EDITORIAL: Condemning Russian Aggression in Georgia

EDITORIAL

Condemning Russian Aggression in Georgia

On January 23rd the Human Rights watch released a 200-page report entitled  “Up in Flames: Humanitarian Law Violations in the Conflict Over South Ossetia.”   Based “on more than 460 interviews done over several months of field research” the report “details indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by both Georgian and Russian forces, and the South Ossetian forces’ campaign of deliberate and systematic destruction of certain ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia. It also describes Russia’s failure to ensure public order and safety in areas of Georgia that were under its effective control.”

The New York Times reported:

Russia and Georgia had opposite reactions to [the] report. Moscow said it was “based on a series of shopworn and baseless theses actively discussed in foreign political and media circles.” Tbilisi called it “an objective and thorough picture.” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Human Rights Watch, based in New York, had said “practically nothing about the colossal damage” to South Ossetia “as the result of Georgian aggression.” Georgia said the report “unambiguously places responsibility on the occupation forces of the Russian Federation and its proxy regime for ethnic cleansing and war crimes.”

In other words, once again Russia has suffered a crushing defeat in the PR campaign over the war in Georgia and been exposed as the wanton aggressor.   When a study finds that Russia is in the wrong, that study is “shopworn and baseless.” But if the study had found Russia was 100% in the right, the Kremlin would have praised it to the sky.  Welcome to the through-the-looking-glass world of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

HRW has posted photographs documenting Russia’s use of cluster bomb weapons in the Gori region of Georgia, territory Russia has never claimed to be disputed, something Russia has shamelessly denied doing.  It states:  “Human Rights Watch found that, in a number of instances in South Ossetia and in undisputed Georgian territory, Russian forces used indiscriminate aerial, artillery, and tank fire strikes, killing and wounding many civilians. Human Rights Watch documented a number of cases in which Russian forces occupying Gori district in Georgia opened fire on civilian vehicles, killing or wounding civilians.”

HRW then goes on to document a litany of horror:

After Georgian forces withdrew from South Ossetia on August 10, South Ossetian forces over a period of weeks deliberately and systematically destroyed ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia that had been administered by the Georgian government. The South Ossetians looted, beat, threatened, and unlawfully detained numerous ethnic Georgian civilians, and killed several, on the basis of the ethnic and imputed political affiliations of the residents, with the express purpose of forcing those who remained to leave and ensuring that no former residents would return.

As an occupying power in these areas, Russia failed in its duty under international humanitarian law to ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety in areas under its effective control.

“Instead of protecting civilians, Russian forces allowed South Ossetian forces who followed in their path to engage in wanton and widescale pillage and burning of Georgian homes and to kill, beat, rape, and threaten civilians,” said Denber. “Such deliberate attacks are war crimes, and if committed as part of a widespread or systematic pattern, they may be prosecuted as a crime against humanity.”

More than 20,000 ethnic Georgians who fled the conflict in South Ossetia remain displaced. Ethnic Georgians in the in Akhalgori district – a remote area in the east of South Ossetia, currently occupied by Russian forces – face threats and harassment by militias and anxiety about a possible closure of the district’s administrative border with the rest of Georgia. Both factors have caused great numbers of people to leave their homes for undisputed Georgian territory.

“The permanent forced displacement of thousands of people cannot be countenanced,” said Denber. “Russia should publicly promote and oversee the right of all persons displaced by the conflict to return and live in their homes in safety and dignity, and provide security to all persons living there, regardless of ethnicity.”

The report also documents how, when Russian forces occupied Georgian territory adjacent to the South Ossetian administrative border, Ossetian militias looted, destroyed, and burned homes on a wide scale, deliberately killed at least nine civilians, and raped at least two. Russian forces were at times involved in the looting and destruction, either as passive bystanders or active participants, or by providing militias with transport into villages.

The report details how South Ossetian forces, at times together with Russian forces, arbitrarily detained at least 159 ethnic Georgians. South Ossetian forces killed at least one detainee and subjected nearly all of them to inhuman and degrading treatment and detention conditions. They also tortured at least four Georgian prisoners of war and executed at least three.

None of this, of course, can come as news to readers of this blog. But it is time the wider world began to acknowledge that Russia’s naked act of wanton aggression in Georgia must not stand, that the world must stand together and face down this threat before Russia, like the USSR and Nazi Germany before it, concludes that it can get away with such actions and repeats them, this time perhaps in Ukraine.

79 responses to “EDITORIAL: Condemning Russian Aggression in Georgia

  1. The world is not going to act. It has proven so. Repeatedly. Both Clinton and Bush have let this opportunity pass. After watching what happened in Georgia, other former USSR states are moving to improve ties with Russia. Who can blame them. The West as proven to be all talk when it comes to this area of the world.

  2. Paul, sorry, but, the Europeans are more at fault than the US in facilitating Russia’s bad behavior. They want their gas and have grovelled before and appeased Putin for years now.

    I’m not saying that Bush/Rice weren’t very naive about Putin. But, you can only do so much when you don’t have firm allies which the Europeans haven’t been.

  3. Their interest is simply not so strong. With the world financial crisis making its consequences more acutely felt by the day, and American forces involved in quagmires like Iraq and Afghanistan, it is very unlikely that the Georgian situation — which does not represent a direct threat to the West — will be deemed sufficiently important to deserve strong reactions. They simply won’t see it as sufficiently relevant to their interests. I’ll bet the US will feel worse about losing that base in Kyrgyzstan (because it is useful for the war in Afghanistan) than for anything in Georgia. Unfortunately.

