This may change soon, as the Russian parliament is set to meet Aug. 26 to discuss the South Ossetian and Abkhaz recognition requests. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who publicly met with South Ossetian and Abkhaz leaders last week, pledged after the encounter, "Russia will back any decisions about the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia that will be made by the peoples of these republics."Hmmm. A week ago I thought Russia would be smart enough to formally recognize "independence" for the two breakaway regions and be content with de facto control. But I'm not so sure anymore. Western reaction to the Russian invasion has been pretty anemic, and they may now feel there's no reason not to simply annex them and be done with it.
South Ossetian officials say that, following a Russian recognition of their independence from Georgia, they would seek to be incorporated within Russia proper, reuniting with their Ossetian kin living in the Russian republic of North Ossetia just across the border. "We are already citizens of Russia. The 5% who weren't ran away. They made their choice," South Ossetian Vice Premier Taimuraz Chotchiev said Tuesday, standing on the steps of the shell-scarred presidential palace in Tskhinvali.