Almost seven decades ago last Tuesday, Russian soldiers marched hand in hand through the city of Brest with the army of Nazi Germany. They were celebrating the one-month anniversary of the military pact signed by their two maniacal dictatorial leaders, and contemplating dividing up the world between them. As we look back on that event today, and reflect upon the total failure ultimately met by both regimes, ending in national collapse, we cannot help but draw parallels to the recent atrocity of Russian aggresion in Georgia. Just as little has come of it. Just as surely, it represents the beginning of the end for Russia.
Returning Russian fire with a withering fusilade last week, Georgia’s valiant president Mikheil Saakashvili first launched a devastating op-ed in the Washington Post and followed it up with a transcendant address to the United Nations General Assembly. The man Russia’s “president” and “prime minister” (neither of whom have been ever faced a competive election or critical mainstream media, as Saakashvili does on a daily basis) have called “criminal” fought back with intelligence, civility and facts, and left only smoldering rubble on the Russian side of the field of battle.
In the WaPo Saakashvili expose the Kremlin’s idiotic neo-Soviet lies, roaring:
For years, Russia sought to slander Georgia and my government while also blocking any meaningful negotiations with the separatists. This was part of a campaign to weaken international support for Georgia and lay the groundwork for invasion. As has been reported, Russia began a sharp military buildup this spring in both conflict zones, leading to armed attacks this summer by its proxy militias. Russia then started its land invasion in the early hours of Aug. 7, after days of heavy shelling that killed civilians and Georgian peacekeepers. At the time, Russia announced that 2,100 South Ossetian civilians had been killed by Georgians, thus forcing Moscow’s “humanitarian intervention.” This lie, subsequently debunked by Human Rights Watch (which estimated 44 dead) and others, was an attempt to conceal Moscow’s true motives.
In his speech, he declared:
I come to you as the representative of one of those places, the country of Georgia, a land of fewer than 5 million, that last month was invaded by our neighbor. Despite our small size, the legal, moral, political, and security implications raised by that invasion could not be larger in consequence. Indeed, those issues cut through to the heart of the UN’s founding charter. The principles enshrined in that charter included the inviolability of sovereign borders; the sanctity of human rights; the supremacy of international law; and the global rejection of armed aggression. All of these principles were put to the test by the invasion, and now hang in the balance.
The invasion violated Georgia’s internationally recognized borders. The subsequent recognition of the so-called “independence” of our two regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia challenged our territorial integrity. The ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of our people did violence to the very idea of human rights. This General Assembly, therefore, faces a General Challenge. We are called upon not just to respond to the particular question of one instance of armed aggression in a single place—but to define our attitude toward armed aggression in all places. We are called upon to answer this momentous question: “Will this body stand up for its founding principles, or will it allow them to be crushed under the treads of invading tanks, under the boots of ethnic cleansers, under the immobilizing impact of cyber attacks, and under the pernicious tactics of violent separatism?”
Even without Georgia’s massive broadside in the West, Russia was already staggering under the weight of its monumental failure in Georgia. Saakashvili not only remains in power, he is now to be the recipient of billions of dollars in aid from the West and placed on the fastrack to NATO and EU admission, with Ukraine being treated likewise. Civil war is already being contemplated in Ingushetia, with Ossetia as a precedent. The value of the Russian stock market has fallen by nearly half, and a massive banking crisis is in the offing. Russian inflation is spiraling out of control, the the only nation to side with Russia on Georgia has been the likes of Nicaragua. Even China has repudiated Russia and moved to extend financial support to Georgia. And, in perhaps Russia’s greatest humliation of the Putin years, even Russia’s “little brother” Serbia has refused to recognize Ossetia and Abkhazia.
In short, Saakashvili could not have planned this better. He has defeated Putin’s Russia just as surely as Afghanistan’s Islamic fanatics whipped the USSR, with far less loss of life on his side and exposed both Russia’s naked evil and fundmental weakness to the gaping, horrified eyes of the world into the bargain.
Putin is man of the year? Saakashvili is a man of the milennium!
