"This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect people's lives,"Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address.
Both houses of Russia's parliament voted unanimously on Monday on a resolution asking the Russian president to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, following requests from the leaders of both breakaway republics.
The move will further worsen Russia's relations with the West, already strained over Moscow's response to Georgia's attack earlier this month to retake South Ossetia.
U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Medvedev against the move on Monday, urging him to respect Georgia's territorial integrity.
Russian officials have said Georgia lost its right to the two regions after launching a military offensive that killed hundreds of people and forced thousands to flee devastated South Ossetia.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: The Royal Path of Russia’s Last Tsar
Infographics: The Origin of Geomagnetic Storms
Cartoons: Dreams of Space
The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.