Georgia gives Russia a Pounding
Last weekend, the national rugby team of Georgia gave its Russian counterparts a brutal thrashing and claimed the European Nations Championship. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili decorated the Georgian squad as national heroes.
We’re hard-pressed to decide which reminder triggered by the Georgian triumph was the more ghastly and humiliating for Russia, that of its shocking recent collapse at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, or that of its even more bitter failure to oust Saakashvili from power two years earlier, when world leaders stunned the Kremlin by rushing to Georgia’s side and universally refusing to recognize its annexation of Georgian territory.
But we find it even more perplexing to try to discern how the sheep-like denizens of Russia can ignore so blithely all this rancid public failure by their government.
In the last election, they permitted the last genuine democratic opposition party, Yabloko, to be utterly purged from all local government office even though they made clear with their votes that they are developing profound contempt for Vladimir Putin’s party of power, United Russia, which went down to defeat in a number of local races.
It’s truly psychotic. The nation sees that its government is failing, and sees that it is doing everything it can to cover up that failure in the same way that the failed USSR always did. The nation is angry, and yet it does not demand any real opposition parties be allowed to compete in elections and it does not even dream of holding Russia’s nearly omnipotent ruler, Vladimir Putin, responsible for any of the carnage he has caused. They don’t hesitate to credit Putin personally for any perceived “success” by the government, yet they view him as being the innocent victim of any failure.
If Russia cannot defeat tiny, backwards Georgia, what would happen if Russia faced a confrontation with NATO? There is only one answer: Even more spectacular defeat. After all, the same fate met by the far more mighty and potent USSR. Yet, Russia continues to behave as if it were a superpower, confronting and taunting and provoking the USA at every conceivable opportunity.