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Georgia, Russia: More Reports On the Conflict From Russophone Bloggers

See Global Voices special coverage page on the South Ossetia crisis.

Blogging from Poti, a Georgian port city whose “oil terminal, port facilities and a nearby railroad junction” were attacked by Russian fighter jets shortly after midnight Saturday, 27-year-old LJ user pepsikolka, an ethnic Russian citizen of Georgia, posted these hurried reports (RUS) on Aug. 8 and 9:

Aug. 8, 2008 – 1:23 PM

My colleagues have been drafted, some of them early in the morning, I'm shocked, can't understand what's going on and where to look for the truth – Georgian channels say one thing, Russian say something else, what's going to happen???

***

Aug. 9, 2008 – 12:50 AM:

The port has been bombed, we're sitting in the street, scared, they say some people have been wounded. Pray for us.

[…]

alchutoff:

[…] That's ours [Russians] who are bombing you, right?

pepsikolka:

Oh God. I don't know, but that's what they are saying.

***

Aug. 9, 2008 – 1:07 AM:

They are done bombing the port, we're out in the street, God save us.

***

Aug. 9, 2008 – 11:48 AM:

It was quiet during the night, but no one went to bed. There's no TV, we're reading the news from our phones. Scary. My friend, a colleague, has been wounded, and there are the dead ones, seven people from the port, they say, and there are also the dead among those mobilized after the bombing. I've no reason to lie, and those commenters who have doubts just don't know anything about me, I am Russian myself, and that's why I'm writing about facts here, so that you knew, we are alive, but scared. I want peace and this is all.

***

Aug. 9, 2008 – 2:20 PM:

[…] The city is nearly empty, I've stayed, [because] I've got my pets, and mama doesn't want to go anywhere. We are home. There's not a single drop of gasoline in the city. Panic. Ships are honking often. […]

[…]

antifalsehood:

[…] You were the ones who got yourselves involved in the slaughter, you trust your [Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili] and his circle, and here's what you get. Of course, I don't believe that everyone is as much of a bastard as your [Saakashvili] is, but you'll sure answer for the thousands of dead Ossetians. Watch your asses since you've got no souls anymore.

night_the_only:

Do you understand what you are saying and to whom?

pepsikolka:

I didn't want to get into it, as I feel I'll get a full load for it, but still, I'll say it – why do you assume that we support Saakashvili and do not condemn what's been done in Tskhinvali? Here're the people sitting here, some of them support [Saakashvili], others don't, but the bomb sees no difference between those who supported him and those who didn't.

(A more detailed post by LJ user pepsikolka, written on Aug. 10, will be translated later tonight.)

Oleg Panfilov – LJ user oleg_panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations – happened to be spending his vacation in Georgia. He posted this comment (RUS) about air strikes on the Georgian town of Gori, carried out by the Russian forces on Saturday morning:

A few hours after I had passed Gori, the “peacekeepers’ fighter jets” hit the town. One plane was downed – one pilot died, the other was arrested and is being interrogated.

It's hard to understand what they are trying to achieve by hitting [outside of] South Ossetia, but it looks like Russia is becoming more and more like the Soviet Union…

If someone in the Kremlin hopes that this will split Georgia and the Georgian society, they are deeply mistaken – all the opposition leaders announced their support for [Mikheil Saakashvili]. Even [Irakli Okruashvili], the [dismissed former] minister of defense, said he was ready to go to South Ossetia as an ordinary soldier.

[…]

There is no panic in Tbilisi, but many friends are calling me, incredulous – they [knew Russia was capable of a lot], but [to act like this]… […]

A day earlier, on Aug. 8, LJ user tanelorn asked a question (RUS) about the situation in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, in the tbiliseli LJ community, set up for “all those who consider [Tbilisi their native city]:

Are things quiet in Tbilisi? How does it all reflect on the life in the city?

Here are some responses:

le_petit_tank:

It was quiet during the day, although, of course, people do worry. They are listening to all newscasts on all available channels – Russian and Georgian. And in between the news, we were watching the opening of the Olympics. They say they were catching people right in the street and sending them to draft centers. But I won't risk asserting that this is actually so…

satis_fiction:

My brother called me and said that they'd announced mobilization. He went to sign up, there were many like him there, who came by themselves.

[…]

vtar_vtar:

I don't think it has [affected life in the city] in any way. Of course, it was somewhat strange to see how in small open-air cafes they were playing news on TV instead of [pop music] videos. And, of course, those families that had their boys drafted are worried. Otherwise, nothing special.

