EDITORIAL: Saakashvili, Ascendant

Saakashvili, Front Page and Center

Saakashvili, Front Page and Center


Saakashvili, Ascendant

We here at La Russophobe live for moments like the one last Monday morning, when we clicked open the New York Times website and saw the lead story, complete with massive photograph of the beaming President of Georgia and headlined: “Georgia’s Leader Escapes Damage in Biden Visit.”

The article was an ode to Saakashvili’s amazing staying power in the face of relentless persecution from Russia.  It points out, for instance, that the last time Saaskashvili was challenged by Moscow stooges, rather than arrest them or kill them as Putin would have done, he simply called an election and won it. The Times relates:  “He eked out 52.8 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a second round of voting, though far less than the 96 percent he won in 2004, when the so-called Rose Revolution brought him to power.”

Eked out, huh?  Oops.  52.8% is exactly the same share of the popular vote won by Barack Obama in 2008, down to the decimal point.  And Obama didn’t have to overcome the determined efforts of a country ten times the size of the United States trying to crush him at every step the way the fearless and heroic Saakashvili did.

Instead of criticizing Saakashvili, as the Kremlin may have thought would occur, Biden turned a vigorous attack directly towards the Kremlin.  He accused Russia of being a feeble sham and declared that Russia’s fanciful notions about its “sphere of influence” would be disregarded by the Obama White House.  There wasn’t a word of rebuke for the Georgian leader.

The Times wrote: 

“It’s nothing less than miraculous,” said Lawrence Scott Sheets, the Caucasus program director for the International Crisis Group, an independent organization that focuses on conflict resolution. “He does have this Houdini-like capability. A lot of politicians would have folded their cards. He just said ‘no.’ ”

In other words, once again the Georgian came out on top.

If America dared to interfere in Russian domestic politics as brazenly and directly as Russia has done in Georgia, Russians would be spitting poison and talking about World War III. Yet, Russians feel themselves entitled to do in other countries what they most despise at home, never realizing that those countries ever more despise and spurn Russia, leaving it at least as much hated as America in her worst moments.  Russians stand exposed, helplessly unable to oust Saakashvili from power or even to alienate his Western support, which only gets stronger the more the Russian bully acts out.

Way to go, Mr. Saakashvili.

41 responses to “EDITORIAL: Saakashvili, Ascendant

  1. hear, hear indeed!

  2. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2009/07/30/67074.shtml

    russians claim,that this evening the georgian army fired several minutes into Tskhinvali,the capital of South Ossetia. So attention please,guys,the russian provocations and propaganda-lies start again,like one year ago. The threat of a new russian invasion is not yet from the table!!! Keep your eyes open!!!

  3. Random commenter

    Perhaps Georgia’s web geeks should establish a series of permanently operating webcams at all the possible spots where the Russians may provoke or launch an attack, so that it’s captured in real time as it happens, as direct evidence of any aggression.
    Also, it should be on a separate system to the normal internet, to keep it immune from any cyber attack.
    Surely this would keep all eyes on the border and either force some restraint on Russia, or at least record any happenings as they occur.

    • A good idea, but the problem is the rugged (almost vertical!) broken nature of the terrain, you would need half the webcams in creation to make it work.

  4. > the last time Saaskashvili was challenged by Moscow stooges, rather than arrest them or kill them as Putin would have done, he simply called an election and won it. The Times relates: “He eked out 52.8 percent of the vote

    Nice to know that you call Georgian opposition “Moscow stooges”. It is also nice to know that almost half of Georgia are “Moscow stooges”. That holds a promise for a better future for everybody.

    > rather than arrest them

    Are you saying that he didn’t arrest Okruashvili?

    • Are you saying that the Georgian opposition ISN’T funded and encouraged by Moscow? Hard to believe even a Kremlin stooge like you would be ignorant enought to think he could get away with a lie like that.

      Is it wrong for a government to arrest terrorist insurgents? The USA arrests them, every government does. If you plot a military coup and get caught, you get arrested even in a democracy.

