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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]. [...]

  • http://CrystalAngelFashion.com The Angel

    This is a horrible thing for a bunch of reasons. For the Georgians it is the end of Democracy. For the Russians, it is the end of respect in the Global Forum. For America, it shows a weak country, unable to protect even the smallest country who we say are our allies.

    My country is a paper tiger, and the allies that hate America like Iran and Venezuela will take advantage of this.

    I predict this will get worse. Iran will attack Israel (or vice versa), Venezuela will attack Columbia, and Russia will continue its march to squish any pro-western ex-Soviet States, like the Ukraine.

    The World is out of control, the UN is silly and I believe that we are on the brink of World War III.
    I pray not.
    Peace and Love to All
    Torrence

  • Alvin

    Angel, you sound to pessimistic. All is not lost.
    Stupid leaders make mistakes that cost their nation dearly. In this case, Georgeans will look back and comment on their actions, or that of their democratically-elected leader.

  • Brian Pfeiffer

    First, I am sorry for anyone that is forced to live through a war zone. I am Canadian, living right next door to the United States, and I must say to the Georgian people..OPEN YOUR EYES!! The United States is only buddy buddy and acts like a friend when it is in THEIR interest!! If you did not have an oil pipeline, or were sitting next door to Russia so that the U.S. could possibly put a future military base in Georgia, they couldn’t care less about you…believe me!! The United States through their propaganda machine CNN (and FOX) has threatened and pointed the finger at Russia non-stop through this entire ordeal, but when Georgia first attacked and bombarded the capital of South Ossetia, leveling it with heavy artillery, killing thousands of innocent civilians, I didn’t hear a single word of condemnation from the Americans! I remind you that your government started this by launching a massive military campaign against South Ossetia, which could not possibly have been planned overnight and must have been weeks in the planning just by it’s sheer size. So your government is lying to you! One could only expect Russia to retaliate, so you have your own government to thank for the consequences. The United States is the world’s biggest war criminal, liar, and hypocrit ! Don’t trust them!!!
    Brian Pfeiffer

  • ppavel

    This is a stupid situation. I don’t like Russia but the way they acted was the only way for them and it was the only _legitimate_ way. They were effectively peace-keepers in the region, remember?

    I hope Georgian president Saakashvilli has committed political suicide in this conflict. Staking people lives for the “democracy” is an oxymoron.

    My worst upset from the last week was the reaction of US. I lost any faith in their politics.

  • Sceptic

    If Russian had thousands of dead civilians they would’ve shown them on the first day they entered Tshinval. So, probably, they have several dozen dead, which are not men belonging to Osetia militias. I’ve seen Russian TV report(http://www.vesti.ru/videos?vid=143720), called ‘Georgian crack troops’ atrocities’ – no corpses. More then 25 thousand of S. Osetia women, children and old were evacuated before or in the very beginning of campaign, according to Russian authorities. Therefore, when Tshinval was shelled by Georgians, mostly Osetian militia and Russian “peacekeepers” were in it. And when Georgians took the city it was, in turn, shelled by Russians. And we all know too well Russian record of fair reporing and peacekeeping in Chechnya now, and in Afganistan, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and so on earlier. So, don’t believe propaganda, wait till they show 2000 dead, not just TV coverage. You’ll have to wait a long time.

  • http://www.eran.ru eran.ru

    Saakashvili opened his face.He is not democrat ,he is new Stalin.By the way osetian soldiers wanted to destroy Stalin monument in Gori,Georgia(one place where you can see monument to him)

  • Anonymous

    This has obviously been something that Russia has been building up and planning for awhile now. There is no way logistically to have that many soldiers, tanks, combat aircraft & heavy artillery litterally overnight. It takes months to work out the logistics and build up supplies for this sort of operation. Not only did they have to support their “peace keepers” but also prep for the invasion. You just don’t flip a switch and everything is in place. You have to move food, water, ammunition, equipment and all that good stuff into strategic places so they are ready to support an invasion force the size of what Russia threw into Georgia.

    Also, it has been confirmed that S. Osetia militia is also in Gori looting the people and setting up internment camps in various areas that have been captured, all the while Russian APC’s are blocking roads to prevent any media from entering the captured areas. The Russians are also barring foreign observors from entering the same areas so they can monitor the situation on the ground so they can either confirm or debunk any of the claims made. This only deepens suspicians that Russia has something to hide and that maybe there is a little truth to the stories coming out of Georgia about ethnic cleansing. All the while throughuot this cease-fire, Russia is violating their own conditions they set forth by moving troops into towns and abandoned Georgian military outposts. This has been confirmed by even the Russians that they are doing this. They 5hrs ago, began setting up positions if you look on a map that cut the country in two. By cutting off the main highway to the capitol, and capturing the country’s ports, they are essentially trying to drain the countrys economy in hopes of undermining the leadership.

    However, as Shakashvilli stated and rings so true, no bullet, bomb or atillery shell is strong enough to destroy democracy.

    As far as the international response , I am very disappointed in the United States & European Union. I expected a much harsh condemnation of Russia, however, I am glad to see that humanitarian shipments are arriving at the Tibilsi airport. Do I expect them to put combat troops on the ground? No, however, I would like to see an impartial international peacekeeping force to monitor the situation. But again, Russia will not allow this. Such an action requires a green light from the UN Security Council in which Russia holds veto powers and would most assuradly use them.

    Would like to see the Georgian government release information on ways for foreign nationals to join their military in their hour of need to help repel the invaders. I understand our countries can’t commit their own troops because that would cause a serious escalation of the situation, but I myself, would very much want to stand by the Georgian people and help they defend their homes & most importantly, their freedom.

  • Lado

    Every single Georgian is hero who are defending what ours against brutal forces of Russian murderers. Rusians wants to crash the whole Georgia and send the signal to ex-soviet countries and the west you will be next sooner or later because we Russians can.

  • Chris

    Well, it’s open season on the United States again. Brian, you are living with too much anger and, apparently, it is convenient to blame the United States for your miserable existence.

    Ask your friends outside of your bubble if America has been a friend to Canada. They will tell you that Canada has had NO better friend than the United States.

    Are we perfect? Hardly. Have we made mistakes? To be sure. But we are far from the loathsome country painted in your misguided post. Maybe it’s time to cut back on the Molson’s.

  • Lawrence R. Decoste

    I really hope that the people of Georgia get the aid they need to survive in this conflict with Russia, I seen the pictures which are horrible. For years Russia has been a big bully toward its former soviet union lands. I don’t believe the united states should interfere in the peace process I think we should allow the europeans to take charge toward this conflict. We the united states don’t need to go to war or get involved with russia it would spark ww3 for sure. I hope that this war stops and both sides can agree on something to solve this ongoing crisis.

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