  4. Related to Georgia and the sorry state of the Russian military, read this editorial by Yulia Latynina today in the Moscow Times with this nugget:

    “The Glukhov case is a purely Russian phenomenon. We have heard so much over the past years from our leaders about how Russia has gotten up off of its knees. As a reborn superpower, Russia was able to defeat the formidable Georgian army after Tbilisi launched its attack on Tskhinvali. Several months later, a hungry Glukhov, craving McDonald’s, shows up in Tbilisi, more than willing to reveal Russia’s military secrets in return for a Big Mac. And Glukhov’s secret was indeed a whopper — that he had been on training maneuvers in South Ossetia since June, when Russian forces first started digging entrenchments in preparation for the August war against Georgia. “

  5. Penny. It may very well be true that Europe is more at fault. I was referring to say 95-03. When the Russians were begging for help. And they certainly did receive some. But not nearly the degree that was required, given Russian history and the lack of democratic institutions, order etc. Democracy is bigger than the institutions it guides. And the Russian have no knowledge of either. But it certainly is possible. For me the question is would it be easier to obtain democracy in Iraq or Russia. Part of me thinks Russia do to its European roots. But then I think Iraq because the government of Iraq has never taken care of its people, and Iraqi’s have always had to be self sufficent. Russians tend to not be drive except to the vodka bottle. But that may be more an economics issue than a democratic issue.

  6. Paul, agree, but, the ruble crash in ’98 would have required the American taxpayer subsidizing Russia, sorry, that was unacceptable. We did what we could without putting our money down a rat hole. It ended, they got back on their feet.

    You’ve pose a good comparison regarding who would be more adaptive to democracy. Iraq with it’s tribalism and anti-secular autocratic Shiia Islam in the south or feudal Russia with its masses seemingly perpetually ignorant, envious, close minded and impervious to change.

    Iraq just completed another democratic election disorganized as it may have been, Russia meanwhile threw that democratic right away over the same time period. Iraq can’t be said to be a backsliding basket case at this point, Russia is one. We’ve certainly not seen any scandal of the new Iraqi gov’t massively funding Swiss bank accounts for themselves or playing adventurous games with their neighbors.

    I’ll vote on the Iraqis making it to a permanent democracy before Russia. And if they do then God bless GWB. He gave them their chance at it.

  7. Penny you wrote “the ruble crash in ‘98 would have required the American taxpayer subsidizing Russia, sorry, that was unacceptable.” However I would argue that if the West had take a bigger role in fostering democracy in Russia the ruble may have never crashed to begin with. In regards to American taxpayer subsidizing Russia as unacceptable I would argue we are doing that in Iraq now. Only it is my opinion that the world would be better served with a democratic, capitalist Russia than a democratic, capitalist Iraq. More bang for the buck. It seems to me if the West is given the opportunity again in Russia…It simply must be ceased. Despite Russia’s social ills. The West has more in common with Russian society than Middle Eastern society.

  8. Paul, the ruble crashed in ’98 as part of the Asian financial crisis, same story as today, world commodity prices crashed. It had nothing to do with a lack of “fostered” democracy in Russia. Please, get your facts straight. The ruble isn’t crashing this time either because Russia lacks a civil society.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Financial_Crises

    And, democracy isn’t a zero sum game, the world would be better served with both a democratic Iraq and Russia. And, “more bang for the buck” regarding Russia isn’t making sense to me. Iraq is in a more critical area to our national interests in my opinion. Russia’s decade of nothingness before oil prices took off was exactly that. Other than as a source of raw materials, Russia isn’t that important. It was high on the cultural scale in it’s pre-Communist past and a zero on the civilization scale. Still is.

    We disagree.

  9. Maybe, just maybe, the EU is finally starting to wake up. The latest high level meeting was described as “tense”. The EU criticised Russia over human rights abuses, Russian actions in Georgia, and the gas cut off, and Putin blew his cool.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7874110.stm

  10. By the way Paul, have you ever heard the expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink”?

    The west can give Russia all the help in the world, but unless RUSSIANS are ready to accept that help and change, it will do no good whatsoever.

  11. Penny you wrote “It had nothing to do with a lack of “fostered” democracy in Russia. Please, get your facts straight. The ruble isn’t crashing this time either because Russia lacks a civil society”. I would argue if the west had taken a larger interest in Russia its quite possible that the Russia economy would have developed in other areas and been so reliant on raw materials. As for Iraq being strategically more important I completely disagree. Russia controls so much of the planets land. As well as its abundance of natural resources. But I would conclude by saying I enjoy your post and perspective.

  12. Paul, we agree to disagree. I enjoy your perspective too.

  13. The countdown of Russia’s disintegration is ticking….

  14. Paul, you wrote

    The West has more in common with Russian society than Middle Eastern society.

    Why? Because Russians look more like Europeans (and white Americans) than Iraqis? Any other reason? So

    Russia controls so much of the planets land. As well as its abundance of natural resources.

    So does Saudi Arabia and South Africa… It doesn’t sound very convincing.

    In mid 90s I would agree with you; maybe because I wanted my rejuvenated former native land to become part of civilized world. But it didn’t. It now barks at anybody that tries to bring it out of abyss (see russian dude’s delusional comments as an excellent example of what I am talking about).

    Whether the West could foster something differently is not that important. Russia had dozen opportunities in last 20 years – it squandered them all. So, today I am with penny. If you need to choose priorities – choose Iraq.

  15. Penny
    1) You wrote:”I’ll vote on the Iraqis making it to a permanent democracy before Russia”.
    We have not any necessity to be a democracy per sample Irak. Russian situation is a great deal better than in miserable Irak which was ravished by USA army. You will not can hide yours crime behind talks about democracy in Irak.
    2) You wrote: “feudal Russia with its masses seemingly perpetually ignorant, envious, close minded and impervious to change”.
    You do not know any facts about my Motherland! Russians made a GREATEST CHANGING in the world in the 20 last years, so great change as if all of us emigrated to another country! We paid very expencive price to realize such facility and we achieve our aim! We did it against westerns wish. Our people worked very hard, displayed initiative and intellect, capacity and willingness to change! Now Russia prospers. But you do not want to see that facts because it disprove yours political and society conviction. And so you willingly believe in any apocalyptic horse of feather about my country. It is your right, but I ask you do not outrage of Russians people!

