quoted in this LA Times story.
Morning Bell: The Russian Threat to Peace:
"Despite the withdrawal of Georgian troops from the disputed South Ossetia territory and Georgia's offer for a cease fire, Russian tanks are closing in on the central Georgian city of Gori, Russia has bombed Georgia's capitol Tblisi, and Russian paratroopers in the disputed Abkhazia region have crossed over into undisputed Georgian territory..."
The Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World:
"Russia is engaged in a classic combined arms operation. The Black Sea Fleet is blockading Georgia from the sea and likely preparing a landing, while Russian ballistic missiles and its air force are attacking Georgian military bases and cities. At the time of this writing, it looks as if Russian troops will not stop at the South Ossetian-Georgian border but may press their advantage further."
The Russia-Venezuela Axis: Using Energy for Geopolitical Advantage:
Of late, Russia has been deepening partnerships with leaders of the likes of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. As Heritage experts Ariel Cohen and Ray Walser write, "A Russian-Venezuelan axis is a 21st-century throwback to the Cold War Soviet-Cuban alliance. Such a partnership bodes ill for energy security, for freedom in both nations, and for the Western Hemisphere." Russia's threatening actions didn't begin with its attack on Georgia; it has been making moves to redistribute global power for some time now.