Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

24 September 2014. A Blast From the Past… DO NOT Rile the Bear… He DOES Tend to Get Feisty n’ Gnarly…

00 Russia and South Ossetia. 2008

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There’s much rot written about the 2008 South Ossetia War, especially by Anglo Americans. Let’s state some home truths. The Georgians started the war with a sneak Grad attack on sleeping civilians in Tskhinval. They did so with the full knowledge and approval of their American puppeteers (captured documents at the American base in Gori made that clear… yet the Anglo liars continue to deny, deny, deny). Russian forces defeated a Georgian attempt to attack the Roki Tunnel before the Grad attack… it’s not clear whether the attack was merely American-led or that Russian forces captured Americans special ops sorts and sent them back home quietly (I’ve heard both stories; I don’t have enough evidence to vet either one definitively). The Russian forces won because the Georgian forces deserted and went home en masse. The way to Tbilisi was open, but the Russians didn’t go there. That is, they could’ve, but they didn’t. That’s because Russians are qualitatively better people than Anglo Americans are… they don’t believe in “winning is the only thing” as greed-crazed Americans do (we’re sinners… we know that… we don’t view ourselves as “exceptional” and beyond all laws as the demented Anglo American toddlers do). We don’t view ourselves as perfect models for the whole world to emulate as Anglo narcissists do.

Russia won fair n’ square and the Anglo Americans still pout over their defeat (for defeat it was). It’ll be worse after the Americans lose in the Ukraine… betcha that rightwing pukes like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz will hold hearings on “Who lost the Ukraine?” I’ll tell you why the Americans will lose in the Ukraine… as in Georgia, they backed pure and unmitigated evil. Full stop. Thus always to tyrants…

BMD

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

5 March 2014. They Called a War and No One Came… What This Means for the Junta

00 T-64 tanks. Ukrainian Army. 02.02.14

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Things have quieted down a bit from the weekend. Mind you, things are still murky (indeed, murkier than they were on Friday)… the amount of reliable news is miniscule. However, there are important takeaways from the weekend events.

The most important one is that the junta decreed general mobilisation… and no one showed up (at most, 2 percent of those called responded… hardly a patriotic groundswell). This had its analogue in the 2008 South Ossetia conflict (it wasn’t “hot” enough for a fully-fledged war… although the bloodletting was real enough). If you recall, the Georgian forces simply melted away via desertion after Russia sent in elements of two mechanised divisions and two airborne divisions. So many Georgian soldiers deserted that the Saakashvili junta couldn’t put them on trial. The whole army simply melted away… in terrain that favours the defence and where the Russian forces had a relatively long and exposed LOC run over a few roads in mountainous country. In short, the Georgians held all the cards, militarily speaking, but they all took French leave… leaving the road to Tbilisi open (note well that the Russians contented themselves with looting the American-equipped base at Gori and weren’t tempted to expand the conflict any further).

In like manner, the response to the general mobilisation order showed the abject powerlessness of the junta. Not only did their orders fail to stir a response… they couldn’t “make them stick”. No one’s been arrested… no one! The junta called out the country… the country chose to watch the hockey game, instead. This, more than anything else, shows the lack of popular support for the junta. This means that if it orders general mobilisation again, the people’s response could be just as tepid, if not more so. No one wants to die to make the Ukraine safe for Yuliya, her crooked cronies, and the crapitalist oligarchs. I’d also point up that the “reservists” had no refresher training, lacked heavy weapons and equipment, and there were no organised units to draft them into. That is, they’d lack all cohesion as formed military bodies, and would simply break in combat. It was a PR move… a fact not lost on the Russians (nor was it lost on professional military circles in the West, either… they’re not anxious to get involved with such losers).