      The fact is, and not even filth like you can deny it, Saakashvili ran in a real contested election and won, something neither Putin nor Medvedev can claim. The opposition in Georgia is FAR stronger than in Russia, because the Georigian government ALLOWS it to be. Russia would NEVER allow the kind of foreign interference it engages in in Georgia, and that shows the Russians for what they are: venal hypocrites.

      The world sees the true facts about Georgia and the world takes Georgia’s side. Only blind aggressive Russians like you see things differently. Keep up your illusions, and you’ll follow the USSR right into the dustbin of history.

      • >> Phobophobes: Are you saying that he didn’t arrest Okruashvili?
        > LR: Is it wrong for a government to arrest terrorist insurgents?

        What reasons do you have to call Defence Minister Okruashvili a “terrorist insurgent”? It is hard to take your condemnation of Putin’s harsh treatment of opposition seriously, when you advocate brutality towards opposition in Georgia.


        The very next time you leave a comment like this on our blog, you'll be permamently banned from commenting. It's your final warning, you freak.

        You DON"T TAKE our condemnation seriously IN ANY CASE. Keep your stupid, dishonest dreck to yourself or write your own blog if you want to publish it. Your idiotic ravings convince only yourself.

        An ARREST is not "brutality." We support arrest those who advocate violent overthrow of the government, just as any civilized people do. There is no evidence that the Saaksashvili government has ever arrested anyone for any other reason, and you CERTAINLY OFFER NONE.

        The whole world has sided with Georgia. It's hard to take anyone seriously who claims they have not. You are like the foolish emperor with his new clothes, living in a world of your own paranoid delusions, as it has always been with Russia.

    • > We support arrest those who advocate violent overthrow of the government. There is no evidence that the Saaksashvili government has ever arrested anyone for any other reason.

      Then would it be correct of the readers here to conclude that the Defence Minister Okruashvili advocated violent overthrow of the government?

      And please don’t ban me! I’ll retract any accusations I made against President Saakashvili and shall admit to any crime you tell me. Just don’t ban me!


      Escape from Georgia

      On November 5, 2007, Okruashvili made a surprise appearance on Imedi TV claiming that he was forced to retract accusations against President Saakashvili while being in jail.

  5. And again today, the Russians and separatists in “South Ossetia” opened fire on a Georgian village.


    And Georgian civillians are killed and injured in Russian controlled Akhal Gori


    A repeat of the Russian/separatist terrorist attacks that preceeded the last war?

  6. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2009/07/30/67083.shtml


  7. Help me God,please not again.You can never trust the russians,maybe the lull of the last weeks after the Obama-visit was simply a Hollywood-show to distract attention of the rest of the world.Let´s pray,that the 2008-scenario will not repeat!

  8. been there, done that

    Hi, Kim
    Just one question for you — do you actually believe the stuff that you write?
    I mean, I would be the last person to claim that Russia has no problems, but you have to be seriously delusional to base your analysis of Russia on the writings of Anders Aslund, who no more that 2 months ago was writing to tell everyone about his favorite Baltic tiger Latvia, of whose happy fate he was certain, and we all know what is happening to Latvia now – I’m sure that with your search skills, I don’t need to throw any links at you.
    And you have to be in serious delirium (perhaps, the same one that Saakashvili is in) to believe in anything he says. You know what he said yesterday? He said that Georgia’s economy was doing much better than that of the most European countries (prooflink – http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=21305). Or, perhaps you would be so bold as to agree with him?

    • We’ll thank you not to SPAM our blog with gibberish. We posted Aslund’s analysis, the proper place for your comment is there.

      We’ll also thank you, if you claim Aslund is wrong about something, to post a link with evidence proving you are correct. Your own inane opinion has less worth than a piece of used toilet tissue.

      So you think that the Moscow Times is also delusional for regularly publishing Aslund? And all those who routinely praise and rely upon his work are also delusional? Whilst you, an anonymous commenter with no credentials of any kind, see the real truth?

