EDITORIAL: Russian Failure in Georgia

EDITORIAL

Russian Failure in Georgia

“The invasion proved the limits of Russian power. They couldn’t take over our country or remove our government. And . . . [t]hey’ve failed to drag us into their sphere of influence. Yes, they’ve occupied strategic terrain and purged our citizens but, soon, it’s the very people the Russians supposedly saved who will feel occupied by them. Many already do. Russian subsidies don’t reach the general population any more than they do in Russia.”

–Georgian cabinet minister Temuri Iakobashvili, to the Wall Street Journal, on the Russian invasion of his country

Georgia is coming back stronger and better than ever following Russia’s wanton invasion against it.  Russia failed to achieve regime change, failed to obtain international recognition, and was condemned for egregious violations of international law by both the European Union and the United Nations.  World leaders rushed to the side of besieged Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, snubbing Russia openly, and only weeks ago the U.S. Secretary of State referred openly to Russian “occupation” of South Ossetia (an artificial state created by Stalin) and Abkhazia (a state that received absolutely no hint of Georgian fire before it was brazenly invaded by Russian forces).  Even more recently, a report on terrorism praised Georgia and infuriated the Russians.    Russia is reminded of its total diplomatic failure in Georgia, in other words, on a daily basis.  And the heinous Russian aggression has even driven a wedge between Russia and its Slavic little brother, Belarus.

And that’s only the beginning of Russia’s troubles in the region.

The world not only now sees Russia as a cowardly bully, but Russia is foist with responsibility for creating a permanent military garrison and welfare state in Ossetia and Abkhazia.  It has created a legion of refugees, appalling the planet, and it will not be able to deliver goods and services to the general population of Ossetia, which will soon be chafing under the poverty and servitude imposed by Russian occupation.  Meanwhile, Georgia’s economy is roaring with potential and growth and Georgians are standing rock-solid behind their government.

Writing in the WSJ, reporter Melik Kalyan (who has seen Georgia up close and personal for years) writes: “This mini-Iron Curtain, like the one that descended over Europe in the aftermath of World War II, will also be swept away. Yes, it will take time. But artificial zones dependent on Moscow’s subsidies are black holes. No competitive legitimate business flourishes there—only corruption, smuggling, gambling, alcoholism and weapons training.  Meanwhile, the World Bank rates Georgia as the 11th easiest country on Earth in which to do business.”

That says it all.  Huge amounts of Russian resources are going to be misdirected towards Ossetia and Abkhazia, and utterly wasted. Meanwhile, Russians will languish in greater and greater poverty, just as in Soviet times, and free Georgia will slowly assimilate into the West, finding greater and greater prosperity and freedom there.

Putin’s policy in Georgia has been an abysmal failure, just as has been his policy in the wider Caucasus.  Terrorism is out of control, Ramzan Kadyrov is out of control, and Islamic insurgency is taking firm roots.  Russia, in fact, is becoming an Islamic country, leaving the Slavic Russians at the roadside with their begging bowls. The appalling cost of Putin’s Caucasus adventure is becoming clearer by the day, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

14 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russian Failure in Georgia

  1. @But artificial zones dependent on Moscow’s subsidies are black holes. No competitive legitimate business flourishes there—only corruption, smuggling, gambling, alcoholism and weapons training.

    “Transnistria”:

  2. Thanks, Robert. But its 3 year old material.

    • Yes, absolutely everything changed in “Transnistria” since 2007, or even the 1990s.

      Meanwhile, just north of Georgia,

      “Fear is a companion which will never leave you” says Lidya Yusupova, who was called “the bravest woman in Europe” by Amnesty International. She was a Nobel Prize Candidate in 2006 for her work as a human rights defender in Chechnya.

      Lidya Yusupova is a Chechen lawyer around 40 years old. She is charismatic, tall and so thin that seems very fragile. Lidya is actually a woman of steel, determined and tireless. Since the first Russian–Chechen war (1994-1996), she collaborated with the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya; and in 2000 she founded the Grozny branch of Russian human rights organization “Memorial” where she worked with rights activist Natalya Estemirova who was abducted and killed in July 2009.

      When I asked her opinion about Dmitry Medvedev’s speech that they have identified the murderer of Natalya Estemirova, Lidya answered me with her wry and enigmatic smile. She then shook her head and told me that three days before the murder of Estemirova some unidentified Russian agents came to her house when she was out. What they wanted, Lidya never learnt, because the agents did not came back again. She does not worry because after the years she has spent living in the midst of danger.

      Lidya does not like to talk about herself. However, she was overpowered by my insistence and told me the story of her family that is inextricably linked to the tragedy of the Stalin ordered deportations of the Caucasus people in 1940s. Her father, from Chechnya, and her mother from Karachay-Cherkessia, met in the distant lands of the deportation. His uncle, from his mother’s side, who objected to the deportation, was imprisoned in Siberia, but he managed to escape from Kolyma, the worst Soviet gulag. He lived in hiding with a group of opponents to Stalin in the high mountains of Karachay-Cherkessia. Lidya’s successful life in contrast, began with the tragedy of the death of her mother. Lidya was saved by her aunt who was only 12 years old, but stil wanted to be the mother of the little niece who had been assigned to an orphanage. Lidya’s brother, a young Chechen police officer, was killed before the war broke out in 1994. The war also hit her adoptive mother hard as she lost her three sons in the conflict. During the first Russian-Chechen war (1994-1996), Lidya has been applauded steadily and courageously in respect to her work in civil rights, amongst the river of dead. She was injured and also kidnapped during this period. Soon after the start of the more devastating second Russian-Chechen war, which was ordered by Putin, Lidya founded the Grozny branch of “Memorial” to defend victims against the violence. She had witnessed the tragedy comprised of tens of thousands dead, tortured and kidnapped civilians. Today she lives in Moscow in a tidy apartment, works in the Law Faculty and writes for some newspapers. She is a single woman who knows the thousands of tragic stories that may mark your soul, and lives almost exclusively for defending the rights of innocent people.

