Monday, September 22, 2008

Media and telephone intercepts confirm Russia started the war

Mounting evidence shows that Russian forces were first to move into the Georgian region of South Ossetia.

This document presents evidence gleaned from• Publicly available Russian and western media sources and• Telephone intercepts of the Georgian intelligence services, described as credible by Western intelligence agencies and undenied by Russia.This document first presents a summary of the evidence. A second section follows listing the stories and their web links, reproducing extracts in the original language and, where necessary, adding a translation into English.The intercepts and the stories confirm that units of the Russian 58th Army moved into South Ossetia first, forcing the Georgian Armed Forces to react.The EvidenceTelephone interceptsEarly in the morning of August 7, at 3:41 am and 3:52 am, Georgian intelligence intercepted two mobile telephone conversations held by a South Ossetian border guard posted at the Roki tunnel by the name of Gassiev. His first name is unknown.Georgia provided the intercepts to US and European intelligence agencies and senior American officials have already found them to be credible. The Russian Federation has disputed their importance, but has not denied their authenticity.The New York Times independently translated and analyzed the transcripts. The full story appears in section 2.At 3.41 a.m., Gassiev told a supervisor at the South Ossetian border guard headquarters that a Russian colonel had asked Ossetian guards to inspect military vehicles that “crowded” the tunnel. Mr. Gassiev said, “The commander, a colonel, approached and said, ‘The men with you should check the vehicles.’ Is that O.K.?” When asked who this commander was, Gassiev continued, “I don’t know. Their superior. The one in charge there. The BMPs and other vehicles were sent here and they have crowded there. The men are also standing around. And he said that we should inspect the vehicles. I don’t know. And he went out.”At 3:52, Gassiev spoke to the supervisor again and informed him that armored vehicles had left the tunnel, commanded by a colonel he called Kazachenko. The supervisor asked Gassiev, “Listen, has the armor arrived or what?” Gassiev replied, “The armor and people.” Asked if they had gone through the tunnel, he said, “Yes; 20 minutes ago. When I called you they had already arrived.” Supervisor: “Are they a lot, much military vehicles?” Gassiev: “Well, Tanks, armored carriers and that.”These intercepts show that significant Russian forces, enough to “crowd” the Roki tunnel, entered South Ossetia some 20 hours before Georgian forces counterattacked.The New York Times reports that senior American officials find the intercepts to be “credible”.Significantly, Russia has not disputed the authenticity of the intercepts; merely their importance. The Russian explanation that these calls refer to a routine rotation of their peacekeeping troops is false. According to the peace agreement in force at that time, any rotation should have happened during daylight and all relevant parties should have been notified (i.e. the Georgian Government and OSCE) a month ahead of time. The previous rotation of Russian forces was in May 2008.Furthermore, prior to the publication of these intercepts, the Russian side had never mentioned any rotation on August 7 in any of their communications (e.g. their timeline of events, public data or statements) and it insisted that its troops entered the region only at noon on August 8.Western intelligence findings boost the credibility of these transcripts. Again according to the New York Times, the western services independently found that two battalions of the 135th Regiment moved through Roki either the night of August7 or the early morning of August 8.The New York Times story appears in the next section of this document.Why is this evidence only coming to light now, a month after the war started?The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs monitors mobile communications in South Ossetia carried over the Magti mobile network. Magti, which is one of Georgia’s three big providers, has an excellent network across the South Ossetia region, covering the territory with 20 cell towers. The local alternative is Ostelecom, a provider backed by the Russian Megafon network. It has a much more restricted reach based on a system of 5 cell towers, mostly serving the high-density areas around Tskhinvali. Crucially, it does not reach deep into the countryside. For that reason, Magti is widely preferred in the territory, especially by people who need to roam rural areas, such as officials, militia, border guards, truck and taxi drivers etc. They widely use Magti despite instructions by the separatist government to use Ostelecom.The Georgian Interior Ministry seeks to monitor all communications between officials in the territory. In line with legal requirements, the Ministry of Internal Affairs monitored the conversations of a significant number of officials of the paramilitary structures of the de facto authorities involved in illegal activitiesGeorgia’s Interior Minister received a report on the intercepts from Georgian counter-intelligence within hours of recording. He relayed the information to the President and other members of Government.The file with the recordings was lost during the war when the surveillance team moved operations from Tbilisi, the capital, to the central city of Gori. Georgian intelligence officers later sifted through 6,000 files to retrieve copies.This analysis is not complete. Hundreds of recordings remain to be evaluated. It is, therefore, possible that fresh evidence will become known in the coming days or weeks.Media storiesThe evidence gleaned from the telephone intercepts is corroborated by stories that have appeared in both Russian and Western media.These are summarised here; the next section lists links and the Russian originals.1. In a story from August 4, describes the relocation of units of the Russian 58th Army and of a regiment of the Pskov-based 76th Airborne Division to the Georgian border, adjacent to the northern entrance to the Roki Tunnel:Several battalions of the 58th Army of the North-Caucasus Military District, with permanent bases in the territory of North Ossetia, have been brought to the border of South Ossetia. Soldiers and military hardware have been moved to the end of the Roki tunnel, the only route that connects the two Ossetian republics.As was reported to LIFE.RU sources in the republic, the movement of military units started on the night of 2nd to 3rd August. Reportedly, convoys of military forces began moving out from their bases in the Kirov region of North Ossetia (in Elkhotovo village) and from Ardone. The relocation of Russian hardware to the proximity of the Roki tunnel means these troops can support the Peacekeeping Forces as quickly as possible.2. In a story from September 11, analyses the movements of the 58th Army and concludes as follows :“On August 7, the Russian regiment received an order to move towards Tskhinvali. It was set on alert and before nightfall reached the positions prescribed. By midnight it was possible to see the outbreak of shelling in Tskhinvali from where regiment was located.Between the Roki Tunnel and Tskhinvali there is only one such place [to see the shelling of Tskhinvali] : the village of Djava. So, the 135th regiment entered South Ossetia before the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali.”3. In an interview with the Russian Ministry of Defence’s publication Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), Russian armed forces Captain Sedristyi confirms his unit was ordered to Tskhinvali on August 7:‘"We were at the exercises,” captain Sedristyi starts his story. “It is not so far from the capital of South Ossetia, Lower Zaramakh—a nature preserve in North Ossetia. That's the place where we had our camp after the exercises, but on 7 August we were ordered to move towards Tskhinvali. We were raised on an alarm – and sent on a march."’Krasnaya Zvezda changed the date in its story from August 7 to August 8 following questions from Western media. Captain Sedristyi, it was explained, confused the dates because of an injury sustained during the fighting. According to the New York Times, Captain Sedristyi cannot be reached. The extract of the story in the next section quotes the original; the links to the doctored story and the original, kept in a Google cache, are given.4. On August 15, the daily Permskie Novosti, reporting about the war, quotes a conversation between a soldier and his mother:“ I have very little time, - the kid went on. – Look: we are here since 7 August. Well, the whole of our 58th army.”5. On August 17, Komsomoslkaya Pravda quotes Sergeant Alexander Plotnikov of the 693rd regiment of the 58th Army, who was interviewed in Rostov after being wounded in the fighting:“The gossip that the war would start soon went around in our regiment in the beginning of August. Nobody spoke about it officially. We understood everything, though, after two companies of our regiment were sent to the mountains, not far from Tskhinvali.”6. On September 2, Vadim Rachkovsky, a journalist for Moskovskyi Komsomolets, wrote on his blog:“As to the tank column. I see nothing particular about that. Attention! This is verified and nobody makes a secret from the fact that the battalion-tactical group of 693rd regiment of 58th army used to regularly move towards South Ossetia for military duty. And that’s from where they moved to Tskhinvali. Maybe this happened on August 7, maybe even earlier. This was not for the first time. Each time tension was rising, our tanks advanced to this direction. So, in this case Saakashvili says the truth.”7. According to BBC Monitoring World Media Monitor, on August 7, the Abkhaz separatist leader Sergei Bagapsh told Rossiya TV that a Russian battalion had entered the conflict zone:Abkhaz leader says Russian troops deployed in South OssetiaThe president of the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia, Sergey Bagapsh, has said that a Russian military battalion has entered the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia. His remarks, made at a meeting of the Abkhaz security council, were broadcast by the Russian state-owned TV channel Rossiya on 7 August. "I have spoken to the president of South Ossetia. It [the situation] has more or less stabilized now. A battalion of the North Caucasian [Military] District has entered the area," Bagapsh said. Source: Rossiya TV, Moscow, in Russian 1600 gmt 7 Aug 088. As the Russian military was preparing for the invasion, the Russian media was preparing to cover it. Said Tsarnayev, a freelance journalist working for Reuters, arrived in Tskhinvali on 7 August. In an article published on the website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Tsarnayev is quoted as saying:‘"At the hotel we discovered that there were already 48 Russian journalists there. Together with us, there were 50 people," Tsarnayev said. "I was the only one representing a foreign news agency. The rest were from Russian media and they arrived three days before we did, as if they knew that something was going to happen. Earlier at the border crossing, we met one man who was taking his wife and children from Tskhinvali."’---ConclusionThe telephone intercepts, their analysis and the Western and Russian media stories all indicate that the Russian armed forces entered the territory of Georgia in South Ossetia many hours before Georgia decided to counterattack at Tskhinvali. Some had progressed at least as far as Djava before nightfall on August 7.The Georgian Armed Forces received intelligence on August 7 that Russian troops north of the border had received orders to roll into Georgia. They received this information hours before Georgia conducted its military operation in response to the Russian invasion.Military necessity dictated the choice of Tskhinvali as the objective for the Georgian counterattack, as any topographical map makes clear—it was the only way the Georgian army could move from its core territory to meet the advancing Russian columns. The counterattack aimed for military targets and did not significantly damage the town of Tskhinvali itself, as a study by the UN using satellite pictures makes clear. (See, the media stories and analyst reports support the view that the Russian military designed its exercises of July 2008 to prepare Russian troops for an invasion of Georgia. A leaflet entitled Know Your Enemy, which was distributed to participating soldiers confirmed this view (see annex). The leaflet makes the target of the exercise clear, detailing the composition and main armaments of the Georgian Army.Stories, translations and links1. description of relocation of Russian units: analysis of the movements of the 58th Army“All roads lead to the Roki tunnel: the war started on provocative territory “11 September 2008 regiment, which has a permanent place of deployment in the village Prokhladni near Nalchik, was posted in Nizhny Zaramag after the exercises (2 August), writes Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star).Nizhny Zaramag is located a few kilometers from the Roki tunnel’s northern entrance. A checkpoint and customs post are located in this village. Russia and Georgia have different views as to whom the Roki tunnel belongs to. The Roki pass includes the Roki tunnel; an essential part of the Transcaucasian road. The Roki tunnel is the only connection linking South and North Ossetia. The Mamisoni pass is, in fact, the border between Georgia and Russia. These are extremely important strategic places from a military point of view. A regiment of the 58th Army was located in close proximity to this border, in the city of Zaramag close to the Transcaucasus roadway, and was able to cross the border of South Ossetia in the shortest time.On August 7, the Russian regiment received an order to move towards Tskhinvali. It was set on alert and before nightfall reached the positions prescribed. By midnight it was possible to see the outbreak of shelling in Tskhinvali from where regiment was located.Between the Roki Tunnel and Tskhinvali there is only one such place [to see the shelling of Tskhinvali] : the village of Djava. So, the 135th regiment entered South Ossetia before the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali.Russian original:Все дороги ведут в Рокский тоннель: война началась на провокационной территории Полк, имеющий место постоянной дислокации в поселке Прохладный под Нальчиком, после окончания учений (2 августа) был размещен в Нижнем Зарамаге, пишет "Красная звезда".