Yesterday Russia recognized the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states—a move that Dmitry Medvedev calls "a heavy decision." Writing in the Financial Times, the Russian president says that independence for the two breakaway regions, which have suffered under Georgia's "vicious war on its minority nations," became inevitable after the "madman" Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the invasion of Tskhinvali.
"Russia had no option but to crush the attack to save lives," writes Medvedev. And the West, ignoring Russia's protests, recognized Kosovo's independence--making it impossible to tell the breakaways "that what was good for the Kosovo Albanians was not good for them." Medvedev insists that he cares for Georgians, "to whom we feel historic friendship and sympathy"—and hopes one day they will "have leaders they deserve."