      For a moment I interrupted her hectic schedule and she gave answers to my questions:

      – Caucasian nations have suffered persecutions, deportations and violence, first by the Czars and later by Stalin. What is the effect of past history on recent conflicts in Chechnya and Ingushetia?

      In the Caucasus people do not forget, do not delete anything from their memories. But unfortunately the people of the Caucasus have not learned anything from the past. They did not take any lessons from it, so they repeat their mistakes again and again. Everything is closely linked to the past. Today’s events seem to be in a different hue but in reality, it is always the same.

      – Human rights associations have denounced the continued civil rights violations in Chechnya and Ingushetia for many years, and they have even appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. There have also been many kidnappings and murders committed by the Russian governmental forces. What can the international community do to stop the massacre that occurs daily in both of these areas?

      Human rights violations do not happen only in Chechnya , but throughout the Caucasus and Russia. European governments should change their political relations with the Russian leadership, however, there are various economic interests, thus I do not perceive this to be a realistic solution. In contrast, the European Court of Human Rights could do much more to stop the Russian authorities. There are partial “small victories” which represent a step forward and a hope for the relatives of the victims. These victories also may introduce to Russia the same legal standarts that are practiced throughout the rest of the democratic world. Citizens of the Russian Federation have great faith that the European Court of Human Rights will carry out justice and this gives them the hope and energy to continue fighting.

      – Conflicts in Chechnya and Ingushetia have led to the growth of religious extremism. The [puppet] Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov competes in this area with the most radical wings of the independence movement. Kadyrov has imposed Islamic rules outside the Chechen tradition, which especially impact women. Where will this lead the population?

      Religious extremism does not lead anywhere, it only leads to an impasse. It has happened before in Chechnya’s history; women had to wear scarves and stand opposite of the men on public transportation. Those rules were ridiculous especially in comparison to all of the serious problems Chechnya had.

      What about the problems in Chechnya and Ingushetia, have they been solved? How many people are dead or missing? How many people are unemployed, pensioners or disabled? Let us look at these issues and stop talking about how long women’s skirts should be or whether or not they should wear scarves on their heads.

      – Other people of the North Caucasus live in fear as it seems that the Russian– Chechen conflict may extend beyond the borders of Chechnya. Is it possible that the entire region is sinking into generalized war?

      -For a long time a “total war” has been going on underground. The war is visible in Chechnya, but republics in the Caucasus are like an ocean today that will eventually be uncovered. Maybe there there will not be longterm conflicts but today, accross the Caucasus in the midst of general neglect, people are being killed deported and kidnapped every day. I am not a politican but simply a lawyer. I have the feeling that Russia is doing everything possible to lead finally to the seperation of the Caucasus. The situation in the Caucasus is terrible but politicians do not think the same way. They are only concerned with Russia. In this reason, I do not think that the repetition of large-scale operations will continue, but they will keep kidnapping and murdering the people. The perpertators of these illegal activities of the secret services will continue to be protected. The war in the Caucasus is historical. Even though there have been positive changes in education and social development, there has also been a rise in extremists, seperatists and others who invent conflict. In 1991, when President Dudaev declared our independence, someone invented the military conflict.

      – Why are the conflicts in Chechnya and Ingushetia, which cause dozens of civilan casualties every week, ignored by the world?

      It is necessary to work internationally in the area of law. It is useless to use foreign media to make a list of the dead and wounded people every day. We need to defend victims internationally. Many of our colleagues, including Russians, were persecuted for reporting the facts to international tribunals because Russia has not obeyed any international agreements. If not today, then tomorrow or maybe in five or ten years, I am sure that many Russian politicians will be tried for the crimes which have been committed in the Caucasus.

  3. newsky,
    Tell me what has changed in this free-year old period. NOTHING!! It probably got worse….

    Your logic ,dearly new-sky, is typical idiotic soviet/russian logic based on teaching of Marks, Engels, Lenin and Stalin – you russians are really dumb and doomed….

  4. In honor of Ukraine’s Independence day, Georgians sing the Ukrainian anthem in the Georgian language. :)

    Грузини співають гімн України

  5. The way the population is melting in Ukraine, it is a good idea to have like Gruzini occupy the territory. What about the anthem in Tataro-Mongol language?

    • Actually, if you read the news, russia is melting like hell, because the kremlin created hell on earth for 100,000,000 of people {PRONOUNCED – God’s children}.

      If you meant that the population is decreasing, that is because there are less moskali in Ukraine every year. :)

      The average age of Russians in Ukraine is 41.9 years.[38]

      Census year Total population
      of Ukraine ————-Russians %
      1922 29,018,187 2,677,166 9.2%
      1939 30,946,218 4,175,299 13.4%
      1959 41,869,046 7,090,813 16.9%
      1970 47,126,517 9,126,331 19.3%
      1979 49,609,333 10,471,602 21,1%
      1989 51,452,034 11,355,582 22.1%
      2001 48,457,000 8,334,100 17.2%

  6. Underneath it all I see progress. Russia is feeling the heat no pun intended. Just as China is under pressure because of cell phones and the internet so the KGB is under increasing pressure because everyone knows what they are doing.

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