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Georgia, Russia, Serbia: The Use (or Abuse) of Some Historical Facts?

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

Serbian bloggers follow closely the situation in the Caucasus region. Many of them compared and analyzed the Kosovo issue and the newest opportunities in South Ossetia. Some of them were careful to express their own thoughts and mainly cited thoughts of politicians. Here is a post by Aleksandar T, a Serbian blogger who quoted in his blog some pieces of the last statements by Russia's government officials, who linked military operations in Georgia to certain historical events:

What is this, some propaganda, Western?…

“Russian operation in South Ossetia was very different in regard to American and [NATO operation against Serbia in 1999],
said [Sergey Lavrov], Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister, in an article published in American [Wall Street Journal]. According to his words, when the initiators of bombing campaign finished to attack the military targets, it turns into the attacks on bridges, television towers, passenger trains, civilian objects”, including a direct hit into China's Embassy building in Belgrade.

As far as Russia is concerned, “it has applied force in keeping with the International Law, its own right to defense and the obligations which result from agreements related to conflict in South Ossetia,” said Lavrov. “Russia could not allow that its peacekeepers quietly watch how, right before their eyes, it commits acts of genocide like Bosnian city – [Srebrenica] in 1995,” said Lavrov.

[Rogozin]: [Saakashvili] is not [Gavrilo Princip]

“Russian envoy to NATO Dmitri Rogozin compared the situation in Georgia with the positions of powerful countries before the beginning of the First World War, emphasizing that it is unavoidable that the relationships between Russia and Western countries would become colder.

“The current atmosphere reminds me of the situation in Europe from 1914, when the powerful countries clashed because of one terrorist. I hope that Mikheil Saakashvili will not go down in history as a new Gavrilo Princip,” said Rogozin.

Here are some comments from Aleksandar T's blog.

Doctor Wu says:

It is very clear. In the quarrel with the Western countries Russia is using a concept and a clear picture which are known to them. A mention of Srebrenica is a slap to Dutchmans and Gavrilo Princip is mentioned in the context of how Englishmen think and talk about him: the fool that pulled them into an expensive and unnecessary war. Reading English reactions, this reminder is effective.
Serbia could learn very much from this access.

blackbox92:

I think that Russia proved it is not different from the West when its interest is in question. [...] Just in this way Russia indirectly supports the position of the West about Kosovo.

Aleksandar T, the author of the post, also got involved in the discussion with commentators. In one of his replies he used editorial article of the Times. Unfortunately, he did not write the date of publishing of this article.

The Western countries change their foreign political priorities, it's written in the lead article of the Times. They exchange their recent struggle against terrorism for stamping out nationalism of new powerful countries such as Russia and China and their approaching to democratic ideals.

Entire editorial article is, essentially, an analysis of the foreign policy of the West, that is, the story about one more “new world system.” Among other things, the overflow of the world wealth and power from the West into the East is especially underlined and such political and economic shifts as the reflection of the competition of ideas worry much more than “conflict” nations which we could watch at the stadium “Nest” in Beijing over two last weeks, this international analysis explains.

According to the editorial writer's opinion, China, Russia and Arabic countries became rich countries because of inexpensive production of oil and its high market price. They triumph because of social inefficacy, economic instability and exaggerated foreign politics self-confidence by the West.

Such position of the world's major powers threatens the struggle for global democracy and might result in the creation of a world community which mainly defines mutual threats.

Regardless of whether the new president of for now the only world major power will be Barack Obama or John McCain, the West will have, in any case, to face the new world system, it was concluded at the end of article.

