MONDAY AUGUST 25 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Lonely Russia
(2) The Russian Opposition Speaks out on Georgia
(3) Holbrooke on Answering Russia
(4) Beware of Russian Imperialism
(5) SWP on “Russophobia”
(6) Novodvorskaya on the Georgia Madness
(7) Kozlovsky on Solovyev
NOTE: The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened a petition to protest against Russian aggression in Georgia. Please sign!
NOTE: The counter on our new blog here at WordPress has just rolled past the 100,000 milestone, bringing the total number of visitors to La Russophobe since its founding to 380,000. In that time we have published over 10,000 comments and received over half a million page views.
Russia is all alone now (Source: Economist)
For a third time in as many weeks, Russian “president” Dmitry Medvedev has broken his word.
Three times he has told the world that Russian forces would leave Georgian territory in response to the united demand of the entire civilized world, and three times they have ignored his words, including written promises. Now, the New York Timesreports that Russian troops are remaining in control of key ports and roads in Georgia proper and concludes: “Despite the French-brokered cease-fire framework that Russia accepted, it is striving to maintain considerable economic and military pressure on Georgia, a close ally of the United States. The ultimate goal, it seems, is the ouster of its president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is detested by the Russian leadership, and the installation of a government that it considers less hostile.”
Let’s be clear. The expectation of the the outside world is that Russia would leave Georgian territory entirely, restoring the status quo ante from August 6th. But even if Russia somehow claims a need to remain in Abkahzia and Ossetia to protect minorities there, and lied about agreeing to that demand, it is entirely outrageous for Russia to even consider leaving one single soldier in Georgia proper, outside the disputed territories. Yet, that is exactly what Russia is doing, clearly attempting regime change in a U.N. member state whose elected leader has been recognized by the entire civilized world.
The Other Russia translates the following statement of position on the Georgia invasion by the leaders of the National Assembly shadow parliament organization from the pages of Yezhedevny Zhurnal. The document was signed by such noteworthy figures as Garry Kasparov, Oleg Kozlovsky, Lev Ponomarev and Boris Nemstov:
From August 8-13, 2008, an armed conflict took place on the territory of South Ossetia and in various regions of Georgia. [The conflict] led to numerous casualties among the South Ossetian and Georgian populace, including the deaths of peaceful residents and Russian soldiers.
Former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke, on the ground in Tbilisi and writing in the Washington Post, reminds us that we are winning in Georgia and explains how we can proceed to final victory over neo-Soviet Russia:
Given the tremendous damage Russia inflicted on Georgia, it is easy to conclude that Moscow has achieved its objectives. But so far Moscow has failed in its real goal — getting rid of Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s pro-democracy, pro-American president. To be sure, Russia has tightened its control of the separatist enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It shattered the Georgian military, grievously damaged Georgia’s economy and stirred up discord within the Western alliance. For three years, it has tried every conceivable tactic to bring him down — fomenting a domestic uprising, imposing an economic blockade, beefing up its forces in the enclaves and finally a war. Yet Saakashvili is still in power.
Writing in the Brisbane Times Robert Horvath, of Australia’s La Trobe Univerisity, sounds the clarion call of warning on Russian imperialism:
PERHAPS the worst thing about the anti-American left is not its prejudices but its parochialism. Fixated upon the evils of US global hegemony, its publicists turn a blind eye to the imperialism of regimes opposed to that hegemony.
Streetwise Professor on “Russophobia” (SWP has produced lots of great analysis on the Georgai invasion, check out the recent posts in the Russia section of his blog — in particular, his post explaining the chronology of outrageous provocations by Russia that led to the conflict):
The charge of “Russophobia” is hurled around with some abandon, and I have been the target of such accusations on more than one occasion, especially in the hothouse environment of the ongoing Russo-Georgian War. More often than not, this word is used as an ad hominem substitute for reasoned argument, and as such is intellectually lazy and intellectually dishonest, and hence not deserving of a reasoned rejoinder.
Inasmuch as I have been a harsh critic of the Russian government, however, it is legitimate to question the basis for that criticism, and to try to understand the basis for the emotional responses that it engenders.
David McDuff translates heroic neo-Soviet dissident Valeria Novodvorskaya from the virtual pages of Grani.ru:
The fact that we in Russia are being ruled by criminals (Chekists are not just a Camorra but something even worse, because they are zombies who climbed out of the grave of the Soviet Union) is not as frightening as the fact that they are unprofessional losers . The war with Georgia is not only a crime, it’s a mistake. I can’t explain the behaviour of Putin, Medvedev & Co. except by supposing that they have completely lost their marbles. To the question “What are we fighting for?” the answer this time can be: “I’ve left my peasant house and gone to fight in Georgia to get some land back for the Chekists. Farewell my family, farewell my friends! Lubyanka, Lubyanka, my Lubyanka!”