Kosovan independence will have profound repercussions in all of those areas previously suffocated within the embrace of the Soviet Union, writes Akhmed Zakayev, exiled Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
No doubt Belgrade will declare the move invalid. But what of Russia? Vladimir Putin has said it would be “illegal, ill-conceived and immoral” and Sergei Ivanov, first deputy prime minister, warned that recognition of an independent Kosovo by European governments would open a Pandora’s box. But this is a threat wrapped in a dilemma.
Ivanov can only mean that Russia might retaliate against the perceived threat to its western traditional sphere of influence by recognising the right of the peoples of two republics in the Caucuses – Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia – and Transnistria in Moldova, to self-determination. That is, it will effectively annex them.
Yet such a move would of course confirm a precedent for the republic of Chechnya, held back from independence solely by the wars masterminded from Moscow, to have the same right of self-determination. Surely, the international community must be responsible for justice in these matters and ensure principles established are applied fairly and equally to all.