Furthermore, when the junta called out active units, it had a mixed reaction… the most interesting point is that some units actually went over to the patriotic elements opposing the junta. For instance, the Ukrainian Navy is, actually, dead. It hoisted the St Andrew banner and sits in Russian-controlled ports. The only way that the junta installed governors in some places was to call out Svoboda toughs and oligarch private guards. The druzhinniki held back (on Putin‘s express orders, I’m told). The new oligarch governors will piss off the populace (which is what the Russians expect… and what they’ll get, by the way). When Russian forces do intervene (and they shall, trust me), the people will greet them with open arms.

Why did Russia hold back? Simply put, it checkmated the junta in the Crimea. The popular referendum shall go forward, at an unspecified earlier date. When that happens, the ARK government will call on Russian protection, which Russia will give. The junta will fulminate and order mobilisation again… less than nothing will happen again. The junta failed to exert authority this weekend… that was Strike One. The junta failed to re-establish authority over the Crimea… that was Strike Two. When the junta orders general mobilisation again and fails again… that’s STRIKE THREE… YER OUT!

That’s not the end of it. The disbanding of the Berkut leaves the junta without a reliable anti-coup force. This means that they’d have to rely on Svoboda toughs and oligarch bands. When one realises that the upper leadership of the MVDU and MChSU both underwent a purge, it means that the junta has NO reliable security forces whatsoever, which increases the chances of them calling out the army. If they called out the army, it’d be a farcical replay of August 1991 in Moscow. However, don’t be smug. Remember Roland Freisler and the Volksgerichtshof… just because they’re not long for this world doesn’t mean that they can’t create a great deal of mayhem in the time left to them. The mob won’t go home quietly… it has to be dispersed by force… and the junta won’t do that because it can’t. The junta’s “legitimacy” stems from that mob… if it were to disown it, it’d cut its own throat.

Here’s the cherry on the sundae… the junta hasn’t had any regular revenue collections… the cupboard’s bare. The Ukrainian government needs 20 billion USD (720 billion Roubles. 22.1 CAD. 22.3 billion AUD. 14.6 billion Euros. 12 billion UK Pounds) a year to meet its bills… and the 1 billion USD (36 billion Roubles. 1.1 billion CAD. 1.12 billion AUD. 728 million Euros. 598 million UK Pounds) offered by the USA isn’t even enough for one month’s operations. In short, the junta will have to find the money somewhere… either through increased shaking down of the populace or a Weimar-style inflation. Actually, I think that the worst option will happen… “austerity”, increased tax exactions, and hyperinflation. That’d doom the junta, but it has no other choice… save surrender now, which it isn’t going to do. The junta isn’t going to change its spots. They’re going to remain thieves and boodlers until they go down. The junta isn’t long for this world… but it’ll be remembered. It’ll be one of the nastiest episodes in Russian history. God do watch over the people of Little Russia… they’re going to need it.

BMD

 

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Anti-Saakashvili Candidate Claims Victory in Georgia Vote

00 Voting in Georgia. 27.10.13

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On Sunday, an opponent of outgoing president Mikhail Saakashvili claimed victory in the Georgian presidential election just hours after voting stations closed in the former Soviet nation on Russia’s southern border. Initial exit polls gave Giorgi Margvelashvili, from the anti-Saakashvili Georgian Dream party, about 65 percent of the vote in an election that marked the end of a decade in power for Saakashvili. On Sunday evening, outside his party headquarters in Tbilisi, where supporters had already taken to the streets to celebrate his win, Margvelashvili said, “I want to thank everyone who supported me. Thanks to the Prime Minister who facilitated today’s victory”. Margvelashvili is a close ally of Georgian Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who led Georgian Dream to a crushing victory over Saakashvili’s United National Movement in parliamentary polls in 2012.

Twenty three candidates took part in Sunday’s election in the South Caucasus nation, but the presidential position is less powerful than it was under Saakashvili, as laws passed earlier this year diluted presidential powers. Margvelashvili’s main rival, Davit Bakradze of the United National Movement, got about 20 percent of the vote according to exit polls. He said shortly after polling stations closed that the exit polls provided a “clear picture” and that he was prepared to work with the country’s new president. Both front-runners in the election pledged to continue policies of integration with the EU and NATO, and indicated a willingness to improve ties with Russia, which soured badly under Saakashvili.

