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The Recognition Question

Residents of Tskhinvali celebrate Russia's recognition
Residents of Tskhinvali celebrate Russia's recognition
The next few days will be interesting to see which countries, if any, decide to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Of course, there will be the usual suspects: Cuba, perhaps Syria, maybe even Zimbabwe (check out "The New York Times" piece on this).

Unsurprisingly, most Western countries have firmly pledged to support Georgia's territorial integrity. Which side the CIS states come down on will be crucial, in terms of giving Russia's as-of-now unilateral recognition even a modicum of credibility.

It looks like Russia will have its diplomatic work cut out for it: Ukraine, with NATO aspirations and Crimea, will express support for Georgia's territorial integrity; Azerbaijan and Armenia, because of Nagorno-Karabakh, are likely to keep quiet; and, if Belarus does follow the Kremlin line, that would hardly give Moscow the moral high ground.

That leaves the Central Asian states, which are really the wild card in all this. But, still, even if Russia did exert its diplomatic muscles, such a recognition in the 'stans would have to go through their parliaments -- and they are all on holiday until September. So don't expect a flurry of recognition any time soon.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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