      Whose delusional, you little microbe? We think it’s you.

    • > Georgia’s economy was doing much better than that of the most European countries

      Well, if we call Vanuatu a European country – then, yes, Georgia’s economy is better. In fact, in a few decades it will overtake Bhutan:


      54 Poland 17,300
      56 Croatia 16,100
      57 Russia 15,800

      107 Bhutan 5,600
      109 Namibia 5,400
      110 Guatemala 5,200
      111 Swaziland 5,100
      115 Samoa 4,900

      117 Georgia 4,700
      119 Vanuatu 4,600

      141 Moldova 2,500

      Maybe you should be immediately banned for saying that Georgia’s and Bhutan’s economies are not as good as those of EU and Russia?

      • photophobe,

        Interesting to note that the three countries that joined NATO are all doing better than each of the soviet states still controlled or influenced by the kremlin.

        Also, being that the unemployment rate in roosha is 10+%, the $$$ are in the pockets of Gasprom, KGB, putin, and the oligarchs, and the price of oil and gas is down, I believe that roosha may be lower on the scale than Georgia.

  9. these new clashes on the border show,that something is brewing up again like last august

    • “something is brewing up again like last august”?

      Are you saying that Saakashvili is so stuoid that he is planning to once again attack and terrorize Tskhinvali?


      Henry Kissinger said the unpleasant fact is that “the first shot was fired on the Georgian side” and Colin Powell said the Georgians provoked the crisis.


      You’re simply lying. The Ossetians were shelling Georgian territory for MONTHS before the Georgians moved to silence their guns, and Russia was censured by the UN for repeatedly invading Georgian airspace with warplanes. NOT ONE MAJOR NATION IN THE WORLD approved Russia’s military action against Georgia or recognized the annexation.

      You are living in a neo-Soviet fantasy world. It’s pathetic.

      • Considering the amount of little skirmishes along the border, it seems to me both sides had been shooting at each other for quite a while before the hostilities really began, Phobophobe. I suppose it’s part of the nature of being an insurgent province that there will be conflicts along the border — I, for one, would be seriously surprised if nobody had been shooting the other side for a while there.

        The point is: is this enough of a pretext for either side? Can Russia claim that Georgian shootings are ‘too much’ — or can Georgia claim that Ossetian shootings are ‘too much’? And what would they do in either case?

      • Asehpe,

        There is a huge difference between low-casualty exchanges of fire from faraway that can last for decades, as is the case between Hazbollah and Israel – and the all-out blitzkrieg war that Saakashvili waged on S. Ossetia and the civilians of Tskhinvali:


        By Dimitri Simes, President Nixon’s policy adviser and the president of The Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom

        Literally hours after what President Saakashvili announced on state-controlled TV the cessation of hostilities, he ordered a full-scale assault on Tskhinvali. The assault could only succeed if the Georgian units went right through the battalion of Russian troops serving as international peacekeepers according to agreements signed by Tbilisi itself in the 1990s. Under the circumstances, the Russian forces had three choices: to surrender, to run away, or to fight. And fight they did […] … in Tskhinvali under Georgian air, tank, and artillery attacks. Saakashvili was reckless to count on proceeding with a blitzkrieg in South Ossetia without a Russian counterattack.

        • Low casualty exchanges of fire between Hizbollah and Israel?

          What are you smoking?


          Israeli civilians:

          44 dead
          33 seriously wounded
          68 moderately wounded
          1,388 lightly wounded

          Lebanese citizens (civilians and militants):
          1,191 dead
          4,409 injured


          Then there is the recent Israeli blitzkrieg in Gaza

          The Palestinian Ministry of Health, a Gaza governmental office (PMoH), put death toll at total of 1,324 Gazans killed, of which most were civilians.[204] The PMoH stated that 437 children under the age of 16, 110 women, 123 elderly men, 14 medics, and four journalists were among those killed. The wounded include 1,890 children and 200 people in serious condition.[205] Hamas claimed to have suffered only 48 casualties and that it killed at least 80 Israeli soldiers.[206]

          The PCHR puts the death toll at 1,417, of which 926 were civilian, 236 were combatants and 255 were members of the Palestinian security forces. According to PCHR, out of 926 civilians and non-combatants, there are 116 women and 313 minors under 18.[207] The organization has also posted a list of the victims detailing their names, ages, jobs, place of residence, and time and place of the attacks that killed them.[208]


          Of course, in both cases Israel was reacting to attacks by militants, but then again so was Georgia, in addition Georgia was taking action within its internationally recognised border.