Agree.. Its all global politics and Putin has no idea where is Russian now :)
Oh, you don’t say? Maybe you’d be interested what Georgia’s Civil Rights Ombudsman had to say about Georgian “democracy” and “critical media”:
Maybe, before touting Georgian “democracy”, that is ranked 104 in a conservative “the Economist”’s Democracy Index (2 places below Russia), you need to check the facts?
LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:
Thanks for confirming that Putin has been defeated by Saakashvili, the subject of this post, which you do by trying to change the subject to “democracy.” As to your claims, you’re the one who needs to check the facts, you mendacious liar.
International observers have declared Georgia’s most recent election free and fair, and they have simlarly approved prior elections. Russia, by contrast, has been condemned around the world for fraud, which has been particularly documented by Russians themselves, as we’ve repeatedly shown here on this bog. It’s last “election” was a total farce in which a former prime minister was forced off the ballot and Russia excluded elections monitors from the country, while Georgia welcomed them.
Moreover, both Ukraine and Georgia have vibrant, dynamic opposition parties and media. Russia has none, and has purged every single opposition deputy from its Duma. Georgia’s rating from the Heritage Foundation for economic freedom is #32 out of 157, Russia’s is an appalling #135. Freedom House routinely scores Georgia much higher than Russia for democracy.
Isn’t it rather bizarre for you to claim that Georgia has repression when this “ombudsman” is free to speak out, and doing so? Can you point to similar statements made by Russia’s “obudsman” about Vladimir Putin? Given that the two countries have identical democracy rankings according to you, that’s clearly appropriate. Can you link us to such statements?
And if you admit that Russia is ranked below Zambia and Uganda, and claim your list is to be credited, doesn’t that mean Russia is a banana republic that must immediately be evicted from the G-8 group, all of which score in the top 40? Georgia, after all, isn’t trying to be a member of the G-8. Do you think at all before you spew out your silly nonsense?
If you cared to read our blog, you’ll see that we’ve reported again and again on scores of Georgia by international evalutors that far exceed Russia. Unlike Russia, Georgia isn’t governed by a proud KGB spy and isn’t invading smaller neighbors in acts of naked conquest.
If America had anticipated a standoff of this nature, Russia wouldn’t have made it to the western slope. We are accostomed to russian proxy wars(ie hiding behind skirts).
Chalk it up to “failure of imagination.”
Your logic is astounding, as usual. I did not change the subject, for the main reason why West declares support for Saakashvili’s Georgia is that it supposed to be “a promising fledgling democracy”, while I am trying to convey, that Georgia is not much better than Russia, if at all.
I don’t claim anything. It is up to you to decide whether conservative American periodical “the Economist” is trustworthy. I was under the impression that it was.
However, I suppose that you barely skipped over my comment without paying attention to details. That kind of editorial sloppiness is evident in hastily googled links, such is the one from caucaz.com, when it was clearly stated there, that the article is the reprint of one from civil.ge (isn’t proper to quote from original source, not one of countless reprints?).
Curiously enough, the original also adds related link to the Human Rights Watch’s unfavourable assesment of civil liberties in Georgia, that was published just a week before the one you’ve quoted.
Are those the parties that got their demonstrations dispersed by riot police using tear gas and rubber bullets (very much reminds of Russia, innit?) and that media, that gets its stations shut down and after reopening they are not allowed to air news or political commentary?
According to Democracy Index, Georgia fairing slightly better in electoral process (by the way, that very same article about Georgian elections that you linked cited many alleged violations) and civil liberties, but its score in political participation (those very same opposition parties) and functioning government is even more dismal than Russia’s.
All in all, what I am trying to say is that Georgia and Russia in great scheme of things are same crap, pictured from different angles.
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seanquixote, your comment makes no sense. Only war that could be somehow linked to post-Soviet Russia as proxy is the Lebanon 2007 conflict. Russo-Georgian war much like an Aphganistan was an American proxy war. Why do I have to explain the obvious?
Pardon, Afghanistan in the previous comment. my bad.
theUg, when did I ever imply a “post-Soviet Russia”? We both know that would be a joke.
I am willing to admit my mistake, however I was being facetious in my first quote.
I apologize for not recognizing contributions to other posters.
Rather, I apologize to all posters that have cited others, and I directed my criticism towards you.
I will pay more attention.