Long Knives in Sukhumi
Blogging on Live Journal (backed up on Google), Twitter and Facebook, a Georgian lecturer on economics at Sukhumi State University named “Giorgi” last week faced a massive campaign of cyberwar from Russia (read his posts in translation here and here). Thanks to the free advertising from his beloved Russians, which got him written about in such places as the Times of London and interviewed by The Guardian, by the time the dust settled and he was fully back online (though the LJ blog still seems to be under assault), laughing at the Russian cowards who attacked him, the professor (who blogs as “cyxymu,” which looks like the Russian script for Sukhumi) now has well over 2,000 followers on Twitter and is ten thousand times more well read than before the crazed Russophile set tried to silence him. By the weekend, there were nearly 1,000 articles in the mainstream Western press blaming Russia and praising the Georgian’s courage.
Nice job, Russians! Maybe you’d like to do the same favor for La Russophobe?
At the time of the attack, the professor had been running through a chronolgy of the events that led to last year’s war with Russia, showing how the war was a naked act of Russian aggression. Since the Russian nationalists couldn’t handle the facts he was meticulously laying out, their only response was brute physical force — the same tactic they’ve used so many times before, up to including murder (everyone from Galina Starovoitova to Natalia Estemirova).
The attack was not limited to trying to crash cyxymu’s websites; the hackers also sent out thousands of e-mails in cyxymu’s name, attempting to smear his reputation in the blogosphere. You may well ask what about this blogger made the Russian thugs so furious, and the answer his simple. He wasn’t simply a patriotic Georgian, he was an Abkhazian, indicating dissent with that annexed territory, where folks are far less supportive of the Russian invasion than in Ossetia and far more interested in true independence.
These are the acts of a criminal nation, a nation which cannot engage in verbal discussion or argument because it has no fact to rely on and no credible intelligence to back them up. Such a nation is a direct threat to the entire civilized world. Streetwise Professor put it succinctly:
It’s bad enough when the thuggishness that pervades Russian politics and civil life, such as it is, stays in Russia. That’s their sty, and to listen to the self-styled Russophiles that comment here, and elsewhere on the internet, they like it that way. So be it. But when it spills over to disrupt the lives of millions of others lucky enough to live elsewhere, it’s not just their business anymore.
What more evidence does the world need before it can conclude that it is faced with a barbaric neo-Soviet state just as hellbent on the destruction of freedom and democracy as the USSR ever was, and far more deeply in the hands of the malignant KGB?
The 34-year-old blogger himself is equally succinct, telling The Guardian: “Maybe it was carried out by ordinary hackers but I’m certain the order came from the Russian government. An attack on such a scale that affected three worldwide services with numerous servers could only be organised by someone with huge resources.”
Indeed, the Russian nationalists are right to be worried about the issue of Abkhazia. Georgia forces did attack Ossetia, albeit to silence Ossetian guns that were mercilessly pounding Georgian territory. But Georgians never lifted a finger to move against Abkhazia. Russia’s action to annex that territory was only justified by preemptive concern about future Georgian moves, which is totally unacceptable to anyone. Hence, Russians are furiously attempting to sweep Abkhazia under the carpet, and are increasingly worried by open statements from the region indicating it has no desire to live permanently within the Russian fold.
And it’s one more example of the total failure of diplomacy on the part of the Obama administration. So much for the famous reset! Russia has pressed a very different “reset” button, one that resets Internet access back to the stone age and recreates the USSR.