Russian-Georgian Naval Conflict

The Dutch daily Het Parool has word of the current military struggle between Russia and Georgia spreading beyond land conflict (Russian Fleet Sinks Georgian Boat). Quoting Russian press bureaus, who in turn gained their information from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, the paper reports that yesterday (Sunday) two Georgian patrol boats in the Black Sea fired rockets at Russian warships, who returned fire and sunk one of the boats. Spokesmen for the Georgian government were not available for comment.

If true, then this marks a further spread of the conflict beyond being simply a tussle over South Ossetia. That is a problem for Russia; for an excellent appreciation of one aspect of it see this interesting article (in English) from the FT: Georgia unrest poses problems for Sochi 2014. If you liked all the political controversy surrounding the ongoing Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, then get set to see it all happen again in 2014. Indeed, FT correspondent Roger Blitz’ article indicates that the Russians have much further to go in getting Sochi’s infrastructure up to speed for the event, and only six years to get it done. They’ll have to rely at least in part on foreign companies to do it – but will those companies be forthcoming in light of the dark political cloud that could form around these games in light of the Russian-Georgian hostilities?

For added spice, consider that Sochi happens to be located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, less than 50 km away from the Georgian border (although admittedly that part of Georgia is Abkhazia, one of that country’s rebel break-away regions). If the that political cloud materializes, it could be as if that “Darfur” thing people always complain about China’s involvement in was located only 50 km away from Beijing. Plus, as Blitz notes in his article, there have already been two recent “unexplained” explosions in Sochi that together have killed four people.

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