Georgia is now indisputably tilted more toward Moscow than it has ever been. It continues to claim a European future, but its dominant political class is coming to see the value of Moscow not merely as a trading and foreign policy partner, but as a governing model.
Russia has played for the prize of Ukraine — for its 46 millions, for its industry, for its gas pipelines, for its culture and history, for its geopolitical value and its economic potential — to win. Europe has played, when it has bothered to play, not to lose.
The point of the European Union is not to bring European-style parliamentary democracy and regulation heavy free-trade-zones to the Continent. It is to end grinding, vicious, catastrophic wars that leave the Continent a smoking ruin.
While Georgia has gone very far to show its European bona fides, its recent actions speak of a nation not so much hungry for Europe as expecting it.
Each day is a new day. If Europe fails to seize its chances at the end of this month, or if the hurdles before the Eastern Partnership nations are too great, Putin may yet have another chance — the only chance he needs.
Brussels and Washington must do what they have been reluctant to do for years and forthrightly assert their interests in the face of opposition.
Although Rogozin may have been wishing warm holiday tidings, he was more likely reminding Moldova that its natural gas supply comes bearing Gazprom’s seal.
Latvia did not rely on sainted austerity for its recovery. Its economy is still fragile. Its banking sector is a mess waiting to happen. It cannot cut off foreign investment, and yet it must.
Poland is becoming the number one supporter of further European expansion.
The choice for a change is stark, and has been for some time: A Ukraine that is part of Europe, or a Ukraine that is merely a glorified province for Russia.