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Putin's Gold-Medal War

LONDON – What does the “Olympics War,” otherwise known as Russia’s invasion of Georgia, really mean? The war itself was, of course, predicable and predicted. Its results are equally clear.

First, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin remains in unambiguous charge in Moscow. He may play a “good cop-bad cop” routine with President Dmitri Medvedev. But the bad cop, Putin, is the real boss.

Second, Putin cannot stand Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who admittedly is not an easy man to like. The Russian thought the Georgian had become too big for his boots. He waited for Saakashvili to go a step too far, and then came down on him and his poor country like a ton of bricks.

Third, Russia has been stirring up trouble in South Ossetia and Abkhazia for years. Moscow wants to keep Georgia weak. It plays the same game in Transdniestria to undermine Moldova. If an outsider had tried similar tactics in Chechnya, the Russians would rightly have howled with rage.