According to the country’s election commission, turnout amongst Georgia’s 3.5 million registered voters was 46.6 percent. On Sunday evening, outgoing President Saakashvili said that Georgian voters had “spoken” and called on his supporters to respect the election result. A Columbia Law School graduate, Saakashvili enjoyed broad public support early in his presidency after he swept to power following Georgia’s 2003 so-called “Rose Revolution“, accomplishing successful institutional reforms. However, a disastrous defeat in a brief war with Russia in 2008 contributed to a later precipitous drop in his approval ratings. Saakashvili’s bitter political rival, Ivanishvili, is a secretive tycoon; Forbes estimates his fortune at 5.5 billion USD (175 billion Roubles. 5.75 billion CAD. 5.73 billion AUD. 4 billion Euros. 3.4 billion UK Pounds), making him Georgia’s richest man. Ivanishvili, who became prime minister last October, pledged to quit politics after the presidential vote, but hasn’t named a successor yet.

27 October 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20131027/184381244/Anti-Saakashvili-Candidate-Claims-Victory-in-Georgia-Vote.html

Editor’s Note:

Langley’s Charlie McCarthy is history. Shall Georgian-Russian relations improve? Only time will tell us, but Saakashvili’s party went down in flames. However, the turnout was meagre. Most voters didn’t like ANY of the choices on offer and stayed home. I seem to recall that most Georgian soldiers took “French leave” during the 2008 war. They didn’t like the prospects on offer and simply melted away, going home in such numbers that the government couldn’t punish them. A clash between pro-Western factions excited less than half of the voters. Does this mean that the rest are Left voters? God alone knows, but I wouldn’t bet against it…

BMD

 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Five Years After the Five-Day War, Everyone’s Learned Their Lessons

01g South Ossetia 2010

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Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict. Georgia was the first post-Soviet republic to engage in a direct military clash with Russia, certainly an extraordinary event. Georgia changed politically since then, with a new government coming to power last fall. The five-day war didn’t topple Mikhail Saakashvili, as many in Moscow hoped it would, but it did seriously mar his moral and political image. Little by little, Saakashvili’s government abandoned its pro-reform policy and turned into a repressive régime that wanted only one thing… to remain in power at all costs. When a strong political rival appeared three years later, it turned out that Saakashvili’s chair was much shakier than many thought.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream, which won the parliamentary elections last fall, promised to examine the causes of the military conflict and the role of Tbilisi in it. Some members of the current Georgian government said that the government made gross mistakes, but Georgia is unlikely to do a U-turn on its attitude toward the war. The war did major damage, and if a leading politician tried too abruptly to change the idea that Georgia was a victim in the events, the political consequences might be unpredictable. It’s unclear whether anyone should do this at all, although such a positive change would be of truly revolutionary importance for relations with Russia and a breakthrough in relations.

The new Georgian authorities are grappling with many problems. However, most predictions agree that the Georgian Dream will easily win the presidential election in October and that Saakashvili’s United National Movement is losing weight. Firstly, Georgia still heavily depends on the West, which sees Georgian Dream’s attempts to restore political order as a persecution campaign, even if there may be very serious reasons behind it. Therefore, the government should move slowly and act prudently. Secondly, people heaved a sigh of relief when the previous government’s pressure eased, but they soon became aware of drawbacks in the new democratic rule. Georgians are heatedly discussing their problems, and political life is in full swing, but there are few practical results so far. Furthermore, with the United National Movement discredited and no other serious political forces in the country, the government is in a dangerous position, with no opposition to keep it in check. Life without opposition corrupts, as we know from history. Nonetheless, it looks like Georgia learned its lesson and is unlikely to act opportunistically again.