Нижний Зарамаг находится в нескольких километрах от северного портала Рокского тоннеля; в этом поселке находятся пропускной пункт и таможня.Принадлежность Рокского тоннеля Россия и Грузия рассматривают по-разному. Рокский перевал включает в себя Рокский тоннель - важнейшую часть Транскавказской магистрали. Это единственная дорога, соединяющая Южную и Северную Осетию. Мамисоновский перевал - по сути, граница между Грузией и Российской Федерацией. Это крайне важные стратегические плацдармы с военной точки зрения. В непосредственной близости к границе в районе города Зрамаг на Транскаме был расквартирован полк 58-й армии, который в краткие сроки способен перейти границу Южной Осетии, отмечал накануне боевых действий августа российский полк получил команду выдвигаться к Цхинвали, был поднят по тревоге и до исхода дня успел прибыть на предписанный рубеж выдвижения. После полуночи из расположения полка можно было наблюдать вспышки артиллерийского обстрела Цхинвали.Между Рокским тоннелем и Цхинвали такое место только одно - Джава. Итак, 135-й мотострелковый полк вступил на территорию ЮО до начала грузинской атаки на Цхинвали, полагают СМИ.3. Krasnaya Zvezda interview of captain Sedristyi:“Life Goes On”By Irina Zhirnova,Krasnaya Zvezda3 September 2008Doctored story at story at“- We were at the exercises, - captain Sedristyi starts his story. – It is not so far from the capital of South Ossetia. Nizhnyr Zaramag - nature reserve in North Ossetia. That’s the place where we had our camp after the exercises, but on 7 August we got orders to move towards Tskhinvali. We were raised on an alert – and sent on a march.”Russian original:“- Мы были на учениях, - начинает рассказ капитан Сидристый. - Это относительно недалеко от столицы Южной Осетии. Нижний Зарамах - природный заповедник Северной Осетии. Вот там после плановых учений и стояли лагерем, но 7 августа пришла команда на выдвижение к Цхинвалу. Подняли нас по тревоге - и на марш.”4. Permskie Novosti interview of the mother of a soldier:“Soldiers from Perm got into the epicenter of the war”By Irina KizilovaPermskie Novosti15 August 2008 the morning of 10 August one of the mothers, who sent her son to Alania [in North Ossetia] less than 3 months ago received a call. “– Mom, I am just back from Tskhinvali.– What do you mean, from Tskhinvali?! There’s war down there! You were not supposed to be sent there!- I have very little time. Look: we are here since 7 August. Well, the whole of our 58th army. You are probably watching TV to find out what is going on over there? Today, we battled through from Tskhinvali to Vladikavkaz for arms supplies. Now we are going to fight through back there. That’s all, I am being called. Regards to everyone from me. Kiss you…Russian original:Утром 10 августа в доме одной из матерей, отправившей меньше трех месяцев назад своего сына в Аланию, раздался звонок. – Мама, я только что из Цхинвали. – Как из Цхинвали?! Там же война! Вас не должны были туда отправлять!– У меня очень мало времени, – продолжал мальчишка. – Слушай: мы там с 7 августа. Ну, вся наша 58-я армия. Ты же, наверное, смотришь по телику, что там происходит? Сегодня мы пробились из Цхинвала во Владикавказ за вооружением. Сейчас будем обратно пробиваться. Всё, зовут. Передавай всем привет. Целую…5. Komsomoslkaya Pravda interview of Sergeant Alexander Plotnikov:“We knew even in the beginning of August that the war would start”, Maria Zhuykova,Komsomolskaya Pravda17 August, 2008“The gossip that the war would start soon went around in our regiment in the beginning of August. Nobody spoke about it officially. We understood everything, though, after two companies of our regiment were sent to the mountains, not far from Tskhinvali.”Russian original:“- Слухи о том, что, скоро будет война, стали ходить в полку в начале августа. Никто официально об этом не говорил. Но мы все поняли, когда две роты нашего полка переправили в горы, недалеко от Цхинвала.»6. Blog of Vadim Rachkovsky, the journalist with Moskovskyi Komsomolets:2 September 2008 Vadim…what about this strange column of tanks or some other heavy armored vehicles that allegedly entered South Ossetia through Roki Tunnel in the evening of August 7? Georgian representative to UN is mentioning this on every session.Answer: As to the tanks column. I see nothing particular about that. Attention! This is verified and nobody makes a secret from the fact that the battalion-tactical group of 693rd regiment of 58th army used to regularly move towards South Ossetia for military duty. And that’s where from they moved to Tskhinvali. Maybe this happened on August 7, maybe even earlier. This was not for the first time. Each time tension was rising, our tanks advanced to this direction. So, in this case Saakashvili says the truth. What else to do? Wait until these tanks would pass through Roki tunnel?Russian original:И что слышно насчёт этой непонятной танковой колонны или каких-то бронемашин, которые якобы прошли в Рокский туннель 7 августа вечером в сторону Южной Осетии? Грузинский представитель в ООН на каждом заседании говорит об этом?--------А насчёт танковой колонны. На самом деле вообще ничего особенного в этом факте не вижу. Внимание! Доподлинно известно и этот факт особо даже не скрывается что батальонно-тактическая группа 693-го полка 58 армии регулярно выдвигалась в сторону Южной Осетии на боевое дежурство. Оттуда они и на Цхинвали пошли. Может это было 7 августа, а может и раньше. И это случилось не впервой. При любом обострении обстановки наши танки туда выдвигались. Так что Саакашвили в данном случае говорит правду.А что ж на делать прикажете? Ждать, когда его танки в Рокский тоннель пройдут?7. BBC Monitoring 7th August report separatist leader Sergei Bagapsh interview on Rossiya TV:BBC World Monitor is a subscription service. No link can therefore be given.8. Interview of Reuters photographer Said Tsarnayev, in Tskhinvali on 7 August:Scene At Russia-Georgia Border Hinted At Scripted AffairBy Brian WhitmoreRADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTYAugust 23, 2008Said Tsarnayev stumbled into a war.A Chechen freelance photographer with the Reuters news agency, Tsarnayev arrived in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, during the day on August 7. Travelling together with a colleague, Tsarnayev said he planned to take photographs of the environment and natural surroundings in the area for a project he was working on.Once in Tskhinvali, he discovered a virtual army of Russian journalists at his hotel.Speaking to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Tsarnayev, a resident of the Chechen capital, Grozny, said the Moscow-based reporters had been sent from various Russian media outlets days earlier, and were preparing to cover something big."At the hotel we discovered that there were already 48 Russian journalists there. Together with us, there were 50 people," Tsarnayev said. "I was the only one representing a foreign news agency. The rest were from Russian media and they arrived three days before we did, as if they knew that something was going to happen. Earlier at the border crossing, we met one man who was taking his wife and children from Tskhinvali."Late that night, armed conflict broke out between Russia and Georgia.'No Relationship To Reality'Tsarnayev's account could not be independently confirmed. But it is consistent with mounting indications that Russia had been planning an attack on Georgia in advance, and was just waiting for a pretext to carry it out.Russia's state-controlled media seemed extremely well-prepared to cover the outbreak of armed conflict in Georgia. Television networks immediately presented elaborate graphics with news anchors and commentators appearing to stick to disciplined talking points accusing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili of aggression, and the Georgian armed forces of genocide and ethnic cleansing.The country's best English-speaking officials were made readily available to Western media, where they relentlessly pushed Moscow's line on the conflict: Russia was simply protecting its citizens and peacekeepers in South Ossetia from atrocities at the hands of Georgia's military.In an interview with RFE/RL in the early days of the conflict, Steven Pifer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who is now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said Moscow's rhetoric and media narrative suggests they were preparing a large-scale operation."The rhetoric that is coming out of Moscow, ethnic cleansing and genocide, is just way over the top," Pifer said. "It's almost approaching the point where there is just no relationship to reality. But again, certainly the rhetoric is appropriate to a larger operation against Georgia to just stop and reverse whatever military gains the Georgians made in South Ossetia on [August 7]."The apparently well-prepared media narrative is only part of the picture.On August 3, authorities in Georgia's Moscow-backed separatist province of South Ossetia began evacuating hundreds of children to Russia. At the time, Georgian officials said the move could be a signal that separatist authorities, and their patrons in Russia, were preparing an offensive.South Ossetian authorities said at the time that the evacuations were a precaution in case Georgia attempted to retake the province by force -- something Moscow and Tskhinvali had been accusing Tbilisi of plotting to do.Speaking at a news conference in Moscow on August 21, the deputy head of Russia's General Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, reiterated Moscow's claims that the Georgian side was preparing to use force."We have complaints against the OSCE regarding the initial stage of the conflict -- they were informed by the Georgian side that there would be an invasion, but they didn't warn the Russian peacekeepers," Nogovitsyn said.In remarks reported by "The Washington Post," Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili said he gave the order for Georgian forces to "go out from their bases" at 6 p.m. local time local time on August 7, just one hour before Saakashvili announced a unilateral cease-fire.Months In The WorksKezerashvili said the Georgian troop movement was designed to deter South Ossetian separatists, who were firing across the de facto border into Georgian-controlled villages.But observers say the march toward war on Moscow's side began months earlier.In fact, hostilities began escalating soon after NATO delayed granting Membership Action Plans -- a key phase before full membership -- to Georgia and Ukraine at its summit in early April.Less than two weeks later, Vladimir Putin, who was in the last month of his presidency, signed a decree authorizing direct relations with and assistance for Georgia's two pro-Moscow separatist provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.Later in April, Russia deployed 1,500 additional troops, some of them heavily armed, to its "peacekeeping" contingent in Abkhazia without Georgia's consent -- an express violation of the 1994 cease-fire agreement.Russia also began shooting down Georgia's unmanned drone aircraft that were conducting reconnaissance over Abkhazia. Russian military aircraft also began regularly violating Georgian airspace near the separatist territory.In June, Russia deployed unarmed troops to Abkhazia to rebuild a rail link between Sukhumi and Ochamchira. At the time, Moscow presented the move as a humanitarian gesture to improve Abkhazia's transportation infrastructure. But U.S. and Georgian officials later pointed out that the railway was used to transport military equipment and munitions into Georgia during the conflict.Then, with everybody watching Abkhazia, the focus abruptly shifted to South Ossetia.In July, Russia's armed forces began massive military training exercises in the north Caucasus involving 8,000 servicemen and 700 pieces of military hardware. Russia's 58th Army, which would later spearhead the incursion into Georgia on August 8, was the key unit in those maneuvers.The 58th Army remained in the North Caucasus after the exercises. Shortly thereafter, Georgian and South Ossetian separatist forces began exchanging artillery, mortar, and sniper fire across the de facto border. Georgian officials accuse the separatists of instigating the exchanges, but South Ossetian authorities deny the allegation.Pifer said is appears that Russia laid a well-prepared trap for the Georgians, and