Voices from Russia

Monday, 11 August 2008

Georgia’s Adventure Gone Badly Wrong

Filed under: mass media,politics,Russian,USA,war and conflict — 01varvara @ 00.00

Russian tanks on the move in South Ossetia

Russian troops swept through South Ossetia on Sunday as Georgia tried to pull back its soldiers from the breakaway region and begged for a ceasefire. Moscow sent thousands of troops, tanks, and air support into South Ossetia last Friday after Georgia launched an ill-conceived offence to seize control of the province, which broke from Georgia in the early 1990’s. These are the basic facts behind the latest flare-up of violence in the region, but, they are presented with a curious slant in some of the US media.

Even a cursory look at some of the US media headlines suggests an obvious bias on the latest events in and around South Ossetia. Time magazine in one of its headlines would have its readers believe that Moscow is playing “a dangerous game in Georgia”, the Associated Press quoted Bush as saying “violence in Georgia is unacceptable”, and the Washington Post said “Bush, Cheney increasingly critical of Russia over aggression in Georgia”. Now, stop and think of it. What aggression and violence are unacceptable? Wasn’t it the Georgian leaders’ reckless and aggressive move into South Ossetia that caused the violence that has already resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and scores of Russian peacekeepers killed?

US media organisations appeared eager to quote every phrase Saakashvili uttered however facetious and absurd it might seem. Video images captured Russian troops against the backdrop of burning homes in Tskhinvali and the impression one gets is that the fires were caused by Russian soldiers, rather than Georgian troops who had pounded Ossetian settlements for several days setting them ablaze and scattering civilians.

In the name of fairness and for good measure, there also seemed to be some fairly objective reporting from the scene of violence and commentary on the impact of those events. The New York Times, for one, quoted an American official who covers Georgian affairs as saying that “everything had gone wrong” with the Georgian move in South Ossetia. He said that Saakashvili acted rashly and gave Russia the grounds to invade. “The Georgians have lost almost everything”, the unnamed official was quoted as saying. “We always told them, ‘Don’t do this, because the Russians do not have limited aims’”.

According to Time magazine, “Besides suspending oil shipments from Azerbaijan via Georgia, Russia’s military campaign has clouded the prospects for Georgia joining NATO any time soon. The carnage of recent days will likely reinforce the reluctance of European NATO members to induct Georgia as a member despite strong US support for Georgian membership”. Furthermore, the magazine said that “the battle that began to rage in Georgia as world leaders were treated to the pyrotechnics of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony may be the most serious challenge to the post-Cold War balance of power since the collapse of the Soviet Union”.

11 August 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov

Voice of Russia World Service



Europeans Pondering Their Options With Regard To Georgia

Filed under: diplomacy,mass media,politics,Russian,USA,war and conflict — 01varvara @ 00.00

Georgian tank in the initial attack

The UN Security Council is set for more talks on Monday on a ceasefire call in Georgia after the United States and Russia traded accusations on the flare-up of violence in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia. Yet, despite the rhetoric, UN diplomats were reportedly making progress on the text of a joint statement that would be acceptable to all sides. Meanwhile, European leaders are currently assessing the damage that’s been done by Georgia’s reckless move in South Ossetia.

US ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad accused Russia of seeking “régime change” in Georgia, drawing a sharp dismissal from Russia’s ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who retorted that the expression “is a purely American invention”, pointing to US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Churkin said Russia’s action in South Ossetia was “appropriate”, as it “could not allow Georgian attacks on civilians and Russian peacekeepers” in the enclave, which he said amounted to “genocide”. Thousands of civilians and scores of Russian peacekeepers were reported killed in the wake of the Georgian assault on the province which began last Friday. Despite the sharp exchange, at least one Western diplomat reported progress on a plan that French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner plans to present to the parties in Tbilisi and Moscow.

Meanwhile, as the enormity of Georgia’s blunder began to percolate through the West, Saakashvili’s regime came under increasing criticism from several Western capitals. While Washington is seen as increasingly critical of Russia over what Bush called “a disproportionate response” to Georgia’s provocation, the western media appeared to be more even-handed.

The Times of London, for one, said on Monday that “Georgia’s attempt to seize control of the secessionist South Ossetia region has been a gamble too far, reckless in its timing and founded on a fundamental misjudgement”. Calling the Georgian president “reckless”, the Times said he “thought he had the West on his side, but, he has been outsmarted by Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, who now holds all the cards. The military adventure had all the hallmarks of rushed planning and a fingers-crossed strategy, launched in the hope and expectation that the Russians would not react, but, if they did, the Americans and Georgia’s other NATO friends would come to his aid in one form or another. It was a classic misreading on Mr. Saakashvili’s part of the relationship between Washington and Moscow…” the Times concluded. Britain’s Economist said of Saakashvili that “Georgia’s ruler is not seen by all European leaders as quite the paragon of legality, freedom and reform that he claims to be. Georgia’s image was severely dented in November last year by a crackdown against the opposition”.

