It’s already been noted elsewhere that Moscow’s bogus drug charges against Circassian activists such as Martin Kochesoko are most likely attempts to provoke a violent reaction from the Circassians, which would “justify” a Russian military response.
I’m actually somewhat surprised with the apparent threat that Moscow perceives from the Circassians. When I wrote my article, “The Circassian Factor in Russian-Middle East Relations” I wondered if I was overstating the effect the Syrian Circassians are having on Moscow and the growing repatriation movement. But these completely unprovoked attacks on Circassian activists do seem to confirm my suspicions (although planting drugs on activists throughout the Caucasus seems to be the modus operandi of Russian security forces these days, so there’s that).
This brings us to the whole Georgian fiasco. Why would the Georgian Dream Party allow one of the engineers of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 to speak as a guest in Parliament while Russia still occupies part of the country and the memories of bombing close to Tbilisi and the forced migration of Georgians in South Ossetia are still fresh in everyone’s memory? For me, Putin’s outrageous statements about Georgian hatred of Russians and his cancellation of flight to Tbilisi answers the question. The entire episode in Parliament was a provocation to allow Putin to make his ridiculous statements (any nation that complains that the people of a nation whose territory they illegally seized and still hold really pushes the limits of credibility) and to take the financially masochistic step of cancelling flights to Tbilisi. As with the Circassian activist issue, one very plausible explanation is that Russia is attempting to provoke a more extreme reaction from the Georgians.
This in turn could be explained by the recent efforts of Ramzan Kadyrov to expand the borders of Chechnya. Ingushetia was first, and now parts of Dagestan seem to be a target. So it makes me wonder if Pankisi Gorge, home of the Kists, a Nakh people related to the Chechens, might be next on the list. The fabricated “animosity” of Georgians towards Russia could be a fine pretext for an invasion to “protect” the Kists.
For those who read Russian, this is an interesting piece that addresses other aspects of Russian colonialism in the South Caucasus: