Staunton, September 17 – Russia can annex South Ossetia without worrying about the reaction of the West, Yana Amelina says, but it must do so in the near future or both Russia and South Ossetia will face “quite dangerous geopolitical explosions” in the Caucasus given the reordering of power relations in that region.
Amelina, a senior researcher at the influential Russian Institute for Strategic Studies and longtime advocate of the annexation of South Ossetia, told Ossetian Radio that both Russians and Ossetians would benefit and thus “the sooner South Ossetia is reunited with Russia, the better.”
She said that most Ossetians have long wanted this and that “now many Ossetian politicians and activists in North and South Ossetia, including those who earlier supported the development and strengthening of independence consider that a suitable moment [for re-unification] has come and that the issue must be resolved.”
Amelina argued as she has often over the past several years that the Ossetians would benefit because their “divided” people would be reunited, their security issues would finally and completely be addressed, and they would see their economy boom because of its inclusion in the larger Russian market.
At the same time, she said, Russians now would welcome such a move. “After the return of Crimea,” she said, questions like “’but what will the West say’” have lost their importance. “The patriotic wave which has swept over all of Russia with the Crimean events clearly testifies that the inclusion of the Republic of South Ossetia would be received in a positive way.”
But Amelina warned that there is only a narrow window of opportunity for Russia to act. “If reunification does not take place in the foreseeable future, then South Ossetia will encounter sufficiently dangerous geopolitical challenges” and those challenges will inevitably affect the Russian Federation as well.
Given that in her words “small states” like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia “objectively do not have the geopolitical, human, material and moral resources needed for full-scale development,” it is “obvious” that outside powers are going to play an increasing role there. Russia must take the lead, she says, and annex South Ossetia.