11 August 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov

Voice of Russia World Service


War as an Instrument of Peace

This is what the Russian forces are fighting for. Look at this underground clinic! The doctors were forced underground because the pig Saakashvilli deliberately ordered his troops to fire at hospitals. Evil! George Bush supports this, so his hand was on the lanyard every time a Georgian artillery piece fired at innocent civilians in hospital. It is beyond words… evil, simply evil.

The hostilities involving Russian and Georgian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which have now been going on for more than four days, have eclipsed the Olympic Games in Beijing. This August has already entered the annals of history, but, the situation continues to develop. The situation has both military and political aspects. Militarily, the predictions of most experts have been vindicated, Georgia’s blitzkrieg against South Ossetia failed. Even in the first half of 8 August, when Russian troops had yet to reach Tskhinvali, and flights by Russian aircraft were not frequent, the Georgian troops managed to occupy the greater part of city only after the second attempt. At the same time, the Georgian troops demonstrated their ability to operate in a complicated situation. The South Ossetian volunteers were no less ready to resist the attack.

The Russian armed forces deserve special mention. While being in far from its best shape, the Russian war machine proved to be quite efficient at all levels. Strategically, it was fast in making a decision and introducing troops. Operationally, it had enough combat-ready units at division level that could be quickly brought into action. Tactically, the army had to limit the use of heavy artillery and aviation to avoid civilian losses. However, our efforts to suppress Georgian air defences were not that great, and we lost more aircraft than we should have. But, this is the first time since the Second World War that we have had to deal with air defence systems more serious than small-calibre artillery and PZRKs (handheld anti-aircraft missile systems). The fleet in timely fashion carried out a landing operation in Abkhazia. This is the first time it has engaged in action since the Great Patriotic War.

As for the political situation, it is rather favourable. Apart from Georgia itself, only the United States, the Baltic nations, and Poland are obviously hostile towards Russia. The majority of states are urging both sides to cease-fire and return to the pre-war situation. Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has done a very good job of upholding Moscow’s position, rebutting accusations of aggression, and preventing the formation of an anti-Russian coalition.

It is hard to make forecasts in a constantly changing situation, but, from what information we have it seems that Russia’s main goal is to destroy Georgia’s military equipment and infrastructure, and deprive it of the ability to engage in active military operations. Russia is likely to continue bombing installations on Georgian territory, oust the Georgian troops from South Ossetia, and create a security belt around it, and around Abkhazia. At the same time, Russia will be limited in using heavy artillery for the reasons mentioned above.

It is clear that an anti-Russian coalition does not exist. The operation is likely to be completed in the next few days, after which talks will be resumed. The future of the Georgian leadership is the most interesting political issue. Some experts believe that Russia may demand extradition of some of the Georgian leaders for trial for war crimes. To sum up, Russia’s actions have been undoubtedly positive. It has demonstrated its readiness to use all means, including armed force, for the protection of its citizens and national interests.

11 August 2008

Ilya Kramnik



George Bush Lies Down With the Dogs (I don’t want your fleas, sir!)

If you have seen George Bush on TV in the last few minutes, one saw the face of pure evil. He is standing in favour of Georgia, a country that deliberately targeted civilians with the connivance of his State Department.

In the 21st century, there is no place for the deliberate targeting of civilians with rocket bombardments and artillery shelling. In the 21st century, there is no place for the massacre of innocent civilians. In the 21st century, there is no place for the deliberate breaking of the Olympic truce so that one could attack a weak neighbour.

Saakashvili is no democrat, he merely has an American veneer from his higher education here. He is an immature brat (he is only 40) who has been given control of a state and his recklessness is well-known to all. He is as full of corruption and nepotism as any other Caucasian chieftain. Do NOT be fooled by his media image! This man, in cold blood, ordered the deliberate targeting of civilians and is only sorry that he lost.

This man deserves to be put in chains, tried in Moscow before the eyes of his victims, and hung on Red Square at high noon in front of the largest crowd possible. There are those who belong next to him, if there is any justice, but, I shall not name them, for the Bush administration is known for overreacting.

George W Bush lied with full knowledge of what he was doing. The blood of South Ossetia is on his hands, for he boldly thrust his hand in the pool of blood when he made his public statement of support for this monster. Mayor Yuri Luzhkov called Saakashvili a Hitler. I agree. What does this make Bush? His Antonescu or Horthy? Or, is it the other way around? An interesting question.

I stand deeply ashamed of my country tonight because of the actions of its president. He may drag us to war over a mere Caucasian butcher.

May God preserve us all.

Vara Drezhlo

Monday 11 August 2008

Albany NY

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