South Ossetia, Russia Waive Visa Requirements
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South Ossetian counterpart Murat Dzhioyev recently signed an agreement waving visa requirements for Russian citizens traveling to South Ossetia and for residents of South Ossetia traveling to Russia. Journalist Aleksandr Podrabinek examines the lingering contradiction between the right of national minorities to self determination and the inviolability of international borders enshrined in international law: “Mechanisms to resolve such conflicts exist in countries with resilient traditions of democracy. But in the rest of the world, minorities try to achieve independence by force of arms, and risk becoming easy prey for any stronger neighbor.”
Medvedev Outlines Vague Security Concept
On the eve of the Munich Security Conference, President Dmitri Medvedev said Russia's representatives at the conference will seek to “to create a new framework for work, and in place of confrontational policies and antiquated geopolitical divisions, form a new, cooperative approach.” Analysts are attempting to understand what exactly the Kremlin intends to propose. Aleksandr Konovalov of the Institute for Strategic Evaluations told RFE/RL that decididing what constitutes a security threat could be a challenge.
Kasyanov Calls For Coalition
Former prime minister and leader of the National Democratic Union (RNDS) Mikhail Kasyanov has again called for the creation of a broad democratic coalition before the next national elections. United Citizens Front representative Denis Bilunov told RFE/RL that he is skeptical about Kasyanov’s ability to coordinate such an initiative. Yabloko Party Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin said, “We won’t help politicians who oppose Putin’s regime so as to return to the years of the Yeltsin oligarchy.”