Tbilisi took the bait."The Georgian leadership made a mistake on [August 7]. They should have understood from what they have seen from the Russians that the Russians were looking for a pretext. They [the Georgians] gave them that pretext when they decided to go in a fairly large way into South Ossetia," Pifer said. "The speed of the Russian response suggests that the Russians were ready, they were just waiting for the reason and they took that as the reason."9. New York Times analysis of the telephone transcripts:Georgia Offers Fresh Evidence on War’s StartNew York TimesDAN BILEFSKY, C..J. CHIVERS, THOM SHANKER and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZSeptember 16, 2008 article was reported by Dan Bilefsky, C. J. Chivers, Thom Shanker and Michael Schwirtz and written by Mr. Chivers.TBILISI, Georgia — A new front has opened between Georgia and Russia, now over which side was the aggressor whose military activities early last month ignited the lopsided five-day war. At issue is new intelligence, inconclusive on its own, that nonetheless paints a more complicated picture of the critical last hours before war broke out.Georgia has released intercepted telephone calls purporting to show that part of a Russian armored regiment crossed into the separatist enclave of South Ossetia nearly a full day before Georgia’s attack on the capital, Tskhinvali, late on Aug. 7.Georgia is trying to counter accusations that the long-simmering standoff over South Ossetia, which borders Russia, tilted to war only after it attacked Tskhinvali. Georgia regards the enclave as its sovereign territory.The intercepts circulated last week among intelligence agencies in the United States and Europe, part of a Georgian government effort to persuade the West and opposition voices at home that Georgia was under invasion and attacked defensively. Georgia argues that as a tiny and vulnerable nation allied with the West, it deserves extensive military and political support.Georgia also provided audio files of the intercepts along with English translations to The New York Times, which made its own independent translation from the original Ossetian into Russian and then into English.Russia, already facing deep criticism and the coolest audience in European capitals since the cold war, is arguing vigorously against Georgia’s claims. Last week, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin expressed bafflement at what he saw as the West’s propensity to believe Georgia’s version of events.In an interview arranged by the Kremlin, the Russian military played down the significance of the intercepted conversations, saying troop movements to the enclave before the war erupted were part of the normal rotation and replenishment of longstanding peacekeeping forces there.But at a minimum, the intercepted calls, which senior American officials have reviewed and described as credible if not conclusive, suggest there were Russian military movements earlier than had previously been acknowledged, whether routine or hostile, into Georgian territory as tensions accelerated toward war.They also suggest the enduring limits — even with high-tech surveillance of critical battlefield locations — of penetrating the war’s thick fogs.The back and forth over who started the war is already an issue in the American presidential race, with Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican vice presidential candidate, contending that Russia’s incursion into Georgia was “unprovoked,” while others argue that Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinvali was provocation. Georgia claims that its main evidence — two of several calls secretly recorded by its intelligence service on Aug. 7 and 8 — shows that Russian tanks and fighting vehicles were already passing through the Roki Tunnel linking Russia to South Ossetia before dawn on Aug. 7.By Russian accounts, the war began at 11:30 that night, when President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia ordered an attack on Russian positions in Tskhinvali. Russian combat units crossed the border into South Ossetia only later, Russia has said.Russia has not disputed the veracity of the phone calls, which were apparently made by Ossetian border guards on a private Georgian cellphone network. “Listen, has the armor arrived or what?” a supervisor at the South Ossetian border guard headquarters asked a guard at the tunnel with the surname Gassiev, according to a call that Georgia and the cellphone provider said was intercepted at 3:52 a.m. on Aug. 7.“The armor and people,” the guard replied. Asked if they had gone through, he said, “Yes, 20 minutes ago; when I called you, they had already arrived.”Shota Utiashvili, the director of the intelligence analysis team at Georgia’s Interior Ministry, said the calls pointed to a Russian incursion. “This whole conflict has been overshadowed by the debate over who started this war,” he said. “These intercepted recordings show that Russia moved first and that we were defending ourselves.”The recordings, however, do not explicitly describe the quantity of armor or indicate that Russian forces were engaged in fighting at that time.Competing AccountsGen. Lt. Nikolai Uvarov of Russia, a former United Nations military attaché, who served as a Defense Ministry spokesman during the war, insisted that Georgia’s attack surprised Russia and that its leaders scrambled to respond while Russian peacekeeping forces were under fire. He said President Dmitri A. Medvedev had been on a cruise on the Volga River. Mr. Putin was at the Olympics in Beijing.“The minister of defense, by the way, was on vacation in the Black Sea somewhere,” he said. “We never expected them to launch an attack.”As for the claim that Russian forces entered the enclave early on Aug. 7, General Uvarov said military hardware regularly moved in and out of South Ossetia, supplying the Russian peacekeeping contingent there.“Since we had here a battalion, they need fuel, they need products; naturally you have movement of troops,” he said. “But not combat troops specifically sent there to fight.” He added, “If it were a big reinforcement, then we wouldn’t have lost about 15 peacekeepers inside.”Georgia disputed the Russian explanation, saying that under peacekeeping documents signed by both sides in 2004, rotations of the Russian peacekeeping battalion could be conducted only in daylight and after not less than a month of advance notification. There was no notification, Mr. Utiashvili said.Why, he asked, was the duty officer at the Roki Tunnel apparently caught off guard, if this was, as the Russians said, a routine deployment of peacekeepers?Georgian officials said they provided the materials last week to the United States and France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, in addition to two reporters for The Times. The Times hired an independent Ossetian linguist in Russia to translate the recordings.Vano Merabishvili, Georgia’s minister of interior, said he was told of the intercepts by Georgian intelligence within hours of their being recorded. The information, he said, was relayed to Mr. Saakashvili, who saw them as a sign of a Russian invasion.Pressed as to why more than a month passed before the conversations came to light, Mr. Merabishvili said the file with the recordings was lost during the war when the surveillance team moved operations from Tbilisi, the capital, to the central city of Gori. Georgian intelligence officers later sifted through 6,000 files to retrieve copies, he said.The Times provided a range of American government and military officials with copies of the independent translations for comment. They cautioned that while the conversations appeared to be from genuine cellphone intercepts, no complete or official assessment could be made without access to the entire file of cellphone audio gathered by the Georgians. They said the question of provocation and response in the conflict remained under scrutiny in Washington.“We continue to look at that, both in terms of our intelligence assessment and then from what we get from on the ground,” said one senior American military officer who follows the situation in Georgia and agreed to discuss the matter on the condition of anonymity because it involved intelligence matters. “We have not been able to establish the ‘Who shot John?’ — the first shot.”Talk of Armor in TunnelGeorgia said its main evidence consisted of two conversations on Aug. 7 between Mr. Gassiev at the tunnel and his supervisor at the headquarters.In the first conversation, logged at 3.41 a.m., Mr. Gassiev told the supervisor that a Russian colonel had asked Ossetian guards to inspect military vehicles that “crowded” the tunnel. Mr. Gassiev said: “The commander, a colonel, approached and said, ‘The guys with you should check the vehicles.’ Is that O.K.?”Asked who the colonel was, Mr. Gassiev answered: “I don’t know. Their superior, the one in charge there. The B.M.P.’s and other vehicles were sent here and they’ve crowded there. The guys are also standing around. And he said that we should inspect the vehicles. I don’t know. And he went out.” A B.M.P. is a tracked armored vehicle that vaguely resembles a tank. It was one of the principal Russian military vehicles seen in the war, and in the peacekeeping contingent.At 3:52 a.m., Mr. Gassiev informed the supervisor that armored vehicles had left the tunnel, commanded by a colonel he called Kazachenko. The colonel’s first name was not mentioned. According to unrelated Russian press reports after the war, Col. Andrei Kazachenko served in the 135th Motorized Rifle Regiment. The regiment provided peacekeepers in South Ossetia and fought in Tskhinvali during the war, General Uvarov said. The general said he had no information about Colonel Kazachenko.Georgia’s claims about Russian movements appear to be at least partly supported by other information that emerged recently. Western intelligence determined independently that two battalions of the 135th Regiment moved through the tunnel to South Ossetia either on the night of Aug. 7 or the early morning of Aug. 8, according to a senior American official.New Western intelligence also emerged last week showing that a motorized rifle element was assigned to a garrison just outside South Ossetia, on Russian territory, with the aim of securing the north end of the tunnel, and that it may have moved to secure the entire tunnel either on the night of Aug. 7 or early in the morning of Aug. 8, according to several American officials who were briefed on the findings.On Sept. 3, Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry, published an article in which a captain in the 135th Regiment, Denis Sidristy, said his unit had been ordered to cease a training exercise and move to Tskhinvali on Aug. 7.After a query by The Times about the article, the Russian newspaper published an article last Friday in which the captain said the correct date for the advance to Tskhinvali was Aug. 8. Efforts to reach Captain Sidristy were unsuccessful.A U.S. Official’s AccountMatthew J. Bryza, the deputy assistant secretary of state who coordinates diplomacy in the Caucasus, said the contents of the recorded conversations were consistent with what Georgians appeared to believe on Aug. 7, in the final hours before the war, when a brief cease-fire collapsed.“During the height of all of these developments, when I was on the phone with senior Georgian officials, they sure sounded completely convinced that Russian armored vehicles had entered the Roki Tunnel, and exited the Roki Tunnel, before and during the cease-fire,” he said. “I said, under instructions, that we urge you not to engage these Russians directly.”By the night of Aug. 7, he said, he spoke with Eka Tkeshelashvili, Georgia’s foreign minister, shortly before President Saakashvili issued his order to attack. “She sounded completely convinced, on a human level, of the Russian presence,” Mr. Bryza said. “ ‘Under these circumstances,’ she said, ‘We have to defend our villages.’ ”General Uvarov, the senior Russian official, contended that the Georgians had acted rashly and without a clear understanding of their own intelligence.According to the cease-fire agreement signed in the 1990s after the first war between Georgia and South Ossetia, Russia was allowed to maintain a 500-member peacekeeping force in the region, he said. And 300 reserve peacekeepers can be deployed in emergency situations, he said.As the Georgians began their attack, about 100 reserve peacekeepers from the 135th Regiment were put on alert and moved close to the tunnel, he said. They were ordered through the tunnel to reinforce forces in Tskhinvali around dawn on Aug. 8, he said.The first Russian combat unit — the First Battalion of the 135th Regiment — did not pass through the Roki Tunnel until 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, more than 14 hours after the Georgians began shelling Tskhinvali, he said.The battalion, he said, did not reach Tskhinvali until the next evening, having met heavy Georgian resistance. Georgia disputes that account, saying it was in heavy combat with Russian forces near the tunnel long before dawn. One thing was clear by then. The war had begun.Dan Bilefsky and C. J. Chivers reported from Tbilisi, Georgia; Thom Shanker from Washington; and Michael Schwirtz from Moscow.Annex: “know your enemy” leaflet distributed to soldiers participating in the exercises in the north Caucasus in July 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Georgia: EU Mission Needs to Protect Civilians


