“There have been agreements reached, and there are transit lines now and transit agreements for commercial goods and services in particular that include several countries in the Central Asian states and also Russia,” [Petraeus] said.
That's a great question as Solzhenitsyn wanted an ethnic Russia which occupied Belarus, half the Ukraine and the northern chunk of Kazakhstan. - Sometimes Metternich, Comment #5Response by Stratfor:
Russia — modern, medieval or otherwise — cannot count on natural features to protect it.... That leaves buffers. So long as a country controls territory separating itself from its foes — even if it is territory that is easy for a hostile military to transit — it can bleed out any invasion via attrition and attacks on supply lines. Such buffers, however, contain a poison pill. They have populations not necessarily willing to serve as buffers. Maintaining control of such buffers requires not only a sizable standing military for defense but also a huge internal security and intelligence network to enforce central control. And any institution so key to the state’s survival must be very tightly controlled as well. Establishing and maintaining buffers not only makes Russia seem aggressive to its neighbors but also forces it to conduct purges and terrors against its own institutions in order to maintain the empire. - George Friedman, Stratfor
Russia’s defining characteristic is its indefensibility. Unlike the core of most states that are relatively defensible, core Russia is limited to the region of the medieval Grand Principality of Muscovy. It counts no rivers, oceans, swamps or mountains marking its borders — it relies solely on the relatively inhospitable climate and its forests for defense. Russian history is a chronicle of the agony of surviving invasion after invasion.
Traditionally these invasions have come from two directions. The first is from the steppes — wide open grasslands that connect Russia to Central Asia and beyond — the path that the Mongols used. The second is from the North European Plain, which brought to Russia everything from the Teutonic Knights to the Nazi war machine. -George Friedman, Stratfor
He has a point. Checnya is on the wrong side of the Caucasus Mountains. Russia could hardly expect to project power outside it's borders without stability and control inside them. And control of the regions energy resources has certainly proved to be useful. Brrr. SIM.