Special Extra — EDITORIAL: The Facts on Georgia

EDITORIAL

The Facts on Georgia

As the propaganda spewing out of the Kremlin reaches a feverish pitch, we take a moment to remind our readers of the basic facts concerning Russia’s barbaric actions in recent days and the recent history that lies behind them.

In August 2007, a Russian attack plane fired a missile into Georgian territory; it didn’t explode, and Georgia recovered the remains.  Russia refused to take responsibility for the act, and the international community did not demand it.  Georgia allowed the incident to pass without military response.

Russian military forces were gathering near Georgia as radical separatist groups in its South Ossetia region were organizing to try to break free of Georgian rule.  In mid April of this year, the Putin regime gave official recognition to various documents issued by the separatists calling for cooperation with Moscow, and the Russian military presence was meant to intimidate the Georgians and prevent them from using force to crush the rebellion.  Again, Georgia declined military force.

A few days later, as the elected government in Tbilisi began agitating internationally against Russia’s activities, a Russian MiG fighter jet flew into Georgian air space and shot down an unmanned Georgian reconnaissance plane.  In May, the government won a resounding vote of confidence in parliamentary elections that were judged free and fair by international observers.  In June, an independent UN investigation confirmed that Russia had committed an act of war against Georgia.  As Georgia began to agitate vigorously for NATO membership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened menacingly:  “We told the Georgians that their desire to join NATO will not help solve the problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; it will lead to renewed bloodshed.”  In January, an overwhelming majority of Georgians had voted to join NATO.  Pavel Felgenhaur of the Jamestown Foundation wrote:

There is no hope in Moscow that any anti-NATO pro-Russian forces may come to power in Tbilisi, and military action in support of separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is being seriously contemplated (see EDM, June 12). The Russian Foreign Ministry has officially announced that Moscow refuses to discuss with Tbilisi the legality of the deployment of additional troops and armaments in Abkhazia, because the troops “prevented a Georgian blitzkrieg” (www.mid.ru, June 17). When substantial talks are essentially stopped while additional troops are deployed, it’s more than just a threat of the use of force.

Two weeks later, NATO was warning Russia of its concerns about a massive troop buildup on Georgia’s borders, which looked for all the world like Russia was preparing to invade.  Georgia still took no military action against Ossetia or Russia. 

In July, ignoring NATO’s concerns, Russia openly began flying attack aircraft through Georgian airspace.  Simultaneously, there was an attempt to assassinate the leading pro-Georgia leader in Ossetia.  Georgia protested and recalled its ambassador from Moscow for consultations, but took no military action.  Vladimir Socor of the Jamestown Foundation wrote:  “Russia has practically ceased to recognize Georgia’s territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders, and is using force to underscore this fact. International organizations are as usual behind the curve in taking note of this development and drawing the conclusions from it.”  An editorial in the Financial Times stated that “the US and the European Union must not accept”  Russia’s belicose actions and concluded: “Moscow is very interested in stopping Georgia developing as a pro-west state – and blocking its bid to join Nato. The west must be equally determined to help Tbilisi follow its chosen course.”

On August 6th Socor reported that “heavily armed proxy troops opened fire on Georgian villages, while the secessionist authorities refused to talk with Tbilisi.”  The attacks escalated. Socor states: “The attacking forces began destroying the transmission antennae of Georgian mobile telephone systems. Arms and paramilitary groups poured in from Russia to South Ossetia through the Russian-controlled Roki tunnel. Russian officials in Georgia claimed that the attacking forces were out of Russia’s control. Officials in Moscow, meanwhile, justified the attacks directly and indirectly by accusing Georgia of aggression.”

This is what happened next, according to Socor:

At 7:00 P.M. local time on August 7, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke live on national television, announcing a unilateral ceasefire and asking the other side also to cease hostilities. In highly conciliatory words, Saakashvili called for talks “in any format”; reaffirmed the long-standing offer of full autonomy for South Ossetia; proposed that Russia should guarantee that solution; offered a general amnesty; and pleaded for international intercession to stop the hostilities (Rustavi-2 TV, August 7).

Following Saakashvili’s address, attacks on Georgian villages intensified. The village of Avnevi was almost completely destroyed, Tamarasheni and Prisi shelled, and the police station in Kurta, seat of the Sanakoyev administration, smashed by artillery fire. Civilians began fleeing the villages.