  16. Now Russia prospers.

    Are you on Mars without a calendar or on a vodka only diet, my friend? Right now Russia is going down the tubes and maybe on life supports if oil stays prolonged under $40.

    Please, you are stuck on stupid.

  17. Actually “I am Russian” all the smart Russians DID emmigrate to other countries.
    We know your motherland is being swept by epidemics of TB, Typhoid, HIV/AIDS, not to mention is in the grip od a ruthless KGB mafia.
    Drug crime, racist attacks on minorities etc.
    As Medvedev said, Russia HAS NOT WON against separatists in the north Caucusus, and now even ethnic Russians in places like Vladivostok consider Moscow to be an imperialist opressor.
    Face it, as usual you brain dead sovoks are going down. You will be sunk by your own racism, criminal leaders, and love of too much vodka.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Medvedev_Warns_Of_Rising_Racist_Attacks_In_Russia/1380434.html

  18. Penny

    Russia is not only oil or gas but also many things. Russia prospers unlike Ukrainian which sends a humble request to Russia about credit, unlike Pribaltica where police shoot down the panelists at the meeting of hungry peole. Even through oil and gas prices crash down to 0 Russia will be exist anyway.

  19. Andrew

    I said that Russians remain in Russia which changed so far as if it is another country. It is a great achivement of Russians.
    Now Russia prospers. The list of trouble which you mentioned can be relate to every world country. And USA and Ukrainian and China. Russia will be alive also I understand that it is not pleasant for you. However yours leaders must recognize that fact and negotiate with Russian authority (especially with Putin) on terms wich are suitable for Russian!
    Why you think that all Russians like vodka. It is not refers to me for example?

  20. So what were all those protests in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Vladivostok etc where the OMON beat people up recently? For your infomation “I am Baboon” Russia imports the majority of its grain and dairy requirements. Without food IMPORTS you will starve. St.Petersbug & Moscow may “prosper”, but everyone else are going hungry in your Russian federation.

  21. TB a problem in USA, EU, Autralia, NZ? No its not. Nor is HIV/AIDS the epedemic problem in western countries that it is in Russia. Nor is typhoid, or cholera, diseases that affect Russia but are unkown in the west. Russia has a huge problem with alchoholism, drugs, and the related STD transmission and deaths.
    Face it “I am Russian”, Russia is just an african style dictatorship but with nuclear weapons.
    Racism in Russia is far more widespread, and institutionalised than in any western state. Even your President Medvedev admits this.

  22. Awesome fragment regarding the “genocide” fairy tales:

    “In the village of Tsinagar[i], the aggressors executed all civilians in a church where they tried to find refuge. According to Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, Georgian soldiers were dragging pregnant women out of houses and beating and killing them for delectation of the crowd. One Tskhinvali resident was trying to protect her child from the Georgians, but the baby was shot dead right in her lap.”[191]

    Human Rights Watch interviewed a resident of Tsinagari who said that no such thing happened in his village.[192] In a letter to Human Rights Watch, the Russian Foreign Ministry attributed the same incident to the village of Dmenisi instead.[193] However, numerous Ossetian villagers interviewed by Human Rights Watch in that village said they never heard about, let alone witnessed, such an incident.[194]

    Human Rights Watch researchers were told similar hearsay accounts of atrocities allegedly committed by Georgian troops in other villages of South Ossetia, but our follow-up research did not confirm these allegations. For example, in August, right after the end of hostilities, several people told Human Rights Watch that civilians were burned to death in a church in Khetagurovo. When Human Rights Watch visited Khetagurovo, local residents vehemently denied such allegations. A staff member of the South Ossetia Committee for Press and Information told Human Rights Watch that the incident actually happened in Sarabuki.[195] Our researchers immediately traveled to Sarabuki, only to discover that local residents had not even heard that story.[196]

  23. Another fragment:

    The four POWs were then made to carry the body [of the executed POW] outside into a courtyard,[553] while the Ossetian captors threatened to kill them.[554] Kutashvili stated that Russian federal troops were also in this yard, and one Russian soldier with a gun, whom, based on his appearance, Kutashvili believed was ethnic Russian, approached him saying, “I’m going to kill you now.” However, another Russian federal soldier, whom Kutashvili described as “a large man with a full beard,” and whom he believes was possibly Chechen, intervened to stop the shooting, claiming that Kutashvili reminded him of his own son who also had been wounded in battle. The first soldier pushed the bearded soldier aside and again made as if to shoot Kutashvili. The bearded soldier punched the first soldier, and then protected Kutashvili from further threats or beatings that night.[555]

    The other POWs were beaten again after moving the body outside. Two POWs were made to clean up the blood and remains in the shower room.[556] The Georgian soldiers then carried the body of the tank gunner to a location near a railway line where they were ordered to dig a grave.[557] According to Malachini, by the time they finished digging the grave, it was dark, and so they wrapped the body in the tarp with a rope and left it unburied.[558]

    The next day, August 11, the POWs witnessed one of their group, whom they identified only as 21-year-old Khubulov, being singled out and led away, apparently because his surname was Ossetian and he claimed to be ethnic Ossetian. Khubulov was beaten and dragged away from the others, while the captors yelled at him, saying, “You will die! You are a traitor.”[559] The Georgian POWs we interviewed never saw Khubulov again. When Zaza Kavtiashvili asked some of his Ossetian captors about Khubulov’s fate, one of them replied, “We killed him because he was an Ossetian traitor.”[560]

    And another:

    In some communities where Ossetians lived side-by-side with Georgians, or in mixed marriages, the Ossetians were also targeted for looting, harassment, and accusations of collaboration.

    On August 11 Ossetian militias began looting and burning homes in Zonkar, a tiny Tskhinvali-administered hamlet in the Patara Liakhvi valley surrounded by ethnic Georgian villages.[398] Human Rights Watch spoke to the only two remaining villagers, ethnic Ossetians Aza Valieva and her distant cousin Tamaz Valiev. Ossetian forces targeted them repeatedly because they believed either that the Valievs were ethnic Georgians or were collaborating with the Georgian authorities. At one point the attackers included men dressed in uniforms with insignia worn by Ossetian peacekeepers.

