Moscow’s sharp demarche against the OSCE launched last December and continuing into mid-January was not entirely unexpected. President Putin and his lieutenants in charge of foreign policy had issued a series of critical statements about the Organization, accusing it of applying ‘double standards’ and engaging in ‘intrusive mentorship’. Unlike in many other cases, Russia here followed words with deeds, effectively blocking the adoption of the budget for the OSCE activities in 2005. The key demand is to discontinue the OSCE monitoring of the Georgian-Russian border – and that in itself should be a matter of serious concern.
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