July 15, 2009 — Contents

WEDNESDAY JULY 15 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Stormclouds over the Caucasus

(2)  Russia’s Ski Resort Time Bomb

(3)  Putin’s Failed Policy in the Caucasus

(4)  Teaching Russians about “Citizenship”

(5)  Endless Russian Barbarism in Chechnya

(6)  The Freedom that Russians Deserve

NOTE:  Today we offer a special issue devoted to the total breakdown of Kremlin policy in the Caucasus region.  As Amnesty International has found recently:  “There has been and continues to be a total failure of political will to uphold the rule of law and address impunity for present and past abuses of human rights in the region.”  Likewise, there has been and continues to be a total inability to subdue and pacify the rebelious citizens of the region, whose contempt for Russia rule is plain.

NOTE:  Kim Zigfeld trashes Obama’s failed mission to Moscow, calling him a “white moderate,” in the latest installment of her American Thinker column. Ouch.  AT also posts video of a line of Russians refusing to shake Obama’s hand. Double ouch.  Welcome to Russia, Mr. Obama!

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5 responses to “July 15, 2009 — Contents

  1. You do yourselves a great disservice with foolishness such as the video posted at a blog which carries interesting articles about Russia at times. In the video President Obama is introducing his delegaton to President Medvedev. All you have succeeded in doing is to unleash a racist hornet’s nest on YouTube, which has nothing to do with Russian politics and is as silly as most propaganda. It’s a real shame that you did this as some contributors to your site are of such high quality that it demeans them and leads only to not being taken seriously. Racism is a big problem in Russia, but fighting it with lies is no help to anyone. Please correct this error. Thank you.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Your comment is pretty inane. We are have no control over content posted at the American Thinker, we are only reporting what they’ve done. AT is one of the most trafficked blogs on the planet, and your suggestion that we ignore something like this is bizarre in the extreme, as is your suggestion that by linking to it we’ve “unleased a racist hornets nest.” Russia is a racist country, and millions of Russians have contempt for Obama because of his race. It’s been widely reported that Obama was offended by the cold reception he got in Moscow from Russians, who confirmed their hostile attitude towards him in opinion polls. Obama reached out his hand to Russiand, and they bit it. This also indicates a serious policy misaprehension on Russia by Obama himself. All of it is crucially important news we must report.

    Meanwhile, we don’t recall a single supportive comment about ANY of our racism coverage from you, nor is there a single constructive suggestion of a better way to fight racism in Russia or an example of how you’ve done so. Your comment is not thoughtful, not sourced, and seems rather knee-jerk and hysterical, to say nothing of being arrogant, condescending and patronizing. If you’ve got a complaint, it’s with the AT blog, not with us.

  2. Here’s hoping that Obama was a bit more “heavy” behind closed doors.

    If so, I salute him.

    Is A Russia-Georgia War Off The Table?

    July 14, 2009

    By Brian Whitmore
    A U.S. guided-missile destroyer docks at the port of Batumi ahead of joint U.S.-Georgian naval exercises near the separatist Abkhazia region.

    The day before, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was given a hero’s welcome when he paid his first visit as Kremlin leader to a second breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia.

    Medvedev pledged more financial and military aid to the tiny territory, which declared independence from Tbilisi following Moscow’s invasion of Georgia last year. From there, Medvedev traveled on to Sochi where he announced the successful test-launch of a ballistic missile from a Russian naval submarine.

    The Russian president also told assembled naval personnel that Tbilisi bears “full responsibility” for last summer’s war in South Ossetia and predicted the Georgian people would one day “hand down a heavy sentence” on Mikheil Saakashvili’s regime.

    At first glance, the events of the past two days might indicate that Russia and Georgia might be on the brink of another conflict over the two Moscow-backed rebel regions. A number of Russia-watchers had already laid bets on a repeat summer invasion.

    But as often is the case in the Caucasus, appearances can be deceiving. Georgian President Saakashvili, who has warned for months that a Russian invasion was imminent, suddenly pulled an about-face, confidently declaring that the threat of war with Moscow has been reduced.