In Security Vacuum, Frequent Attacks and Pervasive Fear

(Tbilisi, September 16, 2008) – The European Union observer mission scheduled to move into areas near South Ossetia must be given both a mandate and adequate resources to protect civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch researchers in Georgia in recent days have documented numerous attacks by Ossetians against civilians in villages in this area, which is effectively under Russian control.
“The so-called ‘security zone’ is anything but safe – it is a no-man’s land, and people there desperately need protection,” said Giorgi Gogia, Human Rights Watch’s researcher on Georgia. “Monitoring is welcome, but what is urgently needed is a robust ESDP mission authorized to do policing to protect people from militia and other attacks and allow the displaced to return safely to their homes.” The Russian military has not been allowing Georgian police into many of the villages in Georgia’s Gori district, which borders South Ossetia. Nor has the Russian military been policing the villages itself. Under an agreement reached September 8, 2008, with the Russian and Georgian governments, the EU will send 200 civilian experts and police observers under the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) to Georgia. The observers, who will be unarmed, will have a mandate to monitor but not to protect civilians in the Gori area. Three weeks after Russian forces withdrew from most parts of Gori district, tens of thousands of Georgians remain displaced, both because security is deteriorating and because many homes have been destroyed by bombing or deliberately burned. The security situation remains particularly unstable in areas close to the administrative border with South Ossetia. Displaced Gori district residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch uniformly said they feel unable to return to their homes to stay because they fear attacks by Ossetian militias and others seeking to exploit the utter lack of law enforcement in the area. “The EU says return of the displaced is a priority, but it hasn’t acknowledged the lawless situation and ongoing human rights abuses,” said Gogia. “Many who have fled are afraid to return, and those who do, face a real risk of violence. ESDP missions in other parts of the world have had policing and protection responsibilities, and there is no good reason why they can’t have them here.” Human Rights Watch researchers found that most people remaining in the villages of Gori district are elderly men and women who hope to protect their homes and property or who physically cannot leave. Some younger people from these villages venture from displaced person shelters in the town of Gori to their home villages for a few daylight hours. They look after their houses and harvest their crops, then return to the shelters. Villagers spending the night in villages either gather in one place to seek safety in numbers or hide in fields or woods near their homes. “Their fear of violence isn’t abstract,” said Gogia. “Attacks on civilians continue, and people have nowhere to turn for protection.” Human Rights Watch documented numerous attacks and threats against civilians by Ossetian militias and armed criminals in the last 10 days. For example, “Dato”, a 22-year-old villager from Abanoskoda, in the Kareli district on the administrative border with South Ossetia, described the killing of his 75-year-old grandmother on September 6. He told Human Rights Watch that on September 5 he was in the village to check on her and help with the harvest. “My father and I were harvesting crops in my grandmother’s field,” he said. “As I approached the house, two Ossetians in camouflage, armed with machine guns, stopped me and asked me who I was. One of them cocked his gun and demanded that I give him my cell phone, and I did so.” “The next evening, after going into the village, I returned to my grandmother’s house and found that my father was being held by four armed men in masks, wearing camouflage uniforms,” said “Dato. “They tried to take me and my father away. My grandmother was protesting and pulling on my father to keep him from being taken. One of them grabbed her to pull her away, and we all began to struggle. The assailants shot me twice in the right leg. They shot my father in the back, and he immediately fell down. I don’t know how my grandmother was shot, but when I was able to look at her I saw that she was dead.” “Dato” and his father survived. “Dato” remains in the hospital with a knee fracture. His father was treated for a wound to the abdomen. On September 6, a 40-year-old man, “Lado,” was driving in another Gori district village, Kvemo Artsevi, when he was stopped by two men in black ski masks and camouflage uniforms armed with machine guns and standing near a car along the side of the road. “Lado” told Human Rights Watch: “They spoke to me in broken Georgian with an Ossetian accent. One of them asked for my documents, took them, and then asked me to come with them to verify my identity. The other one started swearing at me. I was scared and so I sped away. They followed me in their car for about 2 kilometers and shot at me. The right rear window of the car was shot out. My wife and I left the village that day. I won’t go back until there are police to protect us. Those who are there made us leave.” Human Rights Watch also found new evidence of the torching of homes in South Ossetia. Multiple witnesses who recently fled Disevi, a village on the South Ossetian border, told Human Rights Watch that, as of September 13, the vast majority of houses in the village had been burned. Much of the village had been burned when Ossetian militias entered the village on August 11, but the remaining houses have been steadily targeted in recent days. One witness who arrived in Gori on September 15 stated that she saw 15 or16 houses being burned by militias in the period between September 12 and September 15. This witness told Human Rights Watch that although she had stayed in her house throughout the conflict and through the looting and burning by Ossetian militias immediately following the active fighting, the recent systematic burning had caused her to give up hope that her home would be spared. Disevi residents and residents of other villages also described a series of thefts and said they have heard frequent shooting in the past 10 days, they said they believe that the recent attacks and criminal activity have been carried out not only by Ossetian militia members, but also by civilian residents from neighboring villages taking advantage of the security vacuum. “Over the past weeks the EU has focused on the status of South Ossetia and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia proper,” said Gogia. “But it’s high time for the EU to pay equal attention to the rights and safety of the people in these areas. Ensuring that the EU’s ESDP mission can actually protect civilians and itself in the so-called buffer-zones would be a good start.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Human Rights Watch says few civilians killed in South Ossetian war

