Monday, December 22, 2008

Adding to the Near Abroad?

I sometimes wonder how long Russia's Far East will want to remain part of Russia:

Russia – Riot police clubbed, kicked and detained dozens in the Pacific port of Vladivostok on Sunday in a harsh crackdown on a protest that was one of dozens across Russia by people outraged over an increase in car import tariffs.

With unemployment spiking, prices rising and the ruble sliding, the protests over a seemingly mundane tariff appear to be broadening into a wide expression of public discontent — and beginning to present a genuine challenge to the Kremlin.

One day we might wonder in amazement why Russia expended so much treasure and effort to grab scraps of land from Georgia while letting the vast Far East drift away from neglect and malice.