I think Russia is realizing it may have seriously damaged its prestige in the world, far more than was expected.
Russia’s Medvedev looks east for support on Georgia | Reuters Medvedev is going to need to look elsewhere as none of the Central Asian nations nor China are going to come out in open and loud support of Russia’s invasion of Georgia nor are they likely to accept Russia’s claim of “protecting” Russians. None of them want to give ethnic and religious minorities in their nations further justification and support for their demands for independence. This is especially so in China, which faces growing demands and threats from ethnic groups disenfranchised by the Communist government there (i.e. Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols, Koreans, et. al.). Add to this a long standing dispute between China and Russia over territory and you can pretty much forget any support on China given Russia today threatening another nation, Moldova, over supposedly ethnic Russian regions.
U.S. assessing possible military aid to Georgia | Reuters Whatever hopes Russia had for blunting NATO expansion and integration into the EU and West of former Soviet satellites appears to have hastened the process rather than retard it.
And a scenario I briefly noted in a previous blog entry appears to have risen it’s head in Russia, like to the consternation of Moscow: Kremlin recognition risks domino effect at home | Reuters Russia may militarily control a number of regions but groups like Chechnya have resorted to terrorism and guerrilla warfare style fighting precisely because they know they can’t defeat Russian military forces in a head to head battle. So naturally Chechnya, Igushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia (who want to unite North and South Ossetia into Iryston, even if only theoretically), and many others have started to demand their independence as well. Russia may very have well opened a Pandora’s box in their own backyard that they cannot close without continued bloody crackdowns and suppression.
Of course Russia is playing the “victim” card: Известия.Ру: В Крыму выявляют “пятую колонну” (Trans. “Fifth column” revealed in the Crimea) Basically the article goes on to hint at threatening Ukraine while also trying to make it seem as if Ukrainians were just misguided Russians, implies Estonia supports Russia despite planning to send troops to protect Georgia, that there’s an international conspiracy led by Great Britain, the USA, Germany and France to punish Russia’s actions. Of course the article also implies all these world leaders and international institutions are wrong and Russia is right. Perhaps more telling is implying Ukraine was Russian anyway, the same justification used to invade Georgian territory.