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Russia's case on Georgia territories: Like Kosovo or not?

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Now, much of the world's media is explaining how Kosovo led to Russian tanks in Georgia. This week, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, something that took the West a nine-year process of careful negotiation, minority rights clauses, and statebuilding to do in Kosovo partly because of due diligence over Russian warnings about a "Kosovo precedent."

Russia looking for China's backing

Yet ahead of Thursday Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Tajikistan – where Moscow hopes to get Chinese acceptance of its acts in Georgia – it is trying to portray its intervention in Georgia as moderate and humane, and that of the West in Kosovo as brutal and "inhumane."

"Drawing parallels [between Kosovo and Georgia] is irrelevant," Mr. Lavrov said, "and the difference is evident between Belgrade's policy towards Kosovo and how Saakashvili's regime behaved towards South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"The conflicts were halted in different ways – through the ruthless inhumane bombardment of Belgrade in the case of Kosovo, and without punishing Tbilisi for its attacks on Sukumi [Abkhazia's capital]," he said.

Significantly, Lavrov added that Russia will not recognize Kosovo. In interviews with the Russian press on Tuesday, Sergei Romanenko, a senior scholar at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said this inconsistency is a problem for Russia since, "a 'no' to the independence of Kosovo and a 'yes' to the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia [is a stand] that does not elicit trust" from other powers, in an essay posted on polit.ru.

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