When Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev formally recognized Georgia’s separatist enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, activists in the Russian autonomous region of Tatarstan reacted quickly. The All-Tatar Civic Center published an appeal for Moscow’s recognition of Tatarstan’s independence. Rashit Akhmetov, editor of Zvezda Povolzhya, an opposition newspaper in Kazan, Tatarstan’s capital, said, “Russia has lost the moral right not to recognize us.”
“In the long term, they could have signed their own death warrant,” said Lawrence Scott Sheets, Caucasus program director for the International Crisis Group, speaking of the decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The developments are touted in a front-page New York Times story Sept. 10. Other Russian regions identified by the Times as likely to seek independence in the wake of the Georgian crisis are Bashkortostan, Adygeya, Karachayevo-Cherkesiya and Kabardino-Balkariya.