September 11, 2008
Associated Press Writer

Fewer than 100 civilians died in Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia during last month's war, human rights activists said Thursday a far smaller number than Russian and South Ossetian officials have claimed.
Tatiana Lokshina, a Russian researcher for the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch who visited the region, said trips to a hospital, a cemetery and conversations with residents failed to corroborate claims by Russia and its South Ossetian allies that about 1,500 civilians were killed in the region.
"I don't understand where the number of 1,500 comes from," Lokshina told reporters.
"Thank God, civilian deaths are not measured in thousands," she said, adding that the number of civilians who died appeared to be "fewer than 100."
Lokshina said it was impossible to determine the precise number of casualties at this point.
She said the 1,500 civilian deaths presented by South Ossetian's separatist authorities appeared to have included local militants as well as some wounded civilians who might have been taken by retreating Georgian troops to Georgia proper for treatment.
Alexander Cherkasov of Russia's leading rights group, Memorial, who also visited the region, said history has proven that the number of dead civilians could not be higher than the number of civilians wounded. He said 273 civilians were officially registered as wounded in the main hospital in South Ossetia, which treated victims of the conflict.
Georgian authorities said 169 Georgian military and police and 69 civilians had been killed in the war. The Russian military said 74 Russian servicemen died in fighting.
Russian and South Ossetian authorities have accused Georgia of masterminding a genocide of South Ossetians during the conflict, which started Aug. 7 when Georgian government forces launched an offensive to regain control over South Ossetia.
Russian forces repelled the offensive and pushed deep into Georgia.
Lokshina said researchers have not found evidence of atrocities, torture and rapes committed by Georgian troops contrary to widely publicized Russian and South Ossetian accusations.
But she said her trips to the region did reveal evidence of Georgian tanks deliberately firing at basements of apartment buildings where civilians were hiding.
There was no immediate response from the Georgian government. Russian prosecutors have launched a probe into civilian deaths and refrained from comment until it their investigation is complete.
Cherkasov said Georgian civilians have been imprisoned, beaten up, mistreated and used as forced labor by South Ossetians.
Lokshina and Cherkasov also said South Ossetian militants continue looting and destroying ethnic Georgian villages. They urged Russian authorities to reinstall checkpoints at Georgian villages and to keep searching for remaining civilians, especially the elderly.
Cherkasov said Georgian authorities told ethnic Georgians to leave their houses days before the shelling started as part of a "planned evacuation."
"This means they are not refugees, but evacuated persons," he said.
The United Nations said more than 100,000 people have been uprooted by the conflict.
While Russian soldiers have begun preparations to pull out of some of their positions outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia in line with a deal clinched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Georgian Security Council chief Alexander Lomaia said Thursday evening they had not withdrawn from any of 24 posts they still manned in Georgia.
Lomaia said even a position the Russians had appeared to be abandoning near Abkhazia on Tuesday was still manned.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that Russia would withdraw from five positions in western Georgia within a week.
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234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460 Media Contact: Lale Mamaux
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman

September 10, 2008
For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), held a hearing on Russia’s armed intervention into the Republic of Georgia. The hearing entitled, “Russia, Georgia, and the Return of Power Politics,” examined the implications for U.S-Russian relations and the European security infrastructure.
Chairman Hastings commented during the hearing, “We today inhabit a world much changed since August 7. Until now, Russia has been seen as a status quo power. With its actions in Georgia, which aim not merely to protect its client breakaway regions but to disarm Georgia, damage its economy and, if possible, effect regime change, Russia has become a revisionist state. The post-Cold War settlement is in question and may be definitively over.”
Co-Chairman Cardin noted, “Since 2000, the Russian state has relentlessly whittled away Georgian society’s freedom of expression and ability to maneuver politically. We now see aggressiveness abroad accompanying repression at home. It also is a real possibility that Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will stimulate other non-Russian peoples inside the Federation to campaign for independence, causing Moscow to possibly resort to a harder line. This could further erode chances for Russia’s democratization, in which we all have a powerful stake.”
Expert testimony was received from Mr. Matthew J. Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State; The Honorable David Bakradze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia and Former Foreign Minister; Mr. Paul Saunders, Executive Director, the Nixon Center; and Mr. Paul A. Goble, Director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku and a former USG official. Copies of all the statements and an unofficial transcript will be posted on the Commission’s website (
On September 9, Chairman Hastings introduced the “Republic of Georgia Enhanced Trade Assistance, Economic Recovery, and Reconstruction Act of 2008,” (H.R. 6851), which authorizes an expansion of trade, business and economic opportunities and assistance for reconstruction efforts and economic recovery. The legislation was introduced in response to the August 2008 war between Georgia and the Russian Federation, in which Russia destroyed critical infrastructure, disrupted domestic and regional commerce and devastated homes in villages and towns, causing the internal displacement of tens of thousands of people.
Chairman Hastings’ opening statement:
“In Russia’s August 2008 invasion of Georgia, we have witnessed a war between two OSCE states – the very contingency the Helsinki Process was designed to prevent, by basing relations among states on principles that preclude the use of force to resolve disputes.
“The human cost of this war has been terrible. Hundreds of people on both sides were killed. I extend my condolences to families of all the victims.
“For Georgia, this war has been a disaster. The country already had hundreds of thousands of displaced people from conflicts in the early 1990s. Now there are scores of thousands more to care for – not to mention the consequences of military defeat, Russia’s destruction of Georgian military and economic infrastructure and the stationing of troops around so-called security zones and strategic points, like the port of Poti. Most ominously, Russia’s victory on the battlefield has allowed it to dismember Georgia.
“In looking at the origins of this conflict, it seems to me that Russia’s leaders set an ingenious trap into which Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili fell. But however you assign responsibility, it is clear from Russian actions that Moscow turned what it characterized as a “protective operation” into a punitive war against a small country that appeared to be integrating itself into Western institutions and hoped to join NATO.
“The implications extend far beyond Georgia or the Caucasus. On August 26th, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. With this fateful step Moscow rejected Georgia’s territorial integrity, which Russia had hitherto acknowledged, thereby threatening to upend the entire international system.
“Russia’s actions have won hurrahs from the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah but very few credible international actors. Obviously, the United States and European Union refused to follow Moscow’s lead. But more telling has been Moscow’s failure to round up support even among its neighbors and ostensible allies. Their nuanced statements and especially support for the principle of territorial integrity are sober testament to the danger they feel personally – and their grim understanding that the ground under their feet has shifted.
“Indeed, we today inhabit a world much changed since August 1. Until now, Russia has been seen as a status quo power. With its actions in Georgia, which aim not merely to protect its client breakaway regions but to disarm Georgia, damage its economy and, if possible, effect regime change, Russia has become a revisionist state. The post-Cold War settlement is in question and may be definitively over.
“To drive the point home, last week President Medvedev declared that Russia will defend its citizens abroad and claimed regions of privileged interests in neighboring states with which Moscow has historically had special relations. In effect, ladies and gentlemen, the Kremlin is openly proclaiming its right to spheres of influence on the territory of former Soviet Republics – and who knows where else? I am struck by the brazen bellicosity of this policy: Russia thinks it has the right to exert influence over its neighbors not by the attraction of ideas, the lure of capital or the power of positive example but the domination of sheer force.
“This is the law of the jungle, not the rule of law. It goes without saying that the United States rejects this flagrant power grab. We will not recognize Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia or its trampling on the fundamental proposition that States must retain the right to freely choose their own alliances.
The Bush Administration has already announced plans to provide $1 billion in emergency assistance to Georgia. Along with my fellow lawmakers, I will work to speed the passage of legislation to supplement this assistance.”
Co-Chairman Cardin’s opening statement:
“If much remains unclear about the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, we can already conclude that it marks a major concern in East-West relations and relations between Russia and her neighbors.
“Most of the world has rightly condemned Moscow’s policies. But they appear to have brought political dividends at home, where Russia’s military victory has been greeted by public approval, accentuated by outbursts of xenophobic bluster. This speaks volumes about the effectiveness of state control of the media, which the Kremlin has inexorably implemented since 2000.
“In that connection, let me note one implication of this war which has received too little attention. Since 2000, the Russian state has relentlessly whittled away Georgian society’s freedom of expression and ability to maneuver politically. We now see aggressiveness abroad accompanying repression at home. It also is a real possibility that Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will stimulate other non-Russian peoples inside the Federation to campaign for independence, causing Moscow to possibly resort to a harder line. This could further erode chances for Russia’s democratization, in which we all have a powerful stake.
“President Medvedev says Moscow is not afraid of anything, including a new Cold War. I sincerely hope that is not where we are heading. But the next U.S. president, whoever he is, will certainly face a much more truculent Russia than his two predecessors.
“This hearing offers us the opportunity to look at ways that we can constructively engage Russia making it clear that its military actions cannot be condoned.”
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.
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Реинкарнация агрессора