    In the mixed village of Vanati three local elderly villagers, all of them Ossetian, complained to Human Rights Watch about the burning and looting and expressed fear for their own security and the safety of their home. According to them, the looters had already stolen everything valuable they could find in the Georgian households and had begun to harass the remaining Ossetian residents. They expressed their frustration with the authorities for failing to provide security.[402]

  24. Andrew

    For your infomation Dear Lunatic Russia is a major exporter of grain since 1999. Really USSR was a importer but now the situation changed.
    I live in S-Peterburg near the Nevskij prospect, Dvortsovaja pl., Pionerskaja pl., (places wich are the most popular to meetings and protest action). I did not see or hear anithing about yours information. I am confident of my country and think that you read to much russophobe propaganda! I suggest you read latest news about Pribaltica, Ukrainian, Greece, Islandia and other democracy then you will see that Russia prospers.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    If you want to comment on this blog, you moron, you will follow its rules. If you take the time to read our comment policy, you will find you are not allowed to make statements like “Russia is a major exporter of grain since 1999” without posting a link to source material. The next time you attempt to spew absurd unsourced propaganda in this manner, your post will simply be deleted.

  25. Great posts Robert.
    In addition I would like to make the following comments.

    1. All the Churches in South Ossetia are Georgian cultural and religious icons. They pre date the Ossetian arrival in the region by several hundered years. There is NO WAY any Georgian would burn one down.

    2. All Churches in Georgia (ancient & modern) are made from stone, and therefore very hard (if not impossible) to burn down in the manner described by the Russians.

  26. Well “I am Russian” I guess you must be deaf & blind. Or just stupid.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Nationwide_Protests_Kick_Off_In_Russia/1377203.html

  27. LR about Russian grain export
    http://www.gata.org/node/6466
    http://www.rzd-partner.com/news/2009/01/16/335737.html
    http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/The-Big-Picture/Russia-could-become-top-grain-exporter-says-Minister
    http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/120888/analysis/russia_fears_grain_political_tool

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    You seem to overlooking the significance of the information you state. Russia is also a major exporter of oil. Why? Because Russia itself does not have normal consumption of oil, since its industrial base (and hence its GDP) is so insignificant. The U.S. produces a very similar amount of oil to Russia each year, but its economy is so vibrant that it consumes all it produces and more besides. And the same is true in regard to grain. Russia’s population is plummeting and that is why it has an excess of grain production. Moreover, unlike oil, Russia is not providing grain supplies to Europe, which might imply some kind of influence for Russia, but to former Soviet states.

    In other words, Russia has nothing to be proud of in the data you cite, and your suggestion to the contrary is absurd nonsense.

  28. By the way “I am Russian”, staples like Rice are considered to be grain, and your Russia is a major importer of that item.

    For all foodstuffs in general it seems that Russia imports 40% of food in the stores, and this is set to rise

    http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2008-174-26.cfm

    http://samvak.tripod.com/pp120.html

  29. In addition, the situation of Russian agriculture is liable to worsen, as due to the crash of the Ruble, they will no longer be able to afford the western farm equipment and fertilisers etc required for modern high intensity farming.

  30. Andrew

    Russia is one of the most fertilisers producers in the world. The main part of Russians farm equipment are produced by Belorussia – the nearest ally of Russia!
    http://www.russiajournal.com/node/5327

  31. I am Russian, put the vodka bottle down and find your reading glasses, your link is 8 years old.

    I don’t care enough to do your homework for you, but, if you are going to make a home here how about getting right with God and Google, my friend.

    Sure Russia has fertilizers. So what. Until they can get Ukraine, their breadbasket back, their agriculture ability is limited. Most of their food is imported. They current inflation rate is 13%. Ouch.

  32. Penny
    I know that Russia is importer of whole list food production. But Andrew said about Russia is grain importer. It was a false and I aid that because Russia is exporter of grain. Then I proved it. Then Andrew mentioned about fertilizers and farmer equipment. He said that Russia buys such production from westerns. That is nonsense too. Russia is exporter of fertilizers. Russia buy farmer equipment from Belorussia. I proved it. It is true that reference was published in 2000 but it does not change anything (production of fertilizers grew significantly since 2000 ). I know about some Russians problem in the food-sector. But I always seek to give a true information unlike Andrew who makes propaganda and does not take care about true. I just show incompetence of Andrew.
    Of course Russia have some problems in the food-sector but this Russian problem is not a catastrophe.

  33. Thank God I'm not Russian

    Of course, food problems are not a catastrophe for Russia. A few million people will be starving, so what? And it will be outside of Moscow anyway. Only a naive foreigner who does not understand the phrase “бабы ещё нарожают” could be worried about that.

  34. Penny

    Love your posts.You are well informed and clearly on the truthful side of the issues; however, Ukraine is NOT their breadbasket. It is no one’s breadbasket but Ukraine’s!

  35. Well “I am Russian”, I am not too phased by outdated links that you provide. If you look back far enough you can always find data to support an argument (a bit like you going on about US slavery, which happened to be abolished about 1 year after Alexander abolished serfdom, before it was reinstated by his son to all intents and purposes).
    Anyway, more proof that Russian agriculture is in a big hole and sinking fast

    http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Business+New+Europe&articleid=a1229335721

  36. Besides “I am Russian”, you are the one who is fairly “loose with the truth” as we like to say. No protests? Russia a great saviour of the world? Russia a peaceful multicultural paradise? Come on, you are the biggest spouter of propaganda who posts here. Open your eyes and see the horror of what the “Great Russian people” have done to the ethnic minorities they have subjugated.
    Face it, the Georgians, Chechens, Ingush, Dagesh, Azeri’s, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Finns, Poles, Turkomen, Tajiks, Bulgarians, Chzechs, Slovaks, Khazaks etc all hate you for what you have done to their countries, be it as the “Russian Empire” or as the “USSR”, or “Russian Federation”.