          The death toll of civillians was far lower in the Georgian action.

          Civilian casualties:
          South Ossetia: 162 according to Russia, 365 according to South Ossetia.[31][32][33]
          Georgia: Georgian government claims 228 civilians dead or missing.[34]
          One foreign civilian killed and 3 wounded.[25][35]

          At least 158,000 civilians displaced[36] (including 30,000 South Ossetians that moved to North Ossetia, Russia, 56,000 Georgians from Gori, Georgia and 15,000 Georgians from South Ossetia per UNHCR), that moved to Georgia proper.[37][38] Estimate by Georgian Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs: at least 230,000.


          So why do you consider Israeli actions (with a much higher death toll of civillians) to be acceptable, while condemning Georgian actions undertaken with the same (and under international law possibly greater) justification?

  10. http://www.newsru.com/russia/30jul2009/said.html

    meanwhile in Chechnya the Kadyrov-militia killed two russian policemen today in a shootout.There are a lot of tensions right there

    • Here is a very incisive observation by Dimitry Simes:


      My impression is that you have to start with an assumption that the separatists in Chechnya have won. The whole Chechen government is run by former rebel commanders. There is not a single exception. Anyone who was loyal to Moscow during the first Russian-Chechen war was removed from the Chechen government. Senior federal officials who play a role in Chechnya tried to restrain Chechen President Kadyrov, and they always failed. They were not supported by Putin and Medvedev. And actually, there were cases when they were physically assaulted in Chechnya.

      So what we see is that Moscow, who made an unsavory deal with Chechen rebel commanders, essentially allowed them to run Chechnya as they wish, as long as they remain loyal to Moscow. How long this loyalty will last if there would be economic shortages and Moscow would not be able to satisfy their economic ambitions? I do not know.

  11. been there, done that

    So, what’s with the royal We? Are you a queen bee now? Judging by your level of hate, it’s more like queen black widow. Speaking of hate, how does one come to hate a country so much? Did some Russian leave you heartbroken and it’s all because of that?
    So, you don’t want to discuss Aslund here. Fine. I’ll get back to you with prooflinks tomorrow. As for the Moscow Times, kindly allow me to point out that there is a difference between providing a platform for somebody to speak up and wholeheartedly endorsing every stupid bit that person says. And how come it never occur to you that the fact that all this Russia bashing by Aslund that appears in a Russian newspaper is proof of the freedom of speech, huh?
    Anyway, if you don’t want to discuss Aslund, maybe we should talk about the tie-eating Saakashvili. But wait! You left my previous remark unanswered. Could it be, because you have nothing to say?


    It’s an editorial we, you psychopath. When you respect our rules, we’ll respect your comments. Until then we will ignore you like the rude little insignificant gnat that you are.

  12. http://www.rsf.org/Government-suspends-news.html

    Government suspends news programmes, closes two TV stations after declaring emergency – 8 November 2007

    Reporters Without Borders voiced “deep concern” today about yesterday’s declaration of a 15-day state of emergency, in which one of the first measures taken by the authorities was to suspend all the news programmes of the privately-owned TV stations and to close two stations that broadcast footage of the security forces violently dispersing demonstrators in the capital.

    President Mikhail Saakashvili declared the state of emergency yesterday, on the sixth day of opposition demonstrations calling for his resignation and parliamentary elections. Development minister announced the suspension of all news programmes by independent TV stations. The state broadcaster, GPB, is now the only TV station allowed to give news.