The West took a warning from the Georgian example. The August 2008 war put an end to the idea of NATO’s eastward expansion, which the West hasn’t discussed since, at least not in practical terms. Only a major change in American policy would bring this issue back in focus. However, so far, events have gone in the opposite direction. NATO’s extensive development, which masked the lack of a strategy in the 2000s, gave way to attempts to adapt the bloc to the more practical tasks at hand. These tasks have very little connection with the Caucasus, and the bloc is no longer enthusiastic about the post-Soviet space as a whole.

The five years after the South Ossetian war were a time of quest for Russia. Many saw the defeat of Georgia as a major landmark and a psychological resurgence after more than 20 years of geopolitical retreat. At the same time, it became clear that Russia wouldn’t pursue an expansionist policy to regain the losses it sustained after the dissolution of the USSR, which the West and some neighbouring countries feared would be the case. Moscow is gradually abandoning the post-imperial mentality rooted in the Soviet collapse and related feelings in favour of a new vision of itself and its interests in the neighbouring countries. The Customs Union idea proposed several months after the war was a major improvement on all previous plans. It focuses on economic expediency and the logic of mutually beneficial integration rather than reunion for the sake of reunion.

Russia’s most controversial postwar move was the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the five years since, Russia hasn’t convinced any major country to do the same, and it’s unlikely to succeed any time soon. Moscow had to make the decision because the situation was rocky and they needed to stabilise the state of affairs. Nevertheless, it hasn’t resolved the problem. It only put the political and diplomatic conflict on ice, and it’s a fact that what’s frozen sometimes melts. A final settlement will come only when we find a solution that suits all sides, which means that aggravation is still possible, even though the status quo is stable and no one wants an escalation.

One can describe the South Ossetian war, which is deeply rooted in the dissolution of the USSR, as the closing page in a long chapter. The global financial crisis, which broke out a month later, put into question the results of an era that began in the 1990s and was a time of triumph for the West and its market ideology. It also engendered processes that have made things even more problematic. The Arab Spring, which began two-and-a-half years after the South Ossetian war, further complicated matters. There’ll be many more such events before a new world order emerges from the chaos. Russia paid a high price for being a lead actor in 20th-century history. It had its share of shocks and would rather be a spectator from now on, unless a new play develops in direct proximity to its borders.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti8 August 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/columnists/20130808/182661056/Uncertain-World-5-Years-After-the-5-Day-War-Everyones-Learned.html

Editor’s Note:

The above is far different from the narrative that’s still bruited in neocon and interventionist circles. They claim that Georgia was the totally-innocent victim of Russian neo-imperial aggression. Such wasn’t so… indeed, they’re the most disgusting apologists for AMERICAN neo-imperialism. Since 1991, American neocons and interventionists have been drunk on their ”victory” in the Cold War. Factually, the Cold War ended in 1987, after the Reykjavik Summit, not the 1991 implosion of the USSR, which was something else altogether (and had nothing to do with Socialist vs Market ideologies, in any case). America has run riot… showing all concerned that the leading elements of the USA are greedy, self-centred, and violent; they’re incompetent, uncivilised, uncultured, and indecent, not fit for the role of a “world leader”. That’s true of both the Right and Centre in American politics (there’s no Left in the USA… the last Leftists were FDR and Henry Wallace).

We see the moral bankruptcy of the trend in the USA (and the West, in general) that’s been regnant since the time of Slobberin’ Ronnie. “Might makes right” has run rampant in the USA… “Greed is Good”, “The race goes to the swiftest”, and “You earned it” sum up its evil credo. It’s Social Darwinism (actually, a misnomer, as it owes everything to Spencer, not Darwin) writ large. America’s become a McMansion… glitzy on the outside, cheap softwood plyboard inside (with the termites busy at work). It’s time to put things right… but shall we? That’s up to YOU…

If we don’t, the consequences will be dire… I’m not advocating chaos and bloodshed, I’m predicting that it could happen if we don’t scrap our present neoliberal Rightwing arrangements… that’s two very different things…

BMD   

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