  37. Imports of agricultural equipment to Russia increased 76%.

    According to the results of three quarters Russia
    exported agricultural machines and equipment
    for $226.9 million that was 126% from the same
    period last year. The major part of the machines
    (about 64%) was delivered to Kazakhstan, the
    highest demanded machines were harvesters
    “VECTOR” ($50,5 million in contracts’ amount)
    and “ENISEY 1200” ($26,9 million).
    Over an analyzed period import of agricultural
    machines and equipment to Russian Federation
    rose by 76% in comparison to the same time last
    year ($1 milliard 117 million) and settled at $1
    milliard and 962 million. The major parts of the
    imported machines in revised figures were tractors,
    equipped engines of 120 h.p. and more (for
    $333.3 million) and grain harvesters (for $288.9
    million). The analysis of import structure for three quarters presented high shares of German and US machines and equipment – 31.4% and 18.6% for each

    (Note that 50% of agricultural machinery imports come from USA & Germany. The UK & France also export agricultural machinery to Russia, seems like “I am Russian” is using some pretty out of date figures. Russian exports $226,900,000 – Foreign Imports $1,962,000,000 = $1,735,100,000 more imports than exports. Seems like a reliance on foreign (mainly western) technology to me)

    http://www.soyuzagromash.ru/images/pText_pict/347/RussanAgriculturalMachineryNews_November2007.pdf

  38. But wait, theres more on Russian corruption and bad corporate governance, lack of rule of law, etc, etc,etc.

    http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Business+New+Europe&articleid=a1233565519

  39. For Thank God I’m not Russian

    You asked: ” A few million people will be starving, so what?”. I answer that there are no much people who are starving now. No more than in USA and other places in the world. The most of Russians (including inhabitants of big city) have the land in ownership and grow agriculturies (potatos, tomatos, apples ect.). Thanks to this land my family avoided starving in 1990-1993. Russia will be exist even in the hungry period!

  40. Anyone get the impression that “I am Russian” is trying to distract us from the fact that major Human Rights organisations both inside & outside the Russian Federation have slammed Russia and its proxies Abkhazia & South Ossetia for WAR CRIMES and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY during Russia’s attack on Georgia?

  41. By the way “I am Russian”, it seems Russia is starting to lose the few friends it has left.
    We see your Kyrgyztan and raise you a Tajikistan.
    http://www.rferl.org/content/Tajik_President_In_Brussels_Looks_To_Boost_Relations_With_EU_NATO/1467013.html

  42. Yes, you already posted that one, read it, so what? Did you bother (I doubt it) to read the article about the Tajik Presidents visit to Europe?
    Tajikistan wants closer relations with NATO & EU.

  43. Andrew
    Tajikistan wants closer relations with EU and USA but it can not do it without Russian permission. You must negotiate with Russia!

  44. See now, that is the whole problem with Russia. You feel you have the right to dictate what other states can do in their own territory, you want to dictate their foreign policy, and in general make life miserable for them. No wonder people in your former empire hate you so much. All they want to do is get out from under the dark shadow you cast on them.

  45. Well, straight from the horses mouth.
    As usual Russia is trying to dictate to neigbouring states what they can and can’t do.
    Do you even have the faintest understanding of why the people of your former empire hate you so much?

  46. I am Russian,
    It is not worth responding to your ignorant posts. I am thankful that I didn’t have to grow up a neighbor of Russia. You are proud of your country for being a brutish pig to your neighbors, what a sorry excuse for humans you Russians are. We have an old saying, “what goes around comes around”. And you Russians are going to get yours, and it won’t be pretty.

  47. obamayomama

    Also saying about westerns.: “You reap what you sow”. And you sow only harm and devastation.

  48. Sorry “I am Russian”, that sounds like a perfect description of Russia to me. Russia sows only harm and devastation.
    The United States, for all its faults, is the largest provider of food aid, monetary aid, and technical assistance to the developing world.

  49. Andrew

    I did not say that USA is a weak country. I said that USA is a BUNCRUPT now because it has tried to continue a Cold War instead of negotiation with Russia. A huge military budget, support criminal elements in all the world (e. g. in Georgia and Ukraina), NATO extend to est and build of new anti-missels systems near the Russia are causes of USA BANCRUPTCY! You should begin negotiation with Russia (on Russian conditions).
    USA will be able exist if Russia will be ally of USA. I did not accuse USA in anything but I said “не говорите нам что делать и мы не будем говорить вам куда идти”, do not say us what we must do and we won`t say you in what hell you must go!

  50. Well thats funny “I am Russian”, you are an amazing hypocrite. Russia is dictating to former Soviet republics such as Georgia, and also to Poland and the baltic republics who they can be friends with.
    Russia supports real criminal regimes such as Kokoity in South Ossetia, who is deeply involved with smuggling, narcotics, a proven war criminal, and the stealing of Russian “aid”.
    Russia supports the criminal regimes of Sudan, Burma, Venezuela, and supplies terrorist groups such as Hamas & Hizbollah with weapons.
    Russia is the biggest criminal regime on the planet.

  51. From Der Spiegel

    South Ossetia Becomes Thorn in Russia’s Side

    South Ossetia has been a de facto Russian protectorate since Moscow’s victory in the five-day war in Georgia. But the breakaway republic is becoming an embarrassment for the Kremlin, with a corrupt president, disappearing aid money and brewing social unrest.

    Thick clouds hang over the roofs of Tskhinvali, as if fog had enveloped the houses there. But they are clouds of smoke coming from the wood-burning ovens in the homes of the city’s 27,000 inhabitants. There is no central gas supply in the South Ossetian capital, where gas pipes are not expected to be installed until next year.

    Snow and cold temperatures have descended on this small town in the Caucasus, forcing Valentina Tadtayeva and her family to move once again. “It’s already the third time since the war,” says Tadtayeva, a thin, gray-haired woman.