These attacks forced Tbilisi to take defensive action. By 10:30 P.M. local time on August 7 the Georgians returned fire. During the night, Georgian forces including armored columns began advancing toward Tskhinvali, the secessionist authorities’ administrative center.

In response, Russian forces crossed the Georgian border in strength and attacked the Georgians, driving them out of Ossetia and following them into Georgia proper.  Civilian apartment buildings in the nearby city of Gori were bombed and Russians also bombed the civilian airport outside the national capital of Tbilisi. Russian forces also moved into Abkhazia, another breakaway region of Georgia where no force at all had been used by Georgia, clearingly indicating that Russia was not acting in response to Georgian provocation.  When Georgia asked for a cease fire, the Russians ignored the demand, and they are still prosecuting war in Georgia at this very moment.

These are the facts, and they are well understood by the world’s nations. Not one of them, not a single one, has expressed supprt for Russia’s barbarism.  It is perfectly clear that Russia undertook a persistent series of actions designed to provoke Georgia into defending its territory, and gathered troops anticipating an retaliatory invasion of conquest. Over and over, Georgia declined military action, until Russia’s provocation became so gross and outragous that there was no alternative but to respond. And now all that has in fact occurred. 

President Bush put it this way:  “The Russian government must respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” He said that Russia’s actions were ““unacceptable in the 21st century” and had “substantially damaged Russia’s standing in the world,” as well as harmed relations between Washington and Moscow.

Russia stands alone, covered in blood, inviting another apocalypse.  Twice in the past century Russia’s society has collapsed.  Now, we see the beginnings of yet a third collapse, and perhaps this time a fatal one.  The Kremlin is lying brazenly to its own people about these events, and can do so freely because there is no opposition political party and the Kremlin owns all the TV stations. This is precisely what occurred when Russia crushed the nations of Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War II, including the infamous massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn forest.  Russia also had many reasons then why it was “their fault” and not Russia’s. They were just as empty then as they are now.

Welcome back to the USSR!

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35 responses to “Special Extra — EDITORIAL: The Facts on Georgia

  1. Surely the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Planning has prepared contingency options for any Russian moves into its ex-satellites, the “near abroad.”

    NATO and the UN are wasted assets; only the U.S. has wherewithal to deflect Putin’s latest sally. Though numerous high- and low-tech scenarios suggest themselves, combining U.S. arms with local Georgian forces, political will remains in question.

    All too easy to sidestep direct confrontation with the Bear. But sacrificing Caucasian Georgia as Czechoslovakia in 1939 will lead to escalating conflict in short order. How long before tactical nukes become ingredients in this geopolitical stew?

    Since NATO et al. have failed to prevent rampant Russian imperialism, the West must seek a cure, neutralize this tumor before it metastasizes. But how, and at what risk/benefit?
    Perhaps a demonstration of Iranian vulnerability would be in order, a two-birds ploy of sorts.

    Alas, as Bush II’s term winds down and feckless isolationism gains, we suspect that only a radical threat will gain the West’s attention. Let’s hope it doesn’t entail the sudden disruption of a metropolis or two.

  2. If South Ossetians want to secede, why shouldn’t they? Or does that only work when – as in Kosovo – Western interests are served?

  3. Yada, yada yada… It’s all just a bunch of useless words. In case you didn’t realize it, there’s a war on now. Once a situation escalates to the point of violence, such words are useless. From where I sit it looks to me that Russia has achieved a fairly decisive military victory against Saakashvili’s regime.

    Russia did everything in its power to avert this situation, and in the days and weeks prior to this war Russia urged Saakashvili to enter into a binding agreement on the non-use of force to solve regional conflicts. Saakashvili not only refused, but he threatened Russia with “all our war” (his words, not mine) and then he invaded S.Ossetia while Russia’s prime minister was in China (apparently calculating–or miscalculating I should say–that Russia’s government would be paralyzed while Putin was not in Moscow). But those who live by the sword die by it too, as the saying goes.

    Georgian forces have committed atrocities against Russian civilians and peacekeepers. Russia will not be satisfied until they are brought to book. If you don’t like it then the war can just keep going on, until Russia achieves a decisive (and irreversible) military result. But your blabbery words and protests are worse than useless.

    I wrote more about this on my own blog: http://mishasrussiablog.blogspot.com/

  4. I am sorry to say that I beleive the United States will do nothing and I’m ashamed of that. They sent good men to help us in Iraq, we should return the favor in kind. If we don’t stop Russia soon, this will just be the first country and first few hundred thousand they kill.

