Georgians in Gori receiving food aid from Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations aid workers. Human Rights Watch! You’re NOT reporting this, are you? Why? Would it offend your US paymasters? Hmm…
Saakashvili’s régime in Georgia lost the war against South Ossetia when it was rebuffed by Russia, but, the Georgian rulers are still waging a propaganda battle against Moscow in the West, which, some observers say, has been more successful so far. Whilst the Georgian leadership is licking its wounds after a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Russian army, Georgian representatives have fanned out around the world wailing for support of their beleaguered junta.
With his glib tongue and fluent English, and his ubiquity on western news networks, Mikhail Saakashvili these days never seems to be lost for words, quite frequently putting his foot in his mouth. Once, he was actually seen on television chewing on his tie. The hard-pressed Georgian ruler is so omnipresent on CNN’s Larry King, on BBC World, in teleconferences for reporters, editors, and columnists world-wide that, as one western observer remarked, it is hard to see where he finds the time to fight a war or run a country. The war is mercifully over for him and now it’s the time for his régime to put his country in order.
As the Los Angeles Times wrote this week, “he is the leader of a small country that was, until recently, not on the radar of most Americans. But, it’s been hard to turn on a news channel this month without encountering the angry, brooding glare of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, railing against the Russian troops pouring across his country’s borders, doing his best to turn a military disaster into a media victory”. According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “the Russia-Georgia conflict highlights the mores and methods of modern warfare. Propaganda and black radio have always been essential tools of the warmonger. What’s new in the Caucasus is the battle between the PR agencies taking the war mongers’ shilling and competing for airtime and column inches on behalf of their clients”.
Last year, Saakashvili reportedly paid half a million UK pounds (22.816 million roubles. 938,438 USD. 629,974 euros) to engage Brussels’ Aspect Consulting to brand Georgia as a western wannabe, a NATO and European Union aspirant, emphasising everything from “its fabulous food and drink to its liberties and democratic politics”. In television appearances Saakashvili is invariably flanked by the Georgian and European Union flags, even though Georgia is not a member. The message is clear; Georgia is aligning itself with the West, ostensibly against Russia. Ironically, as Russian forces were driving Georgian troops out of South Ossetia, a de facto independent entity that Saakashvili was trying to seize by force of arms, thousands of panicked Georgians trekked to Russia where they hoped to find shelter and comfort among their numerous compatriots, particularly those settled in Moscow. So, whilst Saakashvili and his henchmen were railing against Russia in the Western news media, common Georgians sought refuge in Russia itself.
21 August 2008
Voice of Russia World Service