Елена Трегубова

Вооруженный конфликт на Кавказе - Комментарии

Запад, кажется, всё еще недопонял масштабов катастрофы, перед которой оказался мир. На кону стоит уже не только Грузия.
Напав на Грузию, Кремль по сути открыто заявил о себе, как о новом мировом агрессоре, владеющим ядерным оружием, и при этом еще и богатейшими топливными запасами – агрессоре, которому ни одна из стран мира не может и не смеет ничего противопоставить. Самым ярким доказательством этого стало заявление зам.начальника российского генштаба Анатолия Ноговицына, который по сути пригрозил уничтожить Польшу ядерным ударом в случае подписания Варшавой договора с США по ПРО. Вариантов два: либо господин Ноговицын психически неадекватен (потому что не может же здоровый человек, да еще и прописанный в XXI веке, грозить ядерной бомбой не воюющему против него государству, которому еще вчера Россия клялась в добрососедстве и отсутствии агрессивных намерений) – либо на самом деле все последние годы реальная, но скрытая, позиция Кремля, генштаба и российских спецслужб и была ровно такой, но просто пряталась до удобного момента под цивилизованной маской.
А уж когда президент Медведев вслед за ним провозгласил, что «военные правы относительно ПРО в Польше», сомнений относительно того, что Ноговицын выступил от имени всей властной группировки, остаться уже не могло. Если конечно не предположить, что у них там, в центре Москвы, с бешеной скоростью распространяется некое опасное вирусное психическое заболевание, поражающее отдельных тружеников органов власти. И несмотря на то, что днем позже дипломаты спохватились, и начали слегка смягчать позицию, очевидно, что Ноговицын подхватил тот же самый вирусный штамм, который еще до всякой грузинской войны заставлял высокопоставленных российских военных угрожать Западу, как в советское время, разместить на Кубе ракеты, направленные против Штатов. А еще примерно за год до этого – та же бацилла заставила Путина публично угрожать направить русские ракеты на цели в Европе. А до этого – назвать распад СССР «величайшей трагедией ХХ века». То есть для Путина трагедия – не ГУЛаг, не уничтожение миллионов невинных людей в России и сопредельных странах, не исковерканные судьбы соседних народов, превращенных в рабов – а факт прекращения этого надругательства. Это – позиция, а не оговорка. И именно эту позицию Путин, по-прежнему остающейся главной властной фигурой в России, сегодня последовательно претворяет в жизнь – по всем фронтам.
Судя по микширующему тону, которым канцлер Ангела Меркель разговаривала в Сочи с Медведевым (как будто он – не верховный главнокомандующий, только что напавший на своего соседа и развязавший войну), вирус не обходит стороной даже и зарубежных высоких гостей, въезжающих на территорию России. Чтобы нежно назвать войну, отправку танков и бомбардировки чужой территории «непропорциональной реакцией» - это надо неимоверно вывернуться, и притвориться слепой и глухой.
Ощущение абсолютного сюра. Хочется спросить у европейских лидеров: «Вам теперь впрямую грозят ядерной бомбой – а вы все твердите об “оптимизме” и “долгосрочном партнерстве”?! Что вам еще надо для того, чтобы очнуться от гипноза?»
Стоит напомнить, что именно и персонально Германия и Франция из-за своей соглашательской позиции несут основную ответственность за то, что Кремль посмел демонстративно надругаться над международным правом и напасть на Грузию. Судьба Грузии была решена не 8 августа, а 3 апреля, на саммите НАТО в Бухаресте, когда лидеры Германии и Франции, прельстившись путинским обещаниям льготных цен на газ, взамен заблокировали вступление Грузии и Украины в подготовительный клуб НАТО.
Если бы решение взять Грузию под защиту состоялось уже тогда – то, без сомнения, не было бы ни последующих месяцев регулярных провокаций против Грузии со стороны контролируемых российскими спецслужбами сепаратистов, ни полетов российских военных самолетов над Грузией, ни «случайно» оброненных на Грузию российских ракет (напомню: тогда Кремль еще вдохновенно играл в несознанку: все это – инсинуации грузин, а русские – да ну что вы?! - никогда чужих границ не нарушают), ни целенаправленных профессиональных тренировок абхазских боевиков специалистами ГРУ для ведения военных действий на мятежных территориях.
Кремлевский блицкриг против Грузии не был ни спонтанным, ни неврастеничным: это был продуманный, и давно вынашивавшийся Путиным план, абсолютно органично соответствующий как его идеологии, так и нутряным позывам его единомышленников-силовиков. Могу поспорить, что, даже уезжая в Пекин, Путин уже прекрасно знал по разведданным о передислокациях грузин и заранее отдал приказ о начале войны. Кремль все последние месяцы только и выжидал удобного момента и наращивал провокации в Грузии, чтобы этот удобный момент подтолкнуть.
Так что теперь, оттяпав у Грузии куски территории для своих марионеточных режимов, Кремль таким образом публично наказал даже не Михаила Саакашвили (который хотя бы как мог сопротивлялся), а мировых лидеров – которые в течение первых пяти дней после начала агрессии вообще делали вид, что ничего уж такого страшного не произошло, а только «выражали обеспокоенность». И которые до этого сажали Путина и Медведева с собой за стол, как приличных, заглядывали им в глаза, и видели там какие-то обнадеживающие буквы и знаки («К, Г и Б», как передразнил Буша Маккейн), и выступали мировыми гарантами того, что этим кремлевским парням можно доверять.
Теперь маски упали: «гарант Конституции» Медведев, даже не поняв, в чем он признается, трогательно сообщил журналистам: «Та трагедия, которая случилась, приковала нас всех к телеэкранам, к интернету. И я тоже, как обычный человек, получал часть информации оттуда».
А реальный глава страны – Путин, не стесняясь, грозит Бушу отправкой наемников (простите, «добровольцев») в Грузию.
Путин все последние годы крайне успешно действовал по отношению к западным лидерам в жанре классического искусителя – сначала соблазнил их всех по одному (кого газом, кого нефтью, кого постом в Газпроме с многомиллионной зарплатой, а кого обещанием не участвовать в иракской войне на стороне противника), потом заставил их ради топливных бонусов наплевать на чужую кровь и уничтожение прав человека внутри России – а теперь уже и самих западных лидеров втоптал в грязь, вместе со всеми их амбициями «защитников международной законности» и «действенности западной демократии».
Так что теперь, когда Вашингтон объявляет о таком, например, страшном, на взгляд американцев, наказании для Кремля, как отказ в праве участвовать в совместных военных учениях, невольно жалеешь, что Джордж Буш не знает русского языка и не поймет лапидарного диагноза: напугали ежа голым мягким местом.
На Западе всё никак не поймут одной простой вещи: кремлевской группировке не надо, чтобы их уважали – им хочется, чтобы их боялись, и чтобы им платили деньги. Все. Точка. И поэтому любые попытки решить конфликт «цивилизованно» и уж тем более «компромиссно» – а не на языке жестких ультиматумов – сегодняшнее российское руководство воспринимает как «слабость врага».
Единственное уязвимое место этого нового монстра, которого Запад собственными руками вскормил за последние восемь лет своей политикой непротивления злу (а положа руку на сердце – просто прямой коррумпированностью европейских лидеров, подсевших на российскую нефтяную и газовую иглу) – то, что монстр этот страшно жаден до денег.
Понятие «быть цивилизованным» путинская группировка понимает, как иметь дом в Лондоне, яхты и виллы на итальянской и французской Ривьере, ну и как крайний изыск – дорогие безвкусные картины. А отнюдь не как «не убивать и не хапать чужое». Даже если очень хочется. И уж тем более не как «вытащить из нищеты страну», которую они давно уже воспринимают как собственную топливную колонию.
Сегодня единственным языком, который бы в Кремле поняли и остановили агрессию, могло бы стать добровольное эмбарго всех западных стран на закупки российской нефти и газа. А также запрет на въезд российских властных чиновников и ведущих «бизнесменов от власти» в европейские государства (где у большинства из них – счета и имущество, заработанное на национальных богатствах страны).
Отказ от закупок российского топлива не стал бы ни для кого из европейцев национальной катастрофой (в Германии российский газ составляет около 30 % газового импорта, во Франции около 20 %). Это просто вопрос политической воли и диверсификации топливных поставок, поиска других источников.
Но, судя по поведению канцлера Германии на переговорах с Медведевым – с газовой иглы слезать очень не хочется. Даже несмотря на то, что поставщик откровенно заявил о себе как о международном агрессоре. Западные европейцы, кажется, так до сих пор и не поняли, что эта игра в потакание агрессору рано или поздно станет смертельно опасной и для них самих, а не только для их восточных соседей.
Если категоричный, действенный и коллективный отпор военной машине, запущенной Кремлем, не будет дан прямо сейчас, то следующим шагом, который органично вписывается в логику сегодняшних кремлевских руководителей, наверняка станет еще более открытый союз с режимами-изгоями и реальный шантаж Запада с помощью Ирана.
Что же касается локального сценария развития событий в Грузии, то можно не сомневаться: в ближайшее же время Кремль попытается убрать Саакашвили. Не зря ведь в желтой газете «Твой день», имеющей в Москве репутацию кремлевского сливного бачка, сразу же после начала вторжения в Грузию была опубликована дезинформация о том, что Саакашвили, якобы, пытался покончить с собой, проиграв войну, а также прозрачный намек на то, что грузинский лидер, возможно, повторит попытки суицида и в дальнейшем. Одного ведь грузинского президента (Гамсахурдиа) уже так убрали, отрапортовав о самоубийстве. Раз уж вернулись к прежним методам – ничто не помешает применять их по полной программе.
После вторжения в Грузию ничего морально недопустимого для Кремля уже нет. И совершенно очевидно, что Грузия – это только первый полигон, на котором реинкарнировавшийся агрессор опробовал свои силы.
Довольно символично, что история российской демократии, начавшаяся чуть меньше 20 лет назад с оплакивания простыми москвичами убитых российскими саперными лопатками мирных демонстрантов, вышедших в центр Тбилиси требовать независимости Грузии от СССР, закольцевалась в ту же самую точку, и окончательно похоронена теперь введением российских войск в Грузию.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Russia continues to violate ceasefire agreement resulting in death

At 10:15am this morning, shots were fired from a nearby Russian post at a Georgian police post near the entrance to the village of Karaleti in the Gori district. As a result, a Georgian policeman, Kakha Tsotniashvili, was badly wounded in the head and throat. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. The Georgian side did not return fire.

This incident provides yet another proof that the Russian side continues to grossly violate the six-point ceasefire document. The Russian Federation’s armed forces not only do not comply with the political commitments undertaken by their President before the European Union and Georgia but go as far as to completely disregard them thus causing the death of innocent people.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the international community, European Union and OSCE in particular, to give due assessment to the killing of the Georgian policeman and employ all levers at their disposal to investigate this crime and bring perpetrators to justice.
Posted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia at 3:25 PM

Statement by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On September 6 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article by Nikolas Busse titled “Soviet war of movement in Georgia” (Sowjetischer Bewegungskrieg in Georgien).The article claims that representatives of the Georgian General Staff have briefed NATO headquarters in Brussels about the war, and says: “The representatives of the Georgian Forces have reported to the allies that they were against a military attack on South Ossetia.” It adds: “diplomats at NATO say that the statements of the General Staff could be an attempt to wash itself clean and put the blame about the lost war to Saakashvili”.The Ministry of Defence of Georgia hereby states that no representative of the Georgian General Staff have ever given NATO such a briefing. The General Staff of Georgia is under the civilian control of the democratically elected Government of Georgia, an arrangement whose effectiveness has been praised by numerous NATO assessment teams commenting on the success of the democratic reforms of Georgia’s military forces.The position of the Georgian Government on the events leading to the War and explanations why and when decisions by the Government were taken can be found in the Government document Timeline of Russian Aggression in Georgia. This document has been distributed to all NATO capitals and to NATO headquarters days before the FAZ article was published. It is self-evident that this is also the position of the Georgian Ministry of Defence and its General Staff.We are not aware of any briefings given by anyone formally connected with the Armed Forces of Georgia. Therefore, we hereby request that the NATO press office publicly respond to the false claims disseminated by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Маленькие фюреры большой страны