    Imedi, the most popular of the three leading commercial TV stations, went off the air at 8:50 p.m. yesterday, shortly after Giorgi Targamadze, the head of its current affairs programmes, reported live that special forces had just entered the TV station. Employees were forced to lie on the floor and their mobile phones were seized (and in some cases, smashed). The police also threatened some employees by putting guns to their heads. Kavkazia, another privately-owned TV station based in Tbilisi, went off the air a few minutes later. Both had broadcast footage of riot police using force to disperse protesters.

    The health ministry reported at 11 a.m. that more that 500 people had needed medical attention as a result of yesterday’s intervention by the police. About 100 are still hospitalised.

    The crisis has its origin in the arrest of former defence minister Irakli Okruashvili on 27 September after he accused Saakashvili of wanting to eliminate businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, who controls Imedi. Okruashvili retracted after he was arrested and charged with corruption. Following his release on 6 million dollars in bail, he gave an interview from Munich to Imedi on 5 November in which he reaffirmed his allegations.

  13. > the last time Saaskashvili was challenged by Moscow stooges

    “Moscow stooges”?! The vast majority of Georgian opposition are much more anti-Moscow than Saakashvili himself. For example, Saakashvili’s victim – Irakli Okruashvili – is a huge anti-Russian and anti-Ossetian hawk:

    In 2005 and then in 2006, Okruashvili said that he planned to celebrate the 2007 New Year in Tskhinvali, the capital of breakaway South Ossetia. Commentators said that Saakashvili’s decision to move Okruashvili last November from the Defense Ministry to the Ministry of Economy was largely because of Okruashvili’s perceived hawkish stance on South Ossetia.

    Or take the now diseased leader of the Georgian opposition – Badri Patarkatsishvili, the best friend of Berezovsky’s and an acquaintance of mine. He was such a huge critic of Putin that when he died, British newspapers accused Putin of killing Badri.

    Are we to believe that Badri and Okruashvili were “Moscow stooges”?


    U.S. calls for peaceful demonstration in Georgia – April 9, 2009

    WASHINGTON, April 9 — The United States on Wednesday urge the Georgian government and all the participants in a massive protest starting Thursday to ensure the event peaceful. Demanding the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili is expected to be one of the goals of the protest, which is participated by Georgia’s main opposition parties and some 100,000 supporters

    “We urge the government of Georgia and all those participating in the April 9 protest rally to ensure that the demonstrations are peaceful and without violence,” U.S. State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.

  14. As an american military expert i can tell you,that the August is the last month in which a large-scale russian invasion in Georgia is possible. Already in September the weathter can turn bad and the russians cannot allow such a dangerous scenario,because without the Roki-tunnel their supplies would be cut off! Therefore the next four weeks will be very tense,but should a russian invasion not take place until September 1,the danger of a russian invasion will be off the table,at least until April 2010,when the snow will be melt away in the Caucasus mountains!!! The decision makers in the Kremlin will surely think about attacking Georgia or not in August in these days and hours,i consider the chances as 50-50! Let´s wait and see! Thanks for your attention!!!

    • Alan wrote:

      > As an american military expert … large-scale russian invasion in Georgia is possible.

      When awarding oneself with a title of “military expert”, one should at least to try to understand the most basic facts. Namely, why the hell should Russia attack Georgia? Both Abkhazia and S. Ossetia are de facto independent and have been such for more than a decade. Russia has not only successfully repelled the Georgian blitzkrieg last August but also achieved an absolute victory. What else would Russia need? Why go to war? If Russia wanted to occupy more Georgian territory, it could have kept the vast Georgian land that it occupied in August 2008. Instead, it pulled out of them. So, what would be the reason to give them up and then to go there again?

      For the last decade if not longer, the status quo has been completely in favour of Russia, Ossetia and Abkhazia, as they have had everything that they want and need. It is Georgia that needs to re-annex Ossetia and Abkhazia, and it’s Georgia that has been provoking hostilities for the last decade. It’s basic common sense. Even a child should be able to see that.

