Russian historical sensitivity
Prime Minister Putin quoted at the weekend:
"Russia has played a positive, stabilising role in the Caucasus for centuries, a guarantor of security, cooperation and progress. This is how it was in the past and this is how it is going to be in future. Let there be no doubt about this."
"Positive, stabilising" actions by Russia in the past including having invaded and colonised the place in the 19th century.
Georgia was independent previously for a brief period from 1918-1921. A democratic republic, it elected what was reputed to be the first majority democratic socialist/social democratic government (led by the Menshevik Party who won 81.5% of the vote in the 1919 General Election) in the world. Despite armed Bolshevik uprisings stirred up by Russia, particularly amongst the Ossetian and Abkhazian minorities, Georgia had a multi-party system, granted regional autonomy to Abkhazia, founded a national university, brought in universal public education and carried out land reform. In 1921 the Red Army invaded, overthrow the democratic regime and incorporated Georgia into the Soviet Union - the example of a democratic socialist neighbour being too provocative for the Communists to bear.
How long before Putin starts talking about the "positive, stabilising role" of Russia in the Baltic States, former Soviet Central Asia, or Ukraine? And then will we get to hear about the "positive, stabilising role" Russia played in Central and Eastern Europe from 1945 to 1990?
I cannot see any moral difference between NATO affording membership and collective security against Russian aggression to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, or indeed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and offering it to Georgia, unless we are to accept that some neighbouring states Russia chooses to designate as under its influence are to have less sovereignty and less security than others.
If Georgia had already have been in NATO, the events this week could not have happened because an attack on one member state triggers a collective defence agreement.