  5. I would also like to add, where was the useless, incompetent CIA? Yet again they fail to see something obvious happening.

  6. If South Ossetia wants to secede, then Russia need not be involved. The fact that they are involved points to Russia’s desire to re-build its empire.

  7. OK, here we go. Kosovo supposedly is a “precedent” for South Ossetians to secede – from what.

    South Ossetia is run by KGB gangsters, for their own profit.

    And why is Russia involved in South Ossetia anyway, both as a mediator and a “peacekeeper”?

    It seems startlingly odd that a “peacekeeper” is also a mediator.

    It seems even odder that a “peacekeeper” goes in and bombs cities in Georgia, including civilians – under the guise of “peace.”

    Stupid, delusional, craven mad-dog insane crazy Ivan rooskies.

  8. “But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that in the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where there is equal power to enforce it, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must… ”

    -Thucydides, The Melian Dialogue

  9. Here is the speech of President Bush from august 11, 2006.

    For the guy that is posting comments all over the internet about “kosovo”, the war in former Yugoslavia it was a creation of Russia.

    Look who is protecting all the war criminals from Bosnia…

    Russia don’t care about Kosovo, and don’t care about Serbia. They care about their imperialistic agenda, and Kosovo is just a “good reason” to do it.

    Wake up people until it’s not too late.

  10. Rodrigo – this very scenario was pointed out as a possible consequence of our support of Kosovo’s independence bid. The difference is that there is Russian agitation for the two Georgian provinces to secede, whereas Kosovo did so out of their independent interests. The single Caspian Sea pipeline not under Russian control runs through Georgia. This seriously undermines Russia’s ability to act as broker to those who are or will become dependent on this source. That, my friend, is at the heart of this.

  11. If Ossetians would truly want to secede they’d want to secede from Russia as much as from Georgia. Otherwise it’s mere Russian puppetry.

  12. Rodrigo, this isn’t about South Ossetia any more — Georgia has now lost that for good. Russia has moved into Georgian territory proper on two sides of the country and it does not seem likely that they will leave until the Georgian government is removed. So your question is a good one for August 6, but irrelevant today.

  13. Pingback: the voodoo lounge » Blog Archive » Georgia

  14. What? And Georgia has not been busy propagandizing?

    Georgia is essentially a U.S. client state in the Caucasus.

    Don’t talk about propaganda now because that idiot president of theirs completely blew this surprise Olympics offensive.

    I’m not from either country by the way, but it’s pretty clear there’s a lot of anti-Russian going around in the West, which knows when to intervene militarily to get what it wants.

  15. http://www.newkosovareport.com/200808111115/Arianit-Dobruna/Kosovo-is-more-like-Georgia-not-S.-Ossetia.html

    Kosovo is more like Georgia, not S. Ossetia
    By Arianit Dobrouna, New Kosova Report, 11 August 2008

    Lazy journalists, couch geopolitical strategists, and Cold War nostalgists have all been convinced that South Ossetia is like Kosovo. They are all convinced that the similarities are there; the only detail to square off remains which of one of the many combination of similarities has taken place in this case. But if there is any similarity – because connection there is none – between the two conflicts, Kosovo is like Georgia, not S. Ossetia.

    http://www.newkosovareport.com/200808111115/Arianit-Dobruna/Kosovo-is-more-like-Georgia-not-S.-Ossetia.html

  16. Russsia tried to overpower the nations, but now it is not possible to continue its imperialism. Russia is not a power anymore. Russia should not continue to enslave the nations around. America should also be careful. Let Georgia do whatever they can for freedom. Let Ossetia learn what is good for all. The world is sick of wars…

  17. Pingback: A case for Georgia « Urstupidnourstupid’s Weblog

  18. I do not approve of war, but it takes two to tango. The conflict is centuries old, and more often than not international politics (including actions of the United States) create their own monsters. As far as politics of Russian imperialism, now is a good time to do away with the pro-Western regime in Georgia, I think everyone would agree with that.

  19. “If South Ossetians want to secede, why shouldn’t they? Or does that only work when – as in Kosovo – Western interests are served?”

    NO WESTERN INTEREST WAS SERVED BY KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE. Stop trying to use the illogic of another case that is completely different.