    PHOTO GALLERY: THE BURDEN OF PEACE
    Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (3 Photos)

    In the night before Aug. 8, when Georgian forces launched a surprise attack on South Ossetia, a breakaway province northwest of the capital Tbilisi, three artillery shells tore off the roof and one wall of her house. Valentina, 59, and her husband Pavel, 62, had fled to the basement, together with their two sons Alan, 27, and Oleg, 26, as well as their daughter-in-law Asa, 21. “We feared for our lives,” says Valentina.

    The war lasted three days for the Tadtayevs. When the Russians liberated Tskhinvali, the family moved to the apartment of the youngest son’s mother-in-law, where 14 people lived in two small rooms. Four weeks later, the soldiers set up an army-green tent in the courtyard, and the city administration promised to repair the damaged house within a few weeks. “Nothing has happened yet,” Valentina complains. Instead, the family is now forced to move in with relatives once again. “They forgot about us,” says Valentina. “Now the peace is becoming a burden.”

    FROM THE MAGAZINE
    Find out how you can reprint this DER SPIEGEL article in your publication. It has been four months since Russia and Georgia went to war over the tiny state, only slightly larger than Luxembourg and with about 70,000 inhabitants, triggering a geopolitical earthquake. Moscow came to the aid of the South Ossetians. With their concentrated military might, the Russians repelled the Georgian troops from Tskhinvali and made it clear to the world that Georgia is part of their sphere of influence. What had seemed like a struggle between Georgia and Russia had turned into a conflict between Russia and the West.

    But what did this victory do for South Ossetia, a mountainous strip of land that declared its independence after the hostilities ended? The state whose fate was allegedly the Kremlin’s greatest concern at the time? And for which Moscow continues to collect donations through its embassies abroad — funds intended for the “victims of the humanitarian disaster in South Ossetia?”

    Besides Russia, so far only Nicaragua has recognized the separatist republic. Foreign journalists are only permitted to travel in the tiny country when accompanied by officials from the foreign ministry in Moscow. Even the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union, which brokered the cease-fire between Russia and Georgia, are being denied entry by the South Ossetians and their protective power, Russia. For this reason, very little reliable information makes it out of the region.

    Russian Criticism Mounting

    This makes what recently appeared in Russian newspapers all the more surprising: that the republic is on the brink of social unrest, just as winter is beginning, because the government has allegedly embezzled Russian reconstruction aid funds, as the former South Ossetian defense minister and head of the security council, a Russian lieutenant general, explained; or that South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity fled spinelessly during the war; and that millions of rubles deposited in the safes at the national bank in Tskhinvali had gone missing and that Russian businesspeople are refusing to invest in South Ossetia while its brawny separatist leader remains in power.

    DER SPIEGEL
    Map of the region.
    Kokoity, a former freestyle wrestler who now sits in the “Office of the President,” a six-story concrete building from the Soviet era, calls the criticism in Russian newspapers “arranged.” Certain pro-Georgian forces in Russia, he says, are attempting to “discredit South Ossetia and its leadership in the eyes of the Russians.” Yes, says Kokoity, it is cold now in Tskhinvali, but “we are occasionally warmed by the joy of victory and independence,” he tells his freezing fellow South Ossetians — while his own office has thermopane windows from Turkey, installed after the war.

    In the city, 10 schools, kindergartens and the hospital have been rebuilt. But in many houses there are now plastic tarps and blankets where windows used to be. “We brought enough glass to Tskhinvali to provide it with three times as many windows as it needs,” Russian Disaster Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu said angrily.

    No one knows exactly what happened to all the glass and other building materials. The same appears to apply to much of the €350 million ($490 million) in Russian reconstruction aid. To be on the safe side, Moscow did send two of its own people to Tskhinvali to serve as prime minister and finance minister. But President Kokoity has declared the budget, filled almost exclusively with Russian funds after the war, a state secret. A former security advisor accuses Kokoity of having surrounded himself with confidants from the Russian regions of Samara and Ulyanovsk and of conducting money-laundering operations with dubious companies.

    Yuri Morosov, the former prime minister who resigned after the war — supposedly of his own free will — voices similar complaints. According to Morosov, 100 million rubles or about €2.7 million ($3.8 million) in salary payments for public servants were embezzled shortly before the conflict. Most of the money was intended for South Ossetia’s armed militias.

    It’s a difficult situation for Russia. While war refugees in the rest of Georgia will receive new houses, thanks to €3.4 billion ($4.8 billion) in aid money, mainly from the EU and the United States, the reconstruction of South Ossetia could prove to be an embarrassment for Moscow. If so, Russia’s efforts to present itself as an protective power to the people of the Caucasus and the world will suffer.

  52. Part 2: Potential Embarrassment for Moscow

    There is at least one location in Tskhinvali that looks how Moscow wants it to look. At Stalin Street 27, across from the seat of Kokoity’s government, Russian mobile phone provider Yevrozet has opened a shop. Fashionably dressed saleswomen use computers as cash registers — as long as there is no power outage. It is warm in the shop, where Nokia mobile phones and Canon cameras glitter in glass cases. The shop is an island of modernity in a city in which the scars of the war are in full view on every street corner.

    The shop sees about 1,000 visitors a day, which would even be considered a success for a retail business in downtown Moscow. The trouble is, hardly anyone is buying mobile phones and cameras. “People come here because they want to see normal life,” says Irma Alborova, a saleswoman.

    Normal life? South Ossetia, which the Russians seem so keen on controlling, has had a bad reputation since the early 1990s. Today it is considered a hub of crime and smuggling. It rebelled against the Georgian central government in a bloody war in the early 1990s, and after the war South Ossetia became impoverished and isolated. Many residents earned a living dealing in vodka on the black market.

    Kokoity made a name for himself as the region’s “trade representative” in Moscow, and then, with Kremlin support, he managed to catapult himself to the presidency of the rebel republic. But now there are growing doubts, even in Moscow, over whether Kokoity is the right man for the job.

