Post-Soviet States No Longer Russian Puppets
Reactions to Georgia show self-interest
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2008 1:56 PM CDT
A Georgian woman takes a picture of a Russian convoy driving towards the Abkhazian border in Zugdidi, western Georgia, Friday, Aug. 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
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(Newser) – Former cold warriors can be expected to see the Georgian conflict as signalling a return to simpler East-vs-West geopolitics, writes Bridget Kendall for the BBC. But the reaction of the post-Soviet states shows something very different: Former Soviet client states whose loyalty was assured 20 years ago—including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Belarus—are now looking out for themselves first.

Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have unambiguously backed Georgia out of fear of disrupting the lucrative Baku oil pipeline. Ukraine has sharply criticized the Kremlin in a show of what a good NATO member it would make. And Belarus has freed its political prisoners in what could be a show of Western-minded good faith.