    “All of [Russia’s] aggressive plans for the near term have failed,” Saakashvili said on June 9 at a televised meeting with his National Security Council

    “The war that they had imagined, that they had in their plans and dreams, will not happen. The planned military invasion against Georgia will not be possible to implement due to the new geopolitical reality.”

    That new geopolitical reality, Georgian officials are suggesting, comes in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit last week to Moscow — and ahead of a scheduled visit to Georgia by Vice President Joseph Biden next week.

    A Warning From Washington

    Publicly, Obama used his Moscow trip to voice mild support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But senior Georgian officials have told RFE/RL that behind the scenes, Obama warned Medvedev in no uncertain terms against starting a new war.

    The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tbilisi was informed by U.S. officials that Obama told Medvedev that any attack against Georgia would have “grave consequences” and that Washington “would not stand aside” in such a conflict as it did during last year’s war.

    A White House spokesperson declined comment, saying “we don’t discuss private conversations.”

    Analysts say there has been a noticeable change in tone among top Georgian officials since Obama’s July 6-8 visit to Moscow.

    “The central message was probably delivered in Moscow, no question about that and evidently it was a fairly robust one, because suddenly Georgian officials are absolutely sure that there is not going to be a war this summer,” says Lawrence Sheets, head of the International Crisis Group’s Tbilisi office.

    Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst for the Russian newspaper “Novaya gazeta,” correctly predicted that Russia would invade Georgia last August and has been warning for months that Moscow was preparing another military incursion this summer.

    Felgenhauer is not convinced that warnings from Washington would be sufficient to deter the Kremlin, which he says is determined to remove Saakashvili from power. Russia, he says, is also seeking to prevent the Nabucco pipeline project, which Moscow views as a threat to its energy dominance, from being completed.

    “Russia was warned that this was unacceptable but what unacceptable means is another question,” Felgenhauer says.

    “I’m not sure how strong the American warning was and how seriously it was taken in Moscow. But that was the only possibility left. This summit was the last chance to prevent a war this summer.”

    After Russia’s recent Caucasus-2009 military exercises near Georgia’s border, military commanders concluded that their troops were ready for battle, according to Felgenhauer. He adds, however, that “if there is no war by mid-September, then we are out of danger,” due to the rugged Caucasus terrain and difficult climate.

    “Right now we are in a dangerous time,” Felgenhauer says. “We’ll see rather soon. Now we just have to sit and wait and see. Militarily, everything is ready. The reason to go is there and the capability to go is there.”

    ‘An Unwashed Murderer’

    War or no war, any message from Obama was clearly not enough to deter Medvedev from openly visiting South Ossetia on July 13 in the face of strenuous objections from Tbilisi.

    Speaking to reporters in Tskhinvali with South Ossetia’s de facto leader, Eduard Kokoity, Medvedev promised Moscow’s aid and support to rebuild the economy of the “new state,” which has thus far only been recognized by Russia and Nicaragua.

    “Of course, I want to thank you for inviting me to this new country, the new state of South Ossetia, which came into being as a result of difficult, traumatic events, a country which the Russian people supported in its hour of need,” Medvedev said.

    “I think this first working visit by the Russian president today will lay the groundwork for future contacts.”

    Saakashvili, who was in Ankara for a summit on the Nabucco gas pipeline at the time, called Medvedev’s visit an “immoral and shameful precedent” and referred to Kokoity as an “unwashed murderer and corrupt criminal.”

    Meanwhile in Batumi, the “USS Stout” was greeted with wine and music after dropping anchor on July 14. The “Stout’s” commander, Mark Oberly, said the joint naval exercises, scheduled to begin on July 15, “demonstrate the U.S. and Georgian commitment to work together, to cooperate, and maintain maritime security.”

    The exercises will be held in Georgia’s territorial waters between the ports of Batumi and Poti, near breakaway Abkhazia’s Black Sea coast.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Is_War_Off_The_Table_In_Georgia/1776909.html

    • Classic disinformation=:

      The Russian president also told assembled naval personnel that Tbilisi bears “full responsibility” for last summer’s war in South Ossetia and predicted the Georgian people would one day “hand down a heavy sentence” on Mikheil Saakashvili’s regime.

      • Yes Les, I agree.

        The Russians are always full of BS.