    Russian Control of Caucasus at Stake

    If South Ossetia plunges in chaos, Russia could lose control over the entire unstable and majority Muslim Caucasus region. In the Russian autonomous republics of Dagestan and Inguchetia, government forces wage battles with underground fighters almost daily. Even in Christian North Ossetia, a pillar of Russian imperialism until now, religious warriors are now trying to stir up resistance within the Muslim minority against the “Russian occupiers.”

    Kokoity governs his territory like a mafia boss. Critics are threatened with deportation by his security staff, while family members are awarded positions in the administration. Kokoity made his brother Robert, a feared gangster in Tskhinvali, ambassador in sunny Abkhazia on the Black Sea.

    NEWSLETTER
    Sign up for Spiegel Online’s daily newsletter and get the best of Der Spiegel’s and Spiegel Online’s international coverage in your In- Box everyday.

    The Ossetians certainly have Russia to thank for stopping the invasion of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in August, thereby preventing reintegration of the province into Georgia. But they are increasingly skeptical about Kokoity’s regime.

    The Ossetian leader, who publicly drained a tankard containing three liters of wine to celebrate the Russian victory, now intends to give his regime a civilized makeover and curry favor in Moscow. Stalin Street, the only street with this name in a state capital, is to be renamed Medvedev Street.

    But even Russian President Dmitry Medvedev knows that “by far not everything is going well” in South Ossetia, as he admitted in public recently.

    But to avoid completely isolating itself internationally, Russia has stopped short of formally annexing the captured mountain province. This has its downsides. For example, the Kremlin cannot simply dismiss Kokoity like any other governor. Instead, it must court him as if he were a foreign head of state — even though Kokoity’s militias were apparently involved in gun battles with Russian troops recently. Many in Moscow are realizing that Russia went to war over a region that is not only insignificant, but also has a leadership every bit as unpredictable as Saakashvili.

    In Tskhinvali, Valentina Tadtayeva and her sons packed together their few remaining belongings: blankets, a tea kettle, silverware and family photos. They will also take a basket of apples along to their relatives. The apples are from Kechvi, one of the Georgian villages on South Ossetian soil that were “flattened,” as Kokoity says, and burned to the ground in the war. “We picked the apples after the war, otherwise we wouldn’t have much,” Valentina explains.

    She remembers the days when Georgians sold their fruit at the market in Tskhinvali. “Somehow it seems long ago now,” she says. “Even the market is now bombed out.”

    Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

  53. Andrew

    “Russia supports real criminal regimes such as Kokoity in South Ossetia, who is deeply involved with smuggling, narcotics, a proven war criminal, and the stealing of Russian “aid”

    Narcotics, wow. It is very funny to hear from NATO admirer. NATO controls a main criminal drug – producers in the world. E.g. in Afganistan. Production of drug in Afganistan has increased more than twentyfold during the period of “contrterroristic operation under the aegis of NATO”! Obviously NATO is supporting Afgan-narcoproducers in political aims. Thanks to Russian sicret cervices (FSB and Anti-narcot committee) our country does not suffer of this fact.

  54. Russia has an immense drug problem.
    Seems the FSB is not that effective at stopping trafficking, and is accused of being involved, given the extreme corruption in Russia, it would not be at all surprising if the FSB were in charge.

  55. “Russia is one of the most fertilisers producers in the world. ”

    Really, Really, I feel like I’m being set up.

    I personally can produce two pounds of fertiliser per day. I can increase production if central planning tells me so.

    It may be a little runny, but it will demonstrate my commitment.

  56. I am Russian,

    The Chechnyan’s recieved most of their russian weapons and logistical support through Afganistan. Russia is actually benefitting from american foreign policy.

    Realizing this, I believe that America should withdraw from afganistan. I know that it would make us look weak, but it would force russia to deal with the reality of islamic radicalism.

    You would fold faster than a sheet of cling wrap.

    Honestly, you should be thankful that another country is fighting for your survival. Obviously you aren’t willing to do it…Pussy.

    I pray that you live out the rest of your meaningless life in obscurity.

  57. Seanquixote, well said.

  58. Actually, “The Chechnyan’s recieved most of their russian weapons and logistical support” from the Russian army.

    1. Left when the army withdrew in 1992 (massive ammounts).
    2. Captured in 1996.
    3. Bought all the time (from the soldiers on small scale and from their officers on grand scale).

  59. Georgian could not fight against Russia because they think that Russia and Georgia are historical allies! They refused to do folk dancing for Saak and NATO. Georgians soldier left their military units (including special forces). They did not defend their mothers and daughters because they understood that Russia is not enemy for georgians unlike USA and Saak. Their mass desertion is a proof that Russian`s aggression against Georgia is a bleb of Saak and NATO propaganda!

    http://regnum.ru/english/1124575.html

    “Georgian soldier Levan Kobaidze recalled from Iraq due to August war in South Ossetia is expected 10 years imprisonment. 25-years-old soldier is under the accusation of desertion, writes the Georgian newspaper “Versia” on February, 13.

    However, the prosecutor’s office offers him 6 month long imprisonment instead of confession of guilt. As it turned out recently form Levan Chachibaya, Georgian Armed Forces Joint Headquarters Commander criminal case for desertion is initiated against almost 1.700 servicemen. According to newspaper, all criminal defendants, had served their military obligations in Iraq, or had been prepared under instruction of Americans. It is mentioned in characteristic, given by American expert to Kobaidze that he was notable for his heroism and bravery and properly acquitted his duty to motherland. The same characteristics were given to other defendants. Another fact should be noted, that all committed crimes are as like as two peas in a pod- all of them had leaved the garrison afterword returned a few days, but were declared deserters. Everyone had declared in testimonies that they were ordered to leave garrison by force command”.

  60. Andrew, you don’t understand… When “Unkneeling Russian” says that

    Thanks to Russian sicret cervices (FSB and Anti-narcot committee) our country does not suffer of this fact.

    it doesn’t mean that Russia doesn’t have an immense drug problem. All it means drug problem is no longer a fact because FSB and Anti-narcot committee said so.