    Russia is the malefactor here. Proof? The fact that their tanks are in Georgia itself and they are not using diplomacy to solve this. Aggressors dont attack whole countries like that without planning – and supposedly this was a response to Aug 7th.

    ….

  20. “NO WESTERN INTEREST WAS SERVED BY KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE.”

    What absolute rubbish. Western powers were interested in weakening Russian influence in the region, and recognizing Kosovo has served that purpose well. As for the US/UK complaining about premeditated military aggression against lesser powers: do they not realize how hypocritical this sounds?

    I am no fan of the current Russian regime, but let the people of South Ossetia determine in which nation’s boundaries they wish to be included. Every indication that it is not Georgia. As Ludwig von Mises once wrote, “No people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.”

  21. The fallacy with using Kosovo as an example is that the Serbian military went in and slaughtered thousands of men and boys, made rape camps to impregnate their women and sterilized Albanians with a fury not seen since Stalin. Equivocating S. Ossetia and Abkhazia with Kosovo is an uneducated and ignorant comparison. It also reduces the wholesale slaughter and culture of death the Serbians inflicted to being equal to a small bunch of separatists.

    Add to this, the reality that George Bush and his neo con owners have made it so that the United States is no longer able to claim a moral high ground of any sort. For that matter, our government can’t claim any middle ground or even slightly lower ground when it comes to matters of morality or ethics. It’s really tough for George Bush to talk about peace and cease-fire’s when his hands are soaked in blood.

  22. Roman, Nizhny Novgorod

    shellytumbleson,
    So, razing to the ground Ossetians villages and capital as it has been done by Georgian troops and simply killing people totally (children, women, oldmen) is better?! And it is not a genocide?!

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS: Please top using language like a crude oaf. “Genocide” is not the same as “killing many people.” If it was, then Russia committed “genocide” against Nazi Germany. Genocide means targeting a particular group of people for killing because of who they are, not what they are doing. No intelligent person believes that about Georgia’s action against Ossetia. You are repeating the Kremlin’s propaganda line like an ape, seemingly unaware of how totally it has been rejected by the entire outside world. You make it impossible to take anything you say remotely seriously, just as the Kremlin is doing. You sound like a Soviet goon

  23. Roman, Nizhny Novgorod

    I didn’t mean just “many people”. I hope you should know that it is an old ethnic conflict.
    Russia was fighting with nazies, not with German people as a nation.
    Don’t talk about propaganda – it is enough from both sides. Just try to see the facts.

  24. “…let the people of South Ossetia determine in which nation’s boundaries they wish to be included.”

    Just like Chechnya, right?

  25. “— Russia was fighting with nazies, not with German people as a nation. —”

    Two wrongs NEVER make things right.

    Though Germany (under the Nazi government) genocided millions of people, the Soviets in equal if not greater measure butchered tens of millions of their own.

    And at the conclusion of the war, and for a certain period after the capitulation of Grand Admiral Doenitz’s government, Russian soldiers unleashed a horrifying wave of rapes and murders against German civilians as a sort of a “Victor’s Spoils – Just Retribution” programme.

    The godless Russian governments, both past communist/stalinist regime and the present ultranationalistic/fascist regime under Putin are insidiously wicked, and are full of demonic hatred toward any who stand in its path to imperial conquest.

    To the degree that the Russian people are complicit in “electing” their government, they should repent before the Living and True God with tears and cries for mercy, for the Lord God who shall judge all nations shall avenge the weak and the small with His Divine Wrath.

    This is the reason why the Tsars fell, and after them the Communists, and unless the Putinists also repent, they too shall be thrown down for their hubris.

    And lest anyone accuse me of partiality toward that other great superpower, I”ll say it applies just as well to them too.

  26. Roman, Nizhny Novgorod

    seekeronos
    Again all these stories about “butchered tens of millions” by Stalin :) It seems that goon is you. :)
    ” present ultranationalistic/fascist regime under Putin” – this is all just a propagandistic whithout facts.
    Its funny to read all this rubbish about our goverments and even about Tsars :)
    I see, this is a true “Russofob”. :)
    Just one thing you should remember: If you want to apply your “great superpower” to us (to Russia) don’t wonder then that Russia answers adequately (like to Hitler and nazies in WWII).
    You are not “the Lord God”. ;)

