I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not all that much. It’s hard to understand what’s going on, who the players are, or what it all means. This article by Michael J. Totten helps straighten those things out with the help of “[r]egional expert, German native, and former European Commission official Patrick Worms, [who] was recently hired by the Georgian government as a media advisor…” and “another regional expert, author and academic Thomas Goltz….” Worms points out the following as a beginning point of the regional conflcts happening in the former Soviet republics.
A key tool that the Soviet Union used to keep its empire together… was pitting ethnic groups against one another. They did this extremely skillfully in the sense that they never generated ethnic wars within their own territory. But when the Soviet Union collapsed it became an essential Russian policy to weaken the states on its periphery by activating the ethnic fuses they planted.
They tried that in a number of countries. They tried it in the Baltic states, but the fuses were defused. Nothing much happened. They tried it in Ukraine. It has not happened yet, but it’s getting hotter. They tried it in Moldova. There it worked, and now we have Transnitria. They tried it in Armenia and Azerbaijan and it went beyond their wildest dreams and we ended up with a massive, massive war. And they tried it in two territories in Georgia, which I’ll talk about in a minute. They didn’t try it in Central Asia because basically all the presidents of the newly independent countries were the former heads of the communist parties and they said we’re still following your line, Kremlin, we haven’t changed very much.
There is reason to be concerned about the implications of what’s going on in Georgia right now across that region, which is one of the largest regions there is.