28-year-old Tbilisi-based LJ user shupaka wrote (RUS) about an unpleasant sense of déjà vu, brought about by the announcement of mobilization of the troops in Georgia; the current situation has reminded her of the conflicts that Georgia had found itself in in the early 1990s:

…and one more observation, totally silly: the word “mobilization” inspires the same disgust in me as it did when I was a child. Doesn't matter if you're 13 or 28.

North Ossetia-based LJ user alan-tskhurbaev wrote (RUS) about a mobilization of a different kind, supposedly taking place in South Ossetia now:

[North Ossetian] volunteers in [South Ossetia].

There are many of them. And I have to admit that I was mistaken, thinking that in case of a war only a few would show up. A friend has just returned from the border […], says many people are crowding there, arriving in their own cars. They are letting everyone in, at their own risk. At least one car goes through every few minutes, he says. He even said that some guys went there in their new BMW X5. Ossetians have not deserted each other. Turns out that in peaceful times we dislike each other, act arrogantly towards some, make fun of others. But as soon as a war begins (and Ossetians have probably lost count of all their wars by now) – we are together. […]

Elsewhere in the Russophone blogosphere, there seems to be plenty of confusion about what's actually going on in South Ossetia and Georgia now. Take, for example, this post from last night (RUS) in the ru_politics LJ community, by LJ user er_v, and some of the comments it generated:

Can anyone tell me whether there are Russian troops in [Tskhinvali] or not?

***

mr_quietest:

Judging by everything, no.

[…]

beekjuffer:

Judging by what?

deneb_altay:

There are, don't worry.

nurmanov:

[Judging] by many things: the lack of pictures, the demands of the Russian journalists to allow them safe passage out of Tskhinval…

[…]

er_v:

No, but if we took Tskhinvali, they would definitely show it on the news. […]

beekjuffer:

We already took it. Then Georgians took something, too. Then we were pushing them out. Judging by everything, it will continue like this for a long time.

[…]

elf_ociten:

And the Roksky Pass [on the Trans-Caucasus Highway] has been blown up, too :)

mr_quietest:

Not sure.

[…]

Regarding the alleged destruction of the Roksky Pass, LJ user som, a Russia-based Georgian, posted this item (RUS) last night:

URGENT

ON SATURDAY EVENING, AUGUST 9, GEORGIAN TROOPS BLEW UP ROKSKY PASS, THROUGH WHICH HUMAN PERSONNEL AND MILITARY EQUIPMENT WERE BEING SENT FROM RUSSIA TO THE FIGHTING ZONE IN TSKHINVALI REGION.

Some two hours and about 50 comments later, however, LJ user som admitted (RUS) that there had been no confirmation of this report and that this could be part of the “information war.”

29 comments

  • Ivan

    Everybody from other countries!!!
    Stop fu%king crying abou georgian airport!
    South Osetia – IS NOT a part of Georgia!!! Its an independend state from 1991!!! And Russia DOESN`t WANT to get back Georgia!!! F%ck them! Let them live without us separately! We didn`t stop them in1991 and NOBODY wants this timid country to get back to Russia`s borders! NOBODY and NEVER! Read more history books instead of stupid wanching your CNN and other unprincipled wholly purschased “so called News” channels!
    Look from 18-th century – NOBODY obliged Georgia to come to Russian borders! Georgians by themselves comes to us to be under protection!!! And when they wanted to leave us – we just said “GOOD BYE” – and ALL! BUT South Osetia in the begining of 20-th century WAS NOT a part of Georgia! Why stupid georgians want to gain it???
    Better ask citizens of any country surrounding Georgia!
    Georgia ATTACKED citizens of Tshinvaly yet 07/08/2008!!! and KILLED more than 2000 people (most of them were russians)!!! Artillery and tanks fired at peacefull civilians whole night! And if russain tanks not enter in S Osetia – than georgians dogs killed much more people!!!
    2/3 of population of Tshinvaly HAD RUSSIAN PASSPORTS!!!
    What did you expect??? What did you do if yours people be killed in SUCH WAY???
    Russia MUST interfere!!! Its an aggression from military Georgia against South Osetia!
    Just READ HISTORY, stupid “theoretics”! Its just an INTERNAL business of several states – South Osetia, Abkhasia, Georgia and Russia! We can manage it without your f$cking help! Iw USA (and others from “gang”)not to mailtain Georgia – this conflict was never started!
    But now – relax and just look at the result of your bloodlust policy!
    LET RUSSIA SOLVE THIS TROUBLE!!! If USA has F$cked your minds – we will never let ANYBODY to F%ck us!!!

  • Branislav

    Do you understand that Georgian “president” was elected in Washington and all is coked there it is direct attack on Russia. USA start the Georgian war Sakash…. is only paid student. Now is only question how far it will go.

  • Alvin

    Macdonald seemed too biased for any logical analysis. Even if not 2000, BBC and CNN claims hundreds (bad enough). Can you show me one credible set of news that S. Ossentia was not destroyed, no innocent S. Ossentians have been killed? The death tolls in S. Ossentians were not caused by Georgians, but self-inflicted? caused by the Russians to put on a show?

    I would be interested to know. How ridiculous the media and wild imagination can get

  • Rey

    What for Russia protects Осетию it is possible to understand!
    Explain what for Georgia has attacked on Osetiu? If it not economic or political business of USA, what it?!

  • Alvin

    The Georgean president thinks he can just occupy S. Oseutia without any Russian intervention. So, Georgeans, for all of you suffering now, blame your president, blame yourselves, don’t blame others for not helping you.

  • Maconald

    Hey, Rey even forgot that Ossetia has attacked Georgian villages (as least as Georgian accused if it is too biased). There are so many Georgian villages in South Ossetia and South Ossetia is not owned by Ossetia alone but also Georgian.

    It seems that lives of Georgian in residence of South Ossetia worth nothing. It is completely rightful for Georigia to protect Georigian within their de jure land while Russian so-call peacekeeper set around and watching cleansing done by Ossetian. This is valid point of interest.

  • Alvin

    Nope. Lives are precious. It is difficult when people use one crime to explain another like you do. Now, the Russians will be killing the innocent Georgians and bring in the case of ‘are S. Osseyians’ lives not prescious’ argument? So, it will never end. What has happened is that Georgia had openly admitted to have launched a large, full-scale attack on 08Aug which started it all. Violate the ceasefire, violate the Olympic spirit and ” the world leaders are at the Olympics. Time to attack a small country” argument (quote from the Georgean president on CNN) Don’t you think is is rather stupid? Anyway, good luck Georgia.

  • Ivan

    Georgian “president” is like a hairy mongrel that bite only by command. All this “theatre” was planned by US-instructors for 6-7 years! Of course they use reporters as a part of theirs informational war!
    You can blame Russia in all sins BUT before try to read history about russian-georgian relationship from 1800 year for example/ And take a look at MAPs of Caucasus regiot – just to understand that Osetia WAS NOT a part of Georgia. But SAAKashvilly for some reason tried to gain new territory of S Osetia regardless of the fact that most people of Osetia are russians! and they dont want to live in 4-th Reich (with ADOLF the Second HITLER)!
    By the way – Do you know that STALINs last name was DGUGASHVILLY – he was georgian too!!!

    Why georgian president begins aggression? To join NATO by asking for “help” and begin great world war! This mother F$CKER killed more than 2000 people and after that he is asking for help? This is like if Ben Laden after 11-th of September asked NATO to defend him from USA :)) ABSOLUTELY ABSURD!!! But SHOW MUST GO ON ! EVERY WESTERN CHANNELS SHOWS HIM AS A VICTIM …
    But yours CNN and BBC screaming in all throats “Russia bombed Georgian towns”! Either You are so stupid or you all just interesting in destroying oug great country soever. Bitches! Who cares of your opinion? Aggressor must be punished!!! Even for that reason – to NOBODY else and NEVER even thought to attack Russian people!
    Russians NEVER attacked first! NEVER! WE HAVE EVERYTHING we need! Plenty of room! Best minds! Oil, gas, metalls, wood! WE NEED NOTHING from the rest of the world! And we need not any new territory! BUT NOONE MAY KILL OUR PEOPLE AND STAY UNPUNISHED! nota bene !!!

    And by the highest standards it doesn’t matter if even all pro-USA countries will be against our actions! We are strong enough to beat incensed dog if it bites everybody. Just to keep peace in North Causasus!
    And you all – keep an eye at your borders and never give advises if you are looking at world through your TV-bOX!!!

  • Ivan

    Before arguing – read the history of our relations first:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Georgia_(country)#The_18th_century_and_Russian_annexation

    it can explain many details…

  • Rey

    Ivan
    August 11th, 2008 at 18:33 pm
    The good answer!
    Completely I support!

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