  27. Roman, Nizhny Novgorod

    Scott
    “Just like Chechnya, right?”
    Just like in Kosovo. Ossetia was a one state before Stalin has divided it into two parts – North and South. North Ossetia became a part of Russian Federation and South – a part of Georgia Republic. And when USSR has started disintegration South Ossetia wanted to be an autonomy within Georgia. It was on 10 Nov 1989 and Georgia was not agreed that and the first conflict was started and continued till Jan 1990. Then was the second conflict at Dec 1990 – July 1992 after Georgia had declared South Ossetia autonomy as an administrative unit of Georgia – “Tskhinvali region”. Ossetians is a small nation so Georgia is just trying to clean the South Ossetia territory from Ossetians people.
    After the second conflict Russia becomes a peacekeeper – at 24 June 1992 the peace agreement was signed between South Ossetia and Georgia with Russia participation and mixed peacekeeping forces was created in the zone of conflict. And now Georgia has tryed to clean territory from Ossetians again.

  28. Ossetia was a one state before Stalin has divided it into two parts – North and South.
    Sorry, not. In tzar times, South and North Ossetia were in different gouvernorates: South belonged to Tbilisi (Tiflis), North was ruled from Vladikavkaz. In 1918-21, South Ossetia was within the independent Georgia. Lenin recognised this in Moscow peace treaty which he later broke when found it convenient to devour Georgia. Stalin changed nothing.

  29. Roman, you missed my point entirely. Chechnya said they wanted to be independent. Russia said no freakin’ way, Chechnya tried to fight back, and Russia pounded them into submission. S. Ossetia and Abkhazia decide they want to be independent. Georgia says no way, they fight back, Georgia responds, and Russia decides to pound Georgia into submission (with a huge pre-positioned, well-equipped military force). A cynical person might call that being hypocritical.

    The issue here, of course, is not S. Ossetia and Abkhazia. Anyone who thinks Putin really cares about them is delusional (otherwise, the Russians wouldn’t have unleashed their own massive artillery barrage on S. Ossetia). This is about power and oil, because right now oil brings power. Georgia is a threat to that oil power, so Russia is using the smokescreen of protecting these “breakaway” areas as an opportunity to finally bring Georgia to heel.

  30. Roman, Nizhny Novgorod

    Scott,
    First, there are a lot of differences with Chechya. Russia had made a treaty 31 Aug 1996 with Chechnya after the first conflict. Then in 1999 Chechen bands (military forces of Chechnya) had crossed the board and invaded into Russia (into Dagestan). This was the start of the last conflict. And before it many Russian people were killed or taken as slaves in Chechnya – yes, it is in the XX and XXI centuries!
    “Georgia says no way, they fight back, Georgia responds” – there is no logic. How can they “fight back” (if you mean Ossetia) if they are still on there territory and even some part of this territory is occupied by Georgian troops after first conflicts?
    Georgian troops are not “responded”. They have started massive attack according to preconceived plan. And what do you mean when you write “the Russians wouldn’t have unleashed their own massive artillery barrage on S. Ossetia”? It is Ossetians capital and villages are in ruins, not Georgian. It is the Russians peacekeepers buildings completely razed by direct fire of Georgian tanks.
    BTW, there are a lot of photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29507379@N06/

  31. Pingback: Pajamas Media » Will NATO Abandon Ukraine?

  32. Roman, you are wrong, simply look at the damage

    http://georgiandaily.com/repository/UNOSAT-%20GEO%20-%20Tskhinvali-Damage%208-19-08.pdf

    Villages Tamarasheni, Ergneti and Niqozi are GEORGIAN and they have been completley rased to the ground by Russian military. While the damages to Tskivali have been much less and I can remind you that your army was bombibg Tskinvali for two days via artilery and aviation, before Georgian troops were ordered to fall back.
    Just read the article by Pavel Felgenhauer, widly known Russian military analyst… by http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2008/08/pavel_felgenhauer_on_russias_p.htm

    In any way, you live in a horrible state today and I doubt that you will manage to understand… as well as Germans did not understand were the hell they were living when Hitler was their furer… Putin=Hitler – different names the same actions…

    I know it is hard to belive when you are told by all Russian media that you are the saviors of people and heroes… I say you have criminals in your ogoverment and one day you will have to pay a very very big price. I am NOT a illwisher to Russia on the contrary but this guys Putin/Medvedev/Ivanov/Lavrov have to go and the true democrats(If they still exist in Russia) must prevail or else for Russia.

    You are already in isolation, it could get MUCH worse…

  33. Pingback: What’s wrong with the State Dept? | Think Forward

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