Meanwhile, in the last Russian enclave that Moscow rescued

Five and a half years ago, Russian troops secured “independence” from Georgia for a small mountainous enclave of ethnic Russians called South Ossetia.

The New York Times checked in to see how that is working out. Answer: Not so great.

These days South Ossetia’s economy is entirely dependent on budgetary funds from Russia. Unemployment is high, and so are prices, since goods must now be shuttled in through the tunnel, long and thin like a drinking straw, that cuts through the Caucasus ridge from Russia.

“Its political system is controlled by elites loyal to Moscow, suddenly wealthy enough to drive glossy black cars, though many roads are pitted or unpaved. Dozens of homes damaged in the 2008 war with Georgia have never been repaired. Dina Alborova, who heads a nonprofit organization in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, said her early hopes “all got corrected, step by step.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/19/2014 - 09:35 am.

    Does -anyone-

    think that Putin has any concern for the Ukrainians interests?
    It’s all about Gazprom.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 03/19/2014 - 03:26 pm.

      Ukraine wasn’t stopping the gas from flowing

      Russia doesn’t gain a market or pipeline or much of anything gas related that I can see. What they seem to gain is a sense of pride of still being a major power, of looking tough after their preferred Ukrainian president was overthrown, and of course that naval base they consider vital. Take out the sense of being a reduced power and the naval base, and I doubt they care about Crimea, Russian majority or no.

      What I don’t get is why Ukrainians don’t see that once they get past wounded national pride at having a piece of territory taken, they get a solution to their ongoing problem of being evenly divided of the country’s future. Take out Crimea, and the western-oriented Ukrainians suddenly have a majority. Russian annexation of the Russian enclaves would actually solve a Ukrainian problem. Of course, there might not be any more cheap natural gas subsidized by Russia as a means of maintaining influence.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/20/2014 - 08:33 am.

    Putin’s definition

    of ‘Russian enclaves’ is where more than 5% of the population speaks Russian, which is most of Ukraine. And what Russia gains is sure, cheap routes for it’s gas and oil pipelines to its markets in Western Europe.
    Ukraine would like to increase its trade with the Euro bloc, rather than depending on being a Russian satellite, which has never paid very well.
    The question is whether the bear will stop at the first bite.

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