  • Jet

    “Disrespect” is the word to use in terms of the treatment by the West to Russia during the massacre which occured on the eve of the Olympics in China. The West in particular the US of A is two faced, done whatever it has accused Russia of commiting in South Ossetia, in Iraq and got away with it. Considering Iraq is not a regional threat to the USA being thousands of miles away from them and it does not categorize under their regional sphere of influence, the USA has comitted an act by far more serious than what the Russians had done in South Ossetia(Defend its regional interest and its Citizens from Massacres of the Georgian Puppet Dictator/Puppet master being the USA) It is well and truely choreographed by the west considering the extreamly biased news coverage the give over in the West, to brainwash their Citizens into beleiving what they want them to beleive and to go against the Russians. Bottom line is, the Russians and most of the intelligent ones in the West see through this hypocricy the US is doing and cleverly and indirectly coercing the Europeans to do so too and we just want to get over with this as we want to get over Iraq. So USA please just get the Hell out of the Region cos we can well and truely smell what you are up to. Georgia’s puppet president has done harm not only to Russians but to his own as well. He deserved to be punished for his crimes and the whole point for him doing this is just to get Georgia into NATO with huge costs of Russian and Georgian lives of course. Georgian puppet president had disrespect the Olympic truce as well which well and truely pissed off the Chinese for their first ever Olympic games they have prepared for 10 years and disrespected the World by doing so. So tell me why is the USA standing up for such an Idiot who had piseed off so many countried at a very volitile time and using submissive coercion towards the Europeans to act towards the Russians as they did towards the Iraqis? Russia should just place some missiles in Venezuela and Cuba just to piss the Americans off as they are placing missiles in Poland and the Czech repluplic and use the guise of a missile defence sheild against Iran and N Korea since they are just sitting on the fence between US and Iran. Just think back in the 70′s during the Cuban missile crisis when the Yanks kicked up a huge fuss when the Soviets wanted to place missiles in Cuba. How do you think the Russians feel now? Lets just hope to God that USA will not do something so rediculous and stupid again that it would provoke a major world war.

  • Apple

    I am so unhappy that bush administration follow the old Teddy Roosevelt’s policy – Big Stick Policy and divide countries, neighbors, made them fight and hate each other in its geopolitical intrests. Shame on you George Bush! The people are not so stupid and blind.

  • Dana Allen

    I wonder if the Clinton/Bush administrations not the dumbest or most venal bunch of fools since — forever. Starting with Bush I – American tendency to turn all things into economics or dogmatic economic theories as foreign policy — the US and Russian relationship began to fall apart. It got far worse under Clinton — a historical chance to remake a relationship for the better was blown to hell and gone. Bush II compouded matters with his utopian belief that anything HE does in the name of demmocracy and special interest corporatism is okay, including regime change regardless of the immediate interests of other nations. Personally, I think the OLD Soviet lunkheaded doctinaire communism was replaced by Baby Boomer American boboism: a brat’s belief that his point of view is the only one that counts – that THEY can change thousands of years of history and human nature if the lunk heads in DC or London are running things. Talk about dumb… Bush and Clinton before him redefine dumb. I notice establishment figure Steve Forbes while criticizing Russia’s advance into Georgia, put the US part in fracturing relations with modern Russia into some ontext. I hope Russians can overlook US presidents and ill informed Americans – they either get foofey cultural cow pies type information from the left OR blood and guts talk radio who need an ‘us agin them’ scenario to get ratings. BUT Bush – his place in history – he blew it. His narcissism and hubris vis a vis Georgia NOT to mention the Clinton and Bush part in creating Kosovo – another narco state – Islamist – as opposed to the narco state on the US southern border. I guess the establishment likes narco states – God only knows why. In any event, I hope the Russian realize the Georgian invasion of Ossetia might have been cover for set up for hitting Iran – to keep Russia occupied – or so goes one theory. In any event, this go round, the Russians might have to be the grown up in the global playroom. Pat the slightly retarded Bush Administration on the head, give them a lollipop, and then do what ya gotta do. For some Americans – the interests that surround Bush or Clinton before him, are more dangerous to US than to anyone else. I pray Russia realizes this may be her chance to be the adult and attempt to be peacemaker.

    Steve Forbes interview with Bill Bennett the other day. After slamming the Russians for moving into Georgia, and going along with the administration and McCain take on events – he at least had the guts to switch gears and give some background to events. He got into our part in Russia’s problems in the 90s, that color events today. To paraphrase: For the humiliation of Russia in the 90s, the US must bear the brunt – ‘we left them in the claws of the IMF. The Russian people saw democracy as horrible, resulting in corruption, theft, chaos and poverty. Forbes maintained that if they had democracy in the 90s, things would have worked out better — well DUHHHHHH!!!!!

  • Yuriy

    I just read an information on http://www.dailymail.co.uk that Georgian troops killed at least 2000 civilians and Russian troops killed 129 civilians….

    So, who was the aggressor? I think Europe must punish Georgia.

  • Adam I

    It may be worthwhile noting that a relatively prominant news agency (/ agenda setter) from the Mighty US of A points the finger at Georgia as the agressor, just as G Dubbs endorses a billion dollar check to the so-called nation (with “relief” in the memo).

    So far as the LA Times is concerned, The Russians motions were reactionary, countering the Georgians “surprise attack” in an effort to seize control of South Ossetia.

    I’m sure this is redundant to you news savvy individuals. Perhaps I am the only one numbed by the fact that an American media agency passed on its opportunity to further influence its citizens to fear all things cyrillic.

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