Автор: Андрей Гусаров, писатель и кинорежиссёр, Санкт-Петербург

Их цирк со звучным и нелепым названием Советский Союз давно уехал. Умчался экспрессом туда, откуда не возвращаются. А клоуны остались.
Племя лилипутов, чьи беленькие обнажённые торсы с большими головками, бешено вращающимися глазами и зычными, начальственными голосами, взобралось на Российский престол и руководит своим последним парадом. Они популярны на русском телевидении, на Западе их речи тоже показывают охотно. Они наперебой вещают о своих шутовских победах, проливая настоящую кровь вместо клюквенного сока. За последний их бой пьют ведрами вино такие же, как и они сами, только помельче и попузатей. Всех их нельзя назвать даже условно умными, ибо всех их, в их дрезденских резидентурах и юридических факультетах, учили одному: врать, веровать и убивать. Их учителя долго и нудно заставляли заучивать правила хорошего агрессора, рассказывать наизусть у доски об оккупации Гитлером Австрии, Чехословакии и Польши. Чертить на контурных картах стрелками танковые удары по Праге 1968 года и Варшаве 1981. И они учили, мечтая о том светлом дне, когда их мелкие, мало кому интересные личности, будут склоняться над глобусом, чертя дрожащим пальцем с грязным ногтём направление «главного удара». Ненавидя и боясь свободного мира, они нанесли первый удар по свободной Грузии, чьи государственные границы стали в одночасье для всех нас границами борьбы добра со злом.
Сороковой президент США Рональда Рейган 8 июня 1982 года сказал: «… что решительное руководство, время и надежда делают своё дело, что силы добра, объединившись, в конечном счете, торжествуют над злом».
И я верю в это, верю, что грузинский народ решит все проблемы, которые принесла ему на своих штыках русская армия, Грузия выстоит и победит, не дав повториться этой бесконечной мюнхенской истории о праве сильно вершить судьбы стран и народов. На Грузию смотрит весь мир, с надеждой и восхищением.
А они пусть врут. В истории уже был фюрер, которого сильно заботили соседние свободные страны. Гитлер, как и Путин (Президент Медведева исполняет роль ретранслятора) говорил: «Некоторые иностранные газеты заявляют, что мы коварно напали на Австрию (Грузию). На это я могу сказать одно: даже умирая, они не перестанут лгать. За время своей политической борьбы я завоевал любовь своего народа. Но когда я пересек бывшую границу (с Австрией (Грузией)), я был встречен с такой любовью, какой раньше нигде не встречал. Мы пришли не как тираны, а как освободители...». Эти слова произносил главный военный преступник 20 века семьдесят лет назад, и эти же слова сказаны Путиным (Медведевым) недавно. Между фашизмом Гитлера и режимом Путина не просто много схожего. Это одна и та же политическая система. Аграрные страны болеют коммунизмом, а индустриальные фашизмом. И Россия в этой печальной ситуации не исключение. Пигмеи правят большой страной. Путинская правящая верхушка (Медведев главный по бумажкам), одуревшая от газа и нефти решила, что ей можно всё. Шуты и скоморохи, ряженые в дорогие костюмы, взялись исправлять «главную геополитическую катастрофу XX века», забыв, что мы живём в двадцать первом.
Будем терпеливы. Мы все станем свидетелями того, как их шутовское государство развалится, а его обломки похоронят эту цирковую труппу. Последний шанс сохраниться России, как единому государству был упущен 08.08.08 года, с первыми русскими танками и БТРами, чей бравый поход под трёхцветным флагом на мирные грузинские города и сёла стал началом похоронной процессии государства российского.
Это будут длинные похороны. Сейчас циркачи улыбаются, радуясь своей сноровке. Не знают они того, что похороны начались. Катафалк, грохнув ракетой Искандер по спящему жилому дому, тронулся в последний путь по дороге всемирной истории. Будем терпеливы и великодушны. Положим ещё веночек на их могилку.
Сейчас для всех нас настал важный момент, пришел час понять, кто враг, а кто друг. Историческая миссия грузинского народа - сохранить свободу и мир, и сберечь собственное государство не только для себя и своих детей, но и для многих и многих русских, которые в лживой атмосфере кремлевской пропаганды верят в правду и свободу.
С Грузией воют русская армия, российское государство. Но нужно помнить, что за этими безликими институтами стоят конкретные люди, чьи имена весь мир будет помнить до начала международного военного трибунала: Путин, Медведев, Миронов, Наговицын…
Простой американский солдат, убитый в бою в 1917 году, написал однажды в своём дневнике небольшой текст под заголовком «Моя клятва».
«Америка должна выиграть эту войну. Поэтому я буду работать и экономить, я пожертвую всем и вынесу все лишения, я с радостью пойду на войну и буду сражаться так, как будто исход всей войны зависит от меня одного».
Сейчас, в дни российской агрессии, каждый свободолюбивый человек на земле, в Грузии и России, США и Германии, Японии и Австралии, подпишется под этими словами.

Monday, September 8, 2008

GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE: Two Jets Enter Georgian Airspace, Poti Checkpoints Reinforced



Tbilisi, 7 September 2008 - from about 11:20 AM this morning, two jets illegally entered Georgian airspace from the Russian Federation and proceeded to circle over Tskhinvali and Shatili for a period of about 45 minutes, presumably on a reconnaissance mission. The precise aircraft type could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Russian occupation forces are reinforcing, rather than vacating, its checkpoints near the strategic commercial port of Poti, which was visited by the USS Mount Whitney, the command ship of the US Navy's 6th Fleet, yesterday. The Nabada checkpoint was today expanded by 5 armoured presonnel carriers (APC) and about 50 troops. The Patara Poti checkpoint was reinforced by one APC, another vehicle and about 10 troops.
These troop movements come a day before Presidents Sarkozy and Barroso and High Representative Javier Solana are scheduled to visit Moscow and Tbilisi to ascertain the implementation of the 6-point ceasefire agreement. According to that agreement, Russian forces ought to have left Georgian core territory weeks ago already. The repeated violation of Georgian airspace and the expansion of Russia's checkpoint system far from the conflict zone suggests that the Russian Federation has no intention to honour its commitments.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Eurasia Daily Monitor,
The Jamestown Foundation - September 4, 2008, Volume 5, Issue 169

Pavel Felgenhauer

After the EU summit on September 1 in Brussels, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a press conference, "All of Europe is united" against Moscow's behavior in Georgia. "We can't go back to the age of spheres of influence; Yalta is behind us," stated Sarkozy, referring to the post-World War II conference that divided the world and created new borders throughout Europe (AFP, September 1). Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in turn claimed victory, after the EU stepped back from imposing sanctions over Russia's partial occupation of Georgia.
Medvedev in a TV interview acknowledged that not all EU member nations understood Russia's "good intentions" in Georgia, but "the majority want a constructive relationship and do not want to spoil relations." Medvedev accused the United States of arming Georgia and inspiring it to attack South Ossetia. He claimed that the G8 group of industrial democracies would be "dysfunctional without Russia, so we are not afraid someone might exclude us." Medvedev stated that Russia was ready to discuss the normalization of the situation, but not with "the present bankrupt Georgian regime," adding "President Mikheil Saakashvili for us does not exist--he is a political corpse" (, September 2).
Speaking in Uzbekistan, Putin praised EU leaders for trying to find common ground with Russia. Putin singled out Sarkozy’s use at the press conference of the expression "the Saakashvili regime," saying that in his opinion this demonstrated a convergence of views between Moscow and Paris about the present Georgian government being undemocratic and "a regime of personal power" (, September 2). Apparently, Putin wanted very much to hear what was not, in fact, said and was misled by the translation. In Russian "regime" has a strong negative meaning (for instance, fascist regime), while in French it is rather neutral (, September 2).
This week Medvedev revealed his new personal Russian foreign policy doctrine in an interview to Russian national TV channels. It states, "The world must be multi-polar," while U.S. domination "is unacceptable." Russia will defend its citizens abroad and claims to have "regions of privileged interests"--its close neighboring states, "with which we have historically special relations" (, August 31).
It is clear the Kremlin is openly claiming as its "privileged" sphere of influence the territory of the former Soviet Republics that became independent in 1991 and have sizable minorities of Russian passport-holders. The invasion of Georgia is apparently the first move to enforce this sphere to keep the West and NATO out.
Putin announced, "There are no Russian troops left in Georgia, only peacekeepers." He claimed that "There are no Russian troops in the Georgian port city of Poti, only peacekeepers nearby." He insisted that "Russian peacekeepers" would stay in the "security zones" in Georgia and, moreover, that Russia retained the right to impose "additional security measures" that it has not yet used. Putin blasted the United States for sending humanitarian aid to the port city of Batumi in southern Georgia on the Turkish border using armed naval ships. "We will surely answer,” he said, “but in a way you will know later" (, September 2).
The United States has repeatedly denied that it is sending Georgia military supplies under the guise of humanitarian aid, but the Russian Defense Ministry has declared that the U.S. military is shipping thousands of tons of supplies "including military ones" by sea to Batumi and by air to Tbilisi. Emboldened by this support, Georgia is massing troops and preparing "terrorist-guerrilla" attacks in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Interfax, September 2). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for an arms embargo on Georgia "while the Saakashvili regime exists" (Interfax, September 1).
It is possible that Moscow is ready to begin to enforce such an embargo, by invoking the "additional security measures" as part of Putin’s mysterious answer. Russian warships and tanks may be moved to Batumi and other forces to the capital of Tbilisi under the pretext of checking U.S. aid shipments. Such a move would effectively choke off Georgia's connections with the outside world.
By invading Batumi, the capital of the autonomous Ajara Republic, Russia may hope to encourage a local separatist movement to break up Georgia further. Aslan Abashidze, the warlord who ruled Ajara from 1992 to 2004, is at present in exile in Moscow. By taking over Tbilisi International Airport and causing a panic in the capital, Moscow may hope finally to topple the "Saakashvili regime" and at the same time embarrass the hated Americans.
Winter bad weather and snow in the mountains are coming soon. The Russian military has only until the end of October to finish off the job in Georgia this year. The EU summit may be seen as a green light to go ahead, while the West is ready to use only hot words that are watered down anyway by "our friends in Europe"--Italy, France, and Germany, which Putin specifically praised for their "understanding" (, September 2).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ах, война, что ты сделала, подлая

