‘Independent’ Abkhazia and South Ossetia face different roads. Abkhazia, more advanced, is determined not to become a Russian dependency, and is looking for foreign investment and the return of Abkhaz exiles abroad.
The latest Military Balance of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies predicts difficulties in the way of Russia’s implementing its plan for the modernisation of the armed forces.
The final result of Ukraine’s presidential election gives no clear picture of where the country may be heading , but options are open to Viktor Yanukovich, with 48.95% of the vote, and to the loser, Yulia Tymoshenko, with 45.47%.
Foreign public relations companies in the service of mud-slinging candidates look set to provide a dirty second round in the Ukrainian presidential election, while prominent runners-up keep their cards up their sleeves, waiting to see who wins.
Ukraine’s presidential election (first round on Sunday 17 January) is still open except for the certain defeat of president Yushchenko. Whoever wins, there is bound to be a disturbed post-election scene, awaiting settlement by yet another, parliamentary, election.
Many people were struck by the absence of a Russian representative when the presidents of five major powers – the US, China, the EU, South Africa and Brazil – signed a non-binding agreement at the UN conference on global warming. Its reasons are complex, but disappointing to conservationists who hoped for a more positive contribution.
The 13th EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev on 4 December was emptied of meaning by Ukraine’s murky politics. With only weeks to go, nobody - in Washington, Moscow or Brussels - cares to gamble on the outcome of next month’s presidential election as incumbent Viktor Yushchenko continues to dig himself into an ever-deeper hole.