There's a sobering article in the Akhmetov-owned 'Segodnya' today entitled: "Russia and the West: war at the threshold".
Here are some loosely translated portions:
"After the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, unavoidable conflict awaits the Russian Federation and the West..."
The article predicts two possible consequences:
"The first, a new full-scale confrontation of the West and Russia - indications of which will be Nato's MAP being offered to Georgia and Ukraine, and also exclusion, in one form or another, of Moscow from the G8.
The second could be that the West will swallow the bitter pill and accept that Russia has rights also. Russia may have calculated on the creation of new global security structures with leading roles for Russia, Germany, France and China, when it embarked on it's dangerous game.
"In the event of the final break-up of Russian-Western relations, they will lose everything", said Deputy of the RF Gosduma, Sergey Markov to 'Segodnya', "But the West will lose more because [Russia] will cease to support them on Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan. Therefore I do not believe the West will decide on large scale confrontation," he added. It is not yet clear whether these calculations will be justified.
"As for Russia, Putin and Medvedev have nowhere to step back to - either they will make Russia a powerful and flourishing power, or they will go the way of Milosevic. The posing of this question has already brought down Russia's stock market; local oligarchs, who have placed a substantial part of their wealth in the West, fear they could become the first victims of the new Cold War; simultaneously western investors are withdrawing their assets, frightened by the Russian-Western stand-off. It is possible certainly, to rely on the nuclear shield and billions of petrodollars, but they will not save the situation if corruption, technological backwardness and poverty of [the Russian] population remain at the present level...
As far as the Ukraine is concerned, no matter how things pan out, we should remain on the sidelines during this struggle of titans. Moving closer to either of the sides of this conflict makes us, inevitably, the target for the first strike of the enemy. We risk becoming a "hot" battlefield in the new Cold War with a major threat of division of the country", says 'Segodnya'.