Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too much going Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine

I've been swamped with work in Ghana and events in Europe and Asia are cascading in ever increasing speed. However, I intend to get to it this weekend and we should be posting from Damascus and Baku shortly (reading this guys?).

First, there is Moldova where the recount confirmed the recent vote and victory for the Communist (sic) party by a hair and protests are likely to continue despite the outrage expressed by President Medvedev who really, really hates color revolutions. I find the offer of passports by Romania to 1 million Moldovans an interesting move - one that Russia uses to then follow up with an invasion to protect its "citizens". How far will Russia go with Moldova? Better - how far will Bucharest go?

Second, there is Georgia where protests are also likely to continue but may be bolstered by actual political alternatives to Saakashvili. Who will it be? What will he or she propose vis a vis Russia and NATO? Russia's dispatch of its entire Black Sea fleet this past week - with landing ships preceding the blue water craft and the rapid buildup in Abkhazia is meant as a threat. But to do what? The NATO exercise scheduled for early May has led to some hysterical statements coming out of Moscow. Perhaps the window of opportunity for Russia is closing a bit. Perhaps not. Saakashvili still needs to go but the opposition needs to have a leader and a plan of which there is absolutely no evidence so far.

Turkey and Armenia are shaking hands and Baku is stamping its foot like a spoiled child. Will the end of April see open borders? How will Russia react? How will Turkey handle the upcoming meetings with the EU regarding gas and oil supplies through Turkey? Is that why Putin and Gazprom are off to Bulgaria? Will Turkey risk Russian retaliation if it makes a deal with Armenia and pushes the Russians out?

Ukraine is, well, Ukraine. Will the IMF advance it the funds it needs to stabilize or continue to require unreasonable actions to reduce the budget deficit? They left Kyiv without saying. Will all the old guard need to die off before Ukrainian politicians serve their country more than themselves? Perhaps.

So...plenty to post about and as soon as I am out of the jungle in the Volta region of Ghana, I will.

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