August 26th marks two years since Russia's recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two republics decided to separate from Georgia after the wars in 1989-1992 and 1992-1993. South Ossetia was declared independent on May 29, 1992. Abkhazia declared independence on November 26, 1994.
In 2006, the two republics recognized each other's independence. Another unrecognized republic - Transdniestria - did the same. However, the first official international recognition of S.Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence took place only in 2008 after the adequate address from the parliaments of the two nations to the Russian administration.
As soon as Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the parliament of Georgia passed a decree about Russia's occupation of the Georgian territories. Afterwards, Tbilisi terminated diplomatic ties with Russia.
Russia's Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin stated that Russia's recognition of the independence of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia was a confirmation of Russia's refusal to annex the two republics.
"The decision is a response to political speculators who claimed that Russia wanted to obtain new territories," Rogozin said.
It is worthy of note that the sides have exchanged embassies, so no one can accuse Moscow of being greedy for land.
The recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia triggered negative reactions in the majority of Western states. The director of the French International Institute for Strategic Studies Pascal Boniface stated that Europe has found itself it its own trap since European states were unanimous in recognizing Kosovo's independence. By and large, the official added, Russia's actions regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia were identical to Europe's actions towards Kosovo.
Moscow has been able to achieve considerable progress in developing dialogue with the two republics during the recent two years. Three other countries - Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru - recognized the independence of the two countries as well.
However, the confrontation between Russia and Georgia still remains a big issue. The diplomatic ties between the two countries have not been restored. As a matter of fact, Russia and Georgia still remain in a state of war with each other. Georgia strongly refuses to conduct any talks with S. Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"Russia's recognition of two Georgian subjects was an irresponsible act of the Russian administration," the director of Georgia's Center for Strategic Research, Irakly Menagarishvili told Pravda.Ru. "It was irresponsible not only towards the international law, but towards their own country. It's sad that Russia did not learn the lessons from the events that happened afterwards. The world took our side and did not recognize those decisions. Russia was practically left all alone, and now it has to build defense for the territories captured in Georgia. Our nation wants peace. I hope that sooner or later we will restore our relations. The problem is that the war in August 2008 was not the war between Putin and Saakashvili. It was a clash of interests of two nations - the Russian and the Georgian ones. The administrations of our countries have to bid farewell to their previous ambitions to reconcile," the expert said.
"The recognition from such a great nation as Russia confirmed the achievements of the Abkhazian people," Abkhazia's Ambassador to Russia Igor Akhba said. "We have been able to sign very important documents including the documents about the joint defense of the state border. The things that Russia did on August 26, 2008 were highly beneficial for the whole region. As for the normalization of the situation, it all depends on the Georgian administration, on its political will. Georgia needs to acknowledge that the Abkhazians and Georgians have equal rights for the national identity," the official said.
"Russia's recognition of the independence of South Ossetia saved our nation from extermination," Inal Pliyev, a South Ossetian scientist of politics said. "For the first time in hundreds of years the South Ossetians obtained an opportunity to live and develop normally. Those, who do not recognize our independence, can not present legal arguments to substantiate their point of view. When we talk to those people, they sooner or later acknowledge our rightness, but say that their uncertainty is based on their fear of the United States.
"As for the normalization of the situation - it is quite possible, but only after the present fascist regime in Tbilisi ends. I'd like to add here that this is what the former President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze said about Saakashvili's regime," the official said.
Read the original in Russian