Thursday, December 25, 2008

Be Careful What You Ask For

The latest from South Ossetia, here.

Things are not going smoothly in the Russian protectorate of "South Ossetia."

No one knows exactly what happened to all the glass and other building materials. The same appears to apply to much of the €350 million ($490 million) in Russian reconstruction aid. To be on the safe side, Moscow did send two of its own people to Tskhinvali to serve as prime minister and finance minister. But President Kokoity has declared the budget, filled almost exclusively with Russian funds after the war, a state secret. A former security advisor accuses Kokoity of having surrounded himself with confidants from the Russian regions of Samara and Ulyanovsk and of conducting money-laundering operations with dubious companies....Kokoity governs his territory like a mafia boss. Critics are threatened with deportation by his security staff, while family members are awarded positions in the administration. Kokoity made his brother Robert, a feared gangster in Tskhinvali, ambassador in sunny Abkhazia on the Black Sea.


Many in Moscow are realizing that Russia went to war over a region that is not only insignificant, but also has a leadership every bit as unpredictable as Saakashvili.

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