Валерия Новодворская
3 сентября 2008 г. 12:39

Не окуджавский у нас сюжет. Он-то участвовал в войне, которая имела некие оправдания. Хоть и за Сталина, но против Гитлера. Против самоопределения народов СССР, но хотя бы за территориальную целостность России и ее колоний – от Белоруссии до Таджикистана. Имея в перспективе "дело врачей" и борьбу с "безродными космополитами", но избавляя тех же евреев от газовых камер, Бабьих Яров и крематориев. Оккупируя Восточную Европу, Балтию, Украину своими красными тоталитарными полчищами, но изгоняя эсэсовцев в черных мундирах.Для России плюсов было столько же, сколько минусов; для стран Балтии, Кавказа, Украины, Чехии и Венгрии минусы в победе Сталина даже превалировали. Одни плюсы достались Западной Европе, прошедшей через нацистскую оккупацию и избегшей советской. Для Польши минусы и плюсы были равны; для Молдавии, Румынии, Бессарабии минусов было больше; для Югославии было больше плюсов, ибо СССР не смел ее тронуть. Словом, какой-никакой, а баланс.
Но в случае с Грузией мы можем отложить счеты и компы. Здесь один чистый вред для России, Грузии, мира, каждого из нас. Все по детскому стишку Маяковского "Что такое хорошо и что такое плохо?" Помните? Все однозначно. "Если бьет дрянной драчун слабого мальчишку, я такого не хочу даже вставить в книжку".
Маленькая кроткая Грузия, сделавшая России одно только добро (даже в 1991 году они дали "нулевой" вариант гражданства: всем гражданам Грузии, и русским в том числе, независимо от знания языка и срока проживания). Грузия любила нас, кормила шашлычками, поила чудным вином, приглашала на застолья с люля-кебабом и чахохбили; она восхищалась белокожими девушками; она одаривала нас кружевными соснами Пицунды, сапфировым морем Гагр, Ботаническим садом и остатками древней римской крепости в Сухуми; она вдохновляла Пастернака, воспевшего Кобулети ("Обнявший, как поэт в работе, /Что в жизни порознь видно двум, —/ Одним концом — ночное Поти,/ Другим — светающий Батум").
В Поти российские оккупанты, которые контролируют город и порт, а после обеда в ресторане на просьбу заплатить расплачиваются автоматными очередями. Из города выгнали полицию и местную власть и не пускают туда независимых и грузинских журналистов. Туда попадают только "продажники" (хороший украинский термин), работающие на путинскую хунту. В Батуми стоит, слава Богу, авангард натовского флота. По дивному пляжу шагают российские сапоги: наконец-то помыли - если не в Индийском океане, то хотя бы в чужом порту. А Гагры, Пицунда, Сухуми – все это Грузия утратила навсегда.
Грузия нас любила, но она любила и свободу, и за это взбесившаяся от безнаказанности путинская Россия разорвала на части ее живое, прекрасное тело, четвертовала и распяла ее. Когда-то, будучи сатрапом от КПСС, Эдуард Шеварднадзе заявил, что солнце для Грузии встает на Севере. Нет! С севера пришла беда похуже монгольского или персидского нашествия. Сегодня Шеварднадзе умоляет своих бывших "корешей" и "подельников" вывести из Грузии войска. Как будто он не знает, что у КГБ нет милосердия. Россия пошла танковыми колоннами на грузинский кинематограф, на грузинских поэтов и писателей, на Тамару и Демона, на Грибоедова и Нину Чавчавадзе.
Ничего, кроткие грузины научатся нас ненавидеть. И когда-нибудь пролитые из-за нас слезы угнетенных народов превратятся в наш локальный Потоп, и мы утонем в них. Эта подлая война обязывает каждого порядочного россиянина стать в пятую колонну. Сегодня мы все грузины, в ком еще не умерла совесть. Я плохо знаю грузинский язык. Но я знаю слово "ara" ("нет") и фразу "Poutin cartvéli eris djalatia" (Путин – палач грузинского народа). И, сказав это, я разрываю дипломатические отношения с чекистским государством, и даже не оставляю консульский отдел.
Какая там "восьмерка"! В войне против Финляндии в 1939 году Сталин потерял место в Лиге Наций, а за Грузию нас должны выкинуть из ООН! И никогда приличные люди из российских пределов не должны ездить на абхазские курорты, чтобы не стать соучастниками международного разбоя. В этой путинской войне против Грузии, против будущего, против человечества, нам нужно одно только поражение Кремля. Одно на всех! Мы за ценой не постоим.

A confusion of ‘peacekeepers’

Financial Times

September 2, 2008
By Quentin Peel

Exactly who is fooling whom in Georgia? Russia claims to have its troops there as “peacekeepers”, although they were an important party to the conflict. Now the European Union intends to send 200 civilian peace “monitors”, although they will not be allowed into the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where mass expulsions of ethnic Georgians have been taking place.
Monday’s decision by EU leaders in Brussels demands Russian troops return to where they were on August 7, the day when hostilities broke out in South Ossetia. At that time, the vast majority were in Russia, many in the garrison town of Vladikavkaz.
At least, that is where they were supposed to be. If they were already inside South Ossetia on August 7, then the Georgian claim they attacked Tskhinvali that night in response to a Russian invasion will be proved true. Russia maintains its tanks only entered on August 8.
The trouble is, there is not a hope in hell Russia will pull its troops out of South Ossetia now. It has recognised the territory’s independence and promised to reinforce its military security. The South Ossetians have officially requested the establishment of a full-scale Russian base there.
Nor will Russia pull out many of the estimated 9,000 troops it poured into Abkhazia, the other secessionist region that has now declared independence.
The EU leaders decided to “postpone” negotiations about a new partnership and co-operation agreement with Russia until the troops are back where they were on August 7. That is what the original ceasefire agreement, negotiated by Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, with Dmitry Medvedev, his Russian counterpart, clearly stated. Mr Sarkozy flies back to Moscow on August 8 to insist on the point.
If the EU is serious, it would mean the partnership talks would have to be postponed indefinitely, if the Russian troops do not go home. Or will the EU simply allow Russia to define the terms of its disengagement?
The best Mr Sarkozy can hope for is that they pull out of the so-called “buffer zone” they have set up around South Ossetia and Abkhazia, deep inside undisputed Georgian territory. That is the only area that 200 unarmed EU monitors will be allowed near. The same is likely to be true for another 100 military monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Yet mass ethnic cleansing seems to have been taking place in the buffer zones and secessionist territories. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that some 138,000 people have fled south from the two territories. There is no reliable information from inside South Ossetia. The numbers suggest the vast majority of ethnic Georgians have been expelled.
OSCE monitors were told last week they could not enter even the Russian buffer zone as their safety from roaming bands of Ossetian militia could not be guaranteed. “Hard to understand why, if they are supposed to be in charge,” an OSCE diplomat said.
Russian officials refer to their troops as “peacekeepers”. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, said on Tuesday there were no “Russian troops” left in the Georgian buffer zones, only “peacekeepers”. Whatever they are, they have failed to stop the ethnic cleansing.
By sending in the troops and tanks, and recognising Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence, Russia has changed the reality on the ground. Moscow insists negotiations to put monitors on their territory must be conducted with the independent governments. No one else in the OSCE or EU recognises them as independent.
As for the ceasefire’s final point – that international discussions will be held “on the arrangements for security and stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia” – Russia has simply pre-empted them by its own “arrangements”. Any international negotiations seem an exercise in futility.



Press release
September 3, 2008

PRESIDENT BUSH: Last month, Russia invaded a sovereign neighbor and violated Georgia’s territorial integrity. The people of Georgia withstood the assault from the Russian military, and the international community rallied to stand with the people of Georgia and their democratically elected government.
Early in the crisis, I directed a series of steps to demonstrate America’s solidarity with Georgia, including instructing Secretary Gates to oversee a mission by the U.S. military to provide humanitarian aid for the people of Georgia. Since the conflict began, our Nation has provided nearly $30 million in humanitarian assistance to Georgia, including more than 1,200 tons of food and other relief supplies delivered by the U.S. military. While that mission continues, the United States is also prepared to help Georgia rebuild and regain its position as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
On Monday, September 1, European leaders announced that the European Union is prepared to provide aid for reconstruction in Georgia, including the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and would soon convene an international conference to assist Georgia in its reconstruction. The United States applauds the actions taken by the European Union, and we will participate in the EU’s reconstruction conference.
As part of America’s contribution to this international effort, today, I am announcing $1 billion in additional economic assistance to meet Georgia’s humanitarian needs and to support its economic recovery. More than half of these funds will be made available in the near term and will support reconstruction efforts in Georgia, assist the Government of Georgia in leading the nation’s recovery, and meet ongoing humanitarian needs, including the resettlement of displaced families. The balance of the funds, together with assistance from the European Union and other partners, will help the Government of Georgia rebuild critical infrastructure and help local communities and businesses get back on their feet. My Administration looks forward to working with Congress on elements of this package. The Vice President will brief Georgia’s leadership on this package when he visits Tbilisi tomorrow.
Today, I have also directed a number of Federal agencies to expand their support for Georgia’s economic recovery. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab will take steps to expand trade and investment in Georgia, by negotiating an enhanced bilateral investment treaty and expanding preferential access to the U.S. market for Georgian exports. Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez will assist U.S. firms interested in trade and investment in Georgia and dispatch a trade mission to Georgia in the coming weeks. Secretary of Transportation Peters will make available risk insurance to support U.S. maritime commerce with Georgia. Secretary of the Treasury Paulson will continue to lead our efforts to coordinate assistance efforts with international financial institutions, and Secretaries Rice and Gates will continue to coordinate with our international partners to ensure that our aid is delivered swiftly to those who need it most.
Georgia has a strong economic foundation and leaders with an impressive record of reform. Our additional economic assistance will help the people of Georgia recover from the assault on their country, and continue to build a prosperous and competitive economy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In South Ossetia, I witnessed the worst ethnic cleansing since the war in the Balkans

