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The Daily Vertical: Georgia Provokes Russia, Again (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So it appears that Moscow is very concerned about the militarization of Georgia.

Speaking to Interfax earlier this week, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said the Kremlin is keeping a very close eye on things like Georgia's recent acquisition of Javelin antitank missiles, a French air-defense system, and a U.S.-funded Defense Readiness Program.

OK, so let's back up a bit here.

The country with the fourth-largest defense budget, the fifth-largest standing army, and the largest nuclear arsenal in the world is concerned about the so-called militarization of a small country with a population of less than 4 million people.

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The country that invaded Georgia in 2008 and continues to occupy -- and, oh by the way, militarize -- 20 percent of its territory is now worried about Georgia's acquisition of defensive military capabilities.

The country that has been meddling in Georgia's affairs and seeking to destabilize it for decades is taking issue with Georgia's desire to defend itself.

So is Russia really worried about the militarization of Georgia?

Is Moscow really worried about a military threat from a country with a standing army about 40 times smaller than Russia's?

I sincerely doubt it.

But Karasin's comments are revealing nonetheless.

Because things like acquiring defensive weapons, protecting one's territory, and choosing one's alliances are all things that sovereign states do.

And my guess would be that it isn't Georgia's militarization that Moscow has a problem with -- but rather, Georgia's sovereignty.

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