The case of Armenian occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and Russian
annexed Crimea have many similarities. Armenia had already taken a precedent
two decades earlier by annexing Nagorno-Karabakh after it received massive
military support and energy subsidies from Russia.
The West has never sought to realistically remove Russian
control over frozen conflicts that have been in place since the early 1990s in
Moldova and Georgia where Russia has controlled Transdniestr in the former and
South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the latter. These regions have been subsidized by
Russia and its Moldovan and Georgian citizens illegally given Russian passports
making it possible for Russia to claim in August 2008 it was intervening in
defense of its citizens in South Ossetia. The same strategy is being used in the Crimea
and Eastern Ukraine with Russian President Putin claiming he is receiving thousands
of requests for Russian intervention.
In 2008, when Georgia attempted to re-take South Ossetia
there was greater EU and to a lesser extent US condemnation of President
Mikheil Saakashvili’s “recklessness” and “provocative action” than criticism of
Russia’s invasion. The EU’s dislike for
Saakashvili was surprising as he had presided over the most successful
Europeanization of the judicial system and the best executed anti-corruption
campaign in Eurasia.