    You just think in different dimensions… no point in arguing.

  61. Well said Felix!
    For “I am Russian” seems you are once again the (willing) victim of Russian propaganda.
    Please try and remember that I live and work in Georgia, and these people HATE Russia. You have lost their friendship forever by what you have done in Abkhazia & South Ossetia in the early 90’s especially the genocide in Abkhazia in 1994. Your government has destroyed any and all good feelings that the Geogian people may have had by instigating, supporting and fighting on behalf of separatists in the breakaway regions (along with your INCREDIBLE hypocrisy shown by your crushing of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Daghestan et al).

    As for 1700 cases of desertion, as usual the Russian claims were rather inflated.

    The actual number of deserters was 50.

    “After the war, the media frequently wrote about the arrest of deserters, with some 50 officers and soldiers reportedly accused.

    The defence ministry has still not given precise figures of the number of criminal cases opened against servicemen for leaving their posts.

    “According to the information we have, 30 servicemen were tried in court for leaving the battlefield. However, the authorities freed them all before New Year,” said Sophio Khorguani, a former deputy ombudsman of Georgia.”

    http://www.iwpr.net/?p=crs&s=f&o=350061&apc_state=henh

    Compare this with the official 5,500 desertions from the Russian army in peacetime. Or maybe they did not want to fight their Georgian brothers?

    Nothe the comittee of Mothers of Russian Soldiers puts the number of desertions per year at 40,000. They also put Russian losses in Georgia at around 2000 to 4000 casualties.

    http://www.nysun.com/foreign/russian-army-boasts-less-desertions-than-years/82752/

    http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/07/world/fg-mothers7

  62. Andrew

    If Georgian Armed Forces Joint Headquarters Commander Levan Chachibaya is a a Russian propagandist then I is a victim of Russian propaganda.
    Though I agree with you the actions of Georgian and Ukrainian political regims are the best Russian propaganda. And Saaka&Youschenko are the best Russian propagandists!

  63. Well “I am Russian”, I can find NO RECORD of Levan Chachibaia making the statement quoted by you except in the Russian media.
    He is quoted by the opposition & pro govt newspapers in Georgia as saying there were 30 desertions.
    Therefore (as usual) Russian media is fabricating statements.
    In other words, Russian media is LYING (AS USUAL).
    Your Russian media is full of misinformation and outright lies.
    Once again you show yourself to be a prize idiot.

  64. By the way, the correct of the new army cheif name is Vladimir Chachibaya.
    Seems your rediculous kremlin mouthpiece could not even get that detail right.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7709546.stm

    The actions of Putin, Medvedev, and the racism and narcisism of the Russian people (as typified by your racist, poorly thought out and plainly rediculous posts) are exelent example of why Russia is shunned and derided by the entire civilised world.

  65. Andrew

    “Therefore (as usual) Russian media is fabricating statements.
    In other words, Russian media is LYING (AS USUAL)”.

    WOW I hear this from USA admirer! Let me ask you dear Andrew what about nuclear weapon in Irak. Perhaps you already found it?

    All of western mass communication media had stated that Irak have a nuclear and chemical weapon in 2003. But only Russian media said another point of wiev! So who is lies?

    Andrew you just have never troubled yourself to understand the question. So you do not find blogs about Russian successful in agriculture in our former argument and can not to find a necessary resource now.

  66. No “I am Russian” most western media were highly critical of the case for war in Iraq.

    Western intelligence services stated that they believed Saddam still had a weapons program, however most western media were highly critical of the intelligence provided.

    For example, most European media (including British media) stated that there was not enough evidence, real hard evidence that is. Several US newspapers were also highly critical of the governments case for war.

    The fact is that your Russian media is a mouthpeice for the kremlin, take for example the rediculous Russian claims of 2500 civillians killed in Tshkinvali, which have now been revised down to about 169, only 44 of whom were civillians.

    Like I said, Russian media is full of lies, falsehoods & propaganda, racism, and stories with blatantly fascist overtones. Hitler & Goebbels would be very proud of “mother Russia”, look at what a fascist whore she has turned into.

    Time to pull your head out of the brown stuff “I am Russian”, try and grow up.

  67. By the way, a couple more items on the failure of Russian agriculture.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Russia

    http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/55479/global-food-crisis-catches-up-with-russia.html

    “Although food prices are, indeed, rising globally, Russia’s leaders have downplayed the fact that Russia is one of the world’s leading importers of food. As such, it stands to suffer disproportionately from the food crisis.

    Among G8 countries, only Russia and Japan are net food importers. Russia imports about 46 percent of the food and agricultural raw materials it consumes each year. At a February 14 press conference, Putin revealed that some of Russia’s largest cities import up to 85 percent of the food they consume. All in all, Russia imports 75 percent of the meat it consumes and half of the vegetable oil. ”

    http://ukinrussia.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/3498585/nov-2007

    “Despite the government support, Russian agriculture couldn’t meet an increased internal demand or to prevent a rapid growth of food prices in 2007.”

    http://www.moneymorning.com/2008/09/18/russia-economy/

  68. I am Russian, in case you haven’t heard, 500 tons of the yellow cake uranium that Saddam Hussein was not seeking from africa was moved from Iraq to Canada. I personally have not heard the mindless “Bush lied, People died” chant since then.

    You cannot use the war for oil argument either, as it turns out, the THREE countries that obstructed the truly multi-national consensus would benefit by being awarded their own oil fields inside Iraq once sanctions were lifted. One of them being Russia.

    If you have any other principled arguments, feel free to share.

  69. Well done Seanquixote.

  70. Andrew, our hobby isn’t done yet.

  71. Andrew, your contibutions far exceed mine. I don’t get alot of time away from work.

    When I see your name on this site, I know someone is watching out for me.

    I appreciate your effort.

  72. Thanks Sean, I appreciate your efforts too.

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