      • Ever heard of the Russian saying “Georgia is the key to controlling the Caucasus”

        Russia demands a “pro Russian” leadership in Georgia, and having control of Georgia will enable Russia to reassert control over the rest of the South Caucasus (especially Azerbaijahn) and central Asia by cutting off their only non Russian trade route to europe.

        Obviously you have no understanding of the situation Phobophobe, or you are a blatant liar.

        16 years of Russian support for terrorists who commit mass murder and ethnic cleansing such as the Abkhaz & Ossetians, bombings in Georgian border areas, missile attacks, Russian interference in Georgian internal affairs, supporting the overthrow of democraticaly elected leaders, all provocations (and in many cases war crimes) comitted by Russia.

        In addition, Russia still occupies areas like Akhal Gori, and the other parts of South Ossetia that were administered (and populated) by Georgians, most of whom have been ethnicly cleansed and their villages levelled by Russian bulldozers.

        Russia expected the current government to be toppled in a revolution after the August war, needless to say they have been dissapointed.

        Only a retarded child would agree with anything you have to say on a subject you are so obviously poorly informed about.

  15. This does not mean that there is nothing to be said for the opposition, which plays a necessary role in every true democracy; but its intolerance reflects badly on it, and the Russian media exploit it and carry it further, demonizing Saakashvili as the Hitler of the Caucasus (in Dmitry Medvedev’s phrase).

    The charge is absurd. If only such a vibrant opposition could exist under Putin’s regime—with newspapers, two television channels, and the privilege of blocking major arteries and access to official buildings by setting up political protests. In Georgia, I saw a protest take place for two months, while the police refrained from opening up traffic in order not to offend the demonstrators. How many minutes would it take to arrest someone so bold as to set up a protest in front of the Elysée Palace? And who would imagine for an instant that such a thing could be attempted in Red Square?


    Enough said.

  16. Pohlatohlakas



    • Famous quotation from the Vladimir Putin’s speech at the Chekist Day party at the FSB headquarters in December 1999 was:

      “I want to report to you that the mission of the group of FSB officers sent undercover to work at the government is being accomplished successfully.”

  17. Pohlatohlakas

    Who is who in “independent” South Ossetia:


  18. LES,

    Don’t be silly. First of all, it is not the NATO membership – which has nothing to do with improving economies – but the EU membership that helped Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia develop their economies.

    Second, Russia is almost as prosperous as the Baltic countries and much more proseprous than Ukraine. In fact, even communist Cuba and socialist Belarus are much-much better off than Ukraine:

    52 Latvia 17,800
    53 Lithuania 17,700
    57 Russia 15,800

    73 Belarus 11,800
    85 Cuba 9,500

    100 Ukraine 6,900

    In any case, unlike EU membership, NATO membership doesn’t help with the standard of living (except for having American taxpayers pay part of the other NATO’s members military budgets). One NATO’s member – Albania – is dirt-poor, poorer than even Ukraine. And many others are no wealthier than Russia:

    54 Poland 17,300
    56 Croatia 16,100
    57 Russia 15,800

    67 Bulgaria 12,900
    69 Romania 12,200
    72 Turkey 12,000

    105 Albania 6,000

  19. Adamfrom Poland



  20. Russia’s ” prosperity ” is only possible in high
    oil and gas price climate , as is so clearly evident . Without petro dollars rolling in , roosha is going broke fast . The moscovites
    tried to weasel out of a oil deal with China by
    raising prices , but instead only managed to
    piss off the Chinese .
    In view of the lower petro product prices , the
    moscovites better start cranking up their
    ” matrioshka ” production as this along with
    their national drink , vodka , constitutes the
    bulk of their GNP .
    Prosperity in roosha , indeed .

  21. TBILISI, Georgia – Georgia accused Russia on Monday of trying to take more territory outside the breakaway province of South Ossetia as tensions rose before the first anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war last summer.

    Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said Russian troops entered the village of Kveshi near South Ossetia on Sunday and erected posts marking a new border.


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