Ex-Soviet breakaway regions have stepped up their drive for self-rule since Kosovo's declaration of independence on February 17. Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova's Transdnestr, have since asked Russia's parliament, the UN and other organizations to recognize their independence.
The official document recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence was discussed by the State Duma, parliament's lower house, in March and is set to be considered by the Federation Council on April 25.
Vadim Gustov, the head of the Federation Council's Committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, said the house could pass the document, but will not directly recognize ex-Soviet republics' independence.
"If Russia recognizes their independence point-blank, then the mandate for Russian peacekeepers deployed on their territories immediately becomes invalid," Gustov said adding that as soon as the Russian peacekeepers are withdrawn it could lead to armed conflict in the region.
Russia maintains peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both republics broke away from Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Tbilisi accuses Moscow of backing separatism in the region and demands the replacement of the peacekeepers by an international force.
"Moreover, if we [Russia] now recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, then we will be unable to criticize the United States and Europe for their actions regarding to Kosovo," he added.
Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic-Albanian majority, has been formally recognized as a sovereign state by 37 countries including the United States and most European Union members since it proclaimed its independence from Serbia on February 17.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: The Russian Cities With the Best Quality of Life
Infographics: Powerful Ship-Borne Laser System
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.