Azerbaijan is taking its turn as the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and is attempting to put its own stamp on the body’s policy and pronouncements.
Within five years, Russia’s power — military and economic — will have no real check from the West.
What we are seeing today is a slow unwinding of the wildest aspirations of the European dream, of permanent peace on the Great European Plain, of brotherhood forged of ties of trade and culture and shared progress, hardened by weariness of war and conflict. Europe had its moment to seize those dreams, and failed.
Reports from Ukraine’s security services that known fighting elements from Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region have been active in Eastern Ukraine are a sign of several, related, ominous developments.
Over the course of the last ten days, Margvelashvili has made the circuit of every major Western wire service, extolling the virtues of the West and reassuring Russia that everything will be just fine.
The last year has shown that Putin perceives that his strengths are paired with Western weaknesses; if the West is to seriously contest with him, it must become serious.
Putin only cares about controlling vassal states from a large enough territory and population to maintain that control, as every Russian Empire has ever done.
While all eyes are on Ukraine as we write this, there are other glimmers of hope in the former Soviet Union: Azerbaijan, Moldova, even Georgia, all have a chance to break loose to the West. (Ukraine’s fate is uncertain for now.)
In any democracy worth its name, these men would be behind bars for using force to get them what democratic elections did not. Because they have powerful international backers, they are not.
The combination of growing Georgian cynicism, Russian and Russian-derived money, growing Russian assertiveness, and European incompetence is undoing the nascent Eastern Partnership faster than European leaders realize.