        Everyone knows it was the Russians who wanted, needed, and started the war.

        Even most Russians know that in their inner thoughts.

        As for the Georgian people, they have the right to protest, the right to support opposition parties etc.

        One day (hopefully) the Russian people will “hand down a heavy sentence” on the Medvedev-Putin regime.

  3. An intelligent debate is one without vulgar insults because insults are childish. However your blog always responds in this way when challenged. It is indeed a shame when you host some great minds, linguists, lovers of Russia and the US on your blog.
    Secondly, you expound on your lack of control of the “American Thinker” site and say that my “suggestion” you should ignore “something like this is bizarre in the extreme”, but I never made such a suggestion. I said that you should “correct the error”. What impression do you expect to give when your link to the video is introduced by the following commentary: “NOTE: Kim Zigfeld trashes Obama’s failed mission to Moscow, calling him a “white moderate,” in the latest installment of her American Thinker column. Ouch. AT also posts video of a line of Russians refusing to shake Obama’s hand. Double ouch. Welcome to Russia, Mr. Obama!” ?
    To address the points in your reply (isn’t it delicious that we can debate – even if our views are so different? I really wish you didn’t feel so threatened by this. After all, is debate not the sine qua non of the great American Universities?)
    1. You protest that “American Thinker is one of the most trafficked blogs on the planet”. Ну и что? Does it mean that it is always right and non partisan?

    2. I again reiterate that you have definitely encouraged the racist hornet’s nest on You Tube. You bring up race as the issue in President Obama’s visit by giving a link to trash on the internet and then by blithely dipping into Martin Luther King’s “Letter From A Birmingham City Jail”, which quite frankly has nothing to do with the price of fish when it comes to President Obama’s policies regarding Russia. You yourself are making his race the issue here. This is definitely not the way to go in opening up a discussion on racism in Russia. It just confuses an issue, which urgently needs to be addressed intelligently.

    3.I would be delighted to be informed of your sources for the following statements, as it would enhance my arguments regarding racism in Russia:
    A) “Millions of Russians have contempt for Obama because of his race”. Following President Obama’s visit, can you please let me know to which reports you refer? For example, don’t you think that it would be fair to mention the live coverage from the European to the Asian borders on Russian State media of President Obama’s speech at the NES? Wouldn’t it be fair to cover the military who openly, on Russian TV, said that of course it was a different US that they were now dealing with in the post G.W. Bush era? President Obama’s intelligence and historical perspective in pointing out that Russia and the US were allies in the last war against a fascist enemy were spot on. President Obama does not rush in to very complex situations with 2009 clichés and the current, taken for granted, lack of historical or cultural perspective. You have to have lived with Russians that went through that war to understand.

    B) “It’s been widely reported that Obama was offended by the cold reception he got in Moscow from Russians, who confirmed their hostile attitude towards him in opinion polls.”
    This may be true, but could you please give us the source for President Obama’s statement about this? What did he actually say and where?

    C) “Obama reached out his hand to Russian (sic), and they bit it. This also indicates a serious policy misaprehension (sic) on Russia by Obama himself. All of it is crucially important news we must report”.

    I am all for the factual news being “crucially” reported by the La Russophobe blog, but … “ his hand being bitten” does sound a tad like the misrepresentation of President Obama’s hand in the video link from the American Thinker site. I’d be very pleased to see your sources for this statement.

    Your blog’s much touted policy of free speech makes your final paragraph rather confusing. Do you feel that I should be a regular subscriber to comment on your content? I thought that I had fulfilled all the conditions to comment. I rather thought that commenting was like writing a letter to a paper, which one might not necessarily read every day. So, I’m sorry that I haven’t followed your racism topics in the past. As for suggesting I have not been constructive in suggestions as to how to fight racism…well I rather thought that I was quite clear that your linking to a trashy racist video on the Internet was none too wise.
    Finally, I am more than happy to provide you with sources for anything that I said in my letter.
    I don’t know how one fights racism in Russia, but distributing cheap internet rubbish about the President of the United States, Mr. Obama, does not strike me as being the way to go.
    I wish you all the very best with your blog’s quest to provide transparent and truthful content!
    Yours sincerely,
    Jon Fletcher

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