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Georgia, Russia: “What's Next?”

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced the end of the so-called “peace enforcement” operation yesterday. LJ user varfolomeev66Radio Echo of Moscow journalist Vladimir Varfolomeev – asked this question on his blog: “What's next?”

He wrote (RUS):

I'm not referring to Georgia now.

The Russian government has used every serious crisis as a reason for yet another tightening of the screws and strengthening of its own positions. After the [Moscow apartment blasts of 1999], the [Second Chechen War] began, and Putin came to power. After [the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster] and then [the Nord-Ost theater siege in 2002], [ORT and NTV TV channels] were finally suppressed. After [Beslan school siege of 2004], regional elections were canceled.

What is the regime up to now?

Here are a few comments to this post:

oleg_kozyrev:

- Control of the internet

varfolomeev66:

Considering that there's almost nothing uncontrolled left, this is possible.

humanist_us:

They'll tighten the remaining screws on the internet.

And [Radio Echo of Moscow] ;)

Though you were definitely trying hard not to annoy our two dwarfs [with your coverage of the crisis]

Blogging from Tbilisi, LJ user oleg-panfilov – Oleg Panfilov of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situationsposted the day's summary on his blog and explained (RUS) what the five-day crisis might mean for Georgia politically:

Today was the day of emotions.

First, an incredibly huge rally in the center of Tbilisi and people crying during Saakashvili's address.

Second, a day of waiting, while the politicians were discussing and expressing opinions on Georgia and its relations with Russia.

And finally, Georgia's departure from [CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States]. For now, in the form of a political statement, but after a while, in a matter of a few days, Russia will automatically turn into an occupying force not just formally, but legally as well, because it will lose its status of a “peacekeeper” on behalf of CIS. And then, in accordance with all international laws, any presence of [Russian] troops on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia can be recognized as illegal.

To put it differently, yet another military adventure has turned into [a nothing].

I don't know what kind of thinking overwhelmed Russian military commanders (of course, if there was any thinking involved at all), but Georgia has managed to endure and avoided getting back into the state it was in during the Soviet times. That is, a state of a [“large shashlyk restaurant”] for the Russian nomenclature.

If we analyze what's happened, we'll find many arguments both in favor of Georgia, and in favor of the imperial ways of today's Kremlin. One thing is clear, though – Georgia is not going to turn into a different country, it has tasted freedom in the past five years, has tasted democracy, despite the fact that many people do not like it.

Now it's up to other remnants of the Soviet empire whether they are going to continue living the way they did or will learn from Georgia.

Tomorrow is another day of waiting.

Below are a few comments:

mormegil11:

Georgia has lost South Ossetia and Abkhazia. When euphoria ends, gray everyday life will begin – without money transfers from [relatives working in] Moscow, without sea and air transport connection [with Russia], without working banks – and then the size of the catastrophe will grow larger than the size of the naive and excited crowd at the rally.

This war has no [winners or losers]. There is guilt, a feeling of enormous guilt before the dead ones: Georgians, Russians, Ossetians, Ukrainians, Dutch… And what is membership in CIS, or NATO, or anyplace else compared to this guilt…

rousyn:

“without money transfers from [relatives working in] Moscow”

Re-orientation of labor migration to the West? Isn't his progress? […]

realpushkin:

Oleg, you are wrong, unfortunately. […]

1) NATO countries and allies in general are not going to get themselves involved in a war with Russia, if it happens again – this is [counterproductive] for everyone.

2) Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not going to become part of Georgia even as autonomies – most likely, Russia will recognize their independence.

3) If it is proved that civilians died in Tskhinvali because of [the use of Grad multiple-launch rocket system] – Saakashvili will not have a chance to join [any organization]. […]

129 comments

  • DREED

    I am a proud American and we do not like world conflict were not much different then the days of the Cold War Nuclear conflict is very much alive!!! But to my Canuck friend grow up, if it weren’t for the U.S. your country would be split in two the French Side and the English side, your still loyal to the British Crown anyway. Also the Canuk’s economy thrives on the back of America as well as your protection from foreign enemies. As for Georgia there is aggrevated aggression on there side as well as the Russians and the U.S. must tread lightly because those people in that region love to fight and bringing the two biggest boys on the street each for there own side would only spell Disaster!!!

  • To: The Angel

    I agree with some of your points. I think, however, most anti-American countries already know that the USA is stretched too thin to protect Georgia. Iran attacking Isreal? I seriously doubt it. USA would definately respond to that and Iran would be a wasteland afterward. I think you may be right, however, this move moves us closer to a global conflict. USA may be forced to respond to this crisis if strategists and analysis predict instability in the Middle East. Perhaps the USA should contain it’s global interests and stick to one region.

  • John Lee

    The situation in Georgia seems to be teetering toward ethnic cleansing. Russian and pro-Russian Ossetian troops going door to door is a recipe for disaster

    And Brian – The U.S. is the “world’s biggest war criminal?” Really? Maybe you mean that expectations have not been met given a high standards for U.S. behavior.

  • ppavel

    Lawrence, AFAIK most hurt people in Georgia are actually South Ossetians, who actually suffered from conflict with Georgia, not Russia. Sure, the will get all the help they need: “The Pentagon, meanwhile, said it will be reviewing the needs of the Georgian military, battered in more than four days of all-out fighting with Russian forces over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.”. I think Georgians are out of shells now, right.

    For years US propaganda became more and more pointless and now it can effectively compete with the one of Soviet Union in the times of Cold War. Please think a bit and consider many sources of information.

    This is a geopolitical game, US considered with it’s “natural interests” in Caucuses, Saakashvilli worried about his role as a president and Russia worried about NATO expansion. No time to worry about people.

  • V

    Anonymous, Russia fought a war with one gun for two soldiers, sending a few thousand troops overnight is nothing.

  • ppavel

    I hope anyone on this topic will ask themselves why they do believe what they do. I also encourage everyone to read some history of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

    Russia and US are currently deep in information war against you and me. So don’t give up that easy. Russia has long history of imperial politics so has US. When

    Sceptic, when you’re talking about Russian history in “Chechnya …, and in Afganistan, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and so on earlier” can you remember the role US played in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afganistan now? :) BTW what do you know about Chechen wars?

    The World is not so simple. And if anyone still thinks that US or Georgia or even Russia seek for a good of all of us i strongly suggest conducting a short reality check.

    Speaking about Mikhael Saakashvilli… Just my 2 cents. This guy has serious personality problems and total lack of any kind of shame. He produces insane reports and being contradicted by Reuters’ and AFP’s correspondents being at the places he’s talking about doesn’t humiliate him a little bit. Truth is nothing, attention is everything.

    There’s no “bad Russians”, “good Georgians” etc etc etc in this conflict. Things are MUCH more complex no matter how much you want to believe in simple explanations.

  • Brian

    To you Americans,
    If you want to debate the facts, I’d be happy to, but hurling personal insults is indicative of someone who obviously doesn’t have the facts and is incapable of intelligent debate. Canada has a French province of Quebec, who, for the past few years, has toyed with the idea of independence. Canada did not threaten them with a military response, but instead, aloowed them to hold a vote on separation. The vote failed. Had it passed, Quebec would now be independent with Canada’s blessing and best wishes. There would have been no conflict at all, had Georgia taken this attitude, and allowed the South Ossetians and Abkasians put independence to a vote. But instead, they attacked a territory who’s citizens have expressed a desire for independence, and if indeed, South Ossetia is part of Georgia, it’s military attacked and fired on it’s own people. Having done that, how does Georgia now expect to govern those areas, except by military occupation and marshall law? Do you think now that the South Ossetians will ever agree to be ruled by tblisi? Never! It is like a bad marriage, you cannot keep and control someone who does not want to be with you. But your attitude seems to indicate that you are the kind of man who would beat his wife for trying to leave. As for America being Canada’s best friend…you have obviously talked to very few Canadians on the subject, and most Canadians are too polite to tell you how they really feel. But we all still remember how Bush accused Canada of being responsible for 9/11, until it was revealed that the terrorists were from Florida, not Canada. We’re still waiting for an apology, and then to add insult to injury, Bush then threatened us with the case for war by saying “If you’re not with us, you’re against us”. One thing about living so close to the U.S., us Canadians have known for a long time that the U.S. does nothing for anybody unless there’s something in it for them. We keep waiting for the U.S. to pick a fight with us once their resourses run out, but we’re not worried about it, because up until Vietnam, the U.S. only lost one war…any idea who it was against?

  • Hooper

    This war although only five days long, marks the end of the strategic expansion of NATO towards Russia. A new dynamics will start and a new balance will be found. US has done too many stupid things and spend too much money they don’t have so if anyone such as those in Georgia still expect it to stand against Russia for them, think again. Ukraine and Poland are on the top of the list.
    Saakashvilli is a joke and a stupid fool who practically ruined his own country. Now the two breakaway regions will be totally lost and there will be no bright future for that country for a while. In such a situation, common people suffers the most but they deserve it, considering that it was them who elected the fool who created the situation. As far as US and Russia are concerned, this is only one tiny step in there big plans and means nothing much at all.

  • Brian

    Hooper,
    I agree with you completely about Saakashvilli, he is a joke, but what else could we expect from an American educated lawyer? Of course he’s an American puppet, the same as Viktor Yuchenko in Ukraine and his American wife. But Ukraine would be an interesting dynamic, as they better be careful when they start issuing threats to Russia about closing their ports to Russian ships, ports that Russia has a lease to. Winter is coming and so before those dimwits in Kiev start issuing threats, they should be praying it will be a warm winter, or they run the risk of freezing their tushes off when Russia turns off the taps in retaliation.As far as a conflict with Russia, a civil war within Ukraine could be a more realistic scenario, since the country could be divided almost perfectly down the middle north to south, with Ukranians living in the western half, while the industrial eastern half and Donetsk region is entirely ethnic Russian. I really think the U.S. will find confronting Russia in a military showdown is a far different situation then attacking all these small countries like Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam and so on. Russia will be an opponent that can give them their monies worth and more.

  • Katie

    Brian,

    I don’t think Georgian are that stupid not to understand the true politics of the US-Russia power/muscle-flexing battle behind all this. They also understand very well that they are the playground of this filthy politics, but Georgia also understands that with its geo-political placement it has almost no chance of survival without the protection of one or the other. I completely agree with your points about the pipeline, but this is a matter of choice for Georgia and when you measure and compare the extent of brutality committed by the two countries the choice becomes clear.
    I understand why you would resent American politics and you are by far not the only one in this, but if you had had the opportunity to experience and feel the direct impact of the viciousness of the Russian-led Soviet regime, you would understand why Georgia is so desperate for help today.

    One more point about the pipe-line… yes, there is truth to it that if Georgia did not have the pipeline, the United States would not care less about the country… but I guess, all I can say is good for Georgia that it has the pipeline, because is not the world politics all about the bargaining power???

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