August 29, 2008
It comes as no surprise that China has not supported Russia over its intervention in Georgia or its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. What is surprising is that Moscow either expected a different reaction or does not care. There were no crumbs of comfort for Putin and Medvedev at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Tajikistan this week, as the attitude of the four Central Asian republics was also cool.
This leaves Russia pretty friendless. This is worrying because it makes it hard to understand the logic of the Kremlin’s strategy and ultimate objective. The current Russian leadership, unlike that of China, cares nothing for international opinion, a cause for concern. Russia needs inward investment and, despite its dominant energy position, will suffer without economic integration. Why then has Moscow taken such an extreme position?
Russia probably received private support but not on the issue of secession, a most unwelcome development for China and indeed the other SCO members. Russian newspapers are divided on the extent to which China and the other four states supported Russia in its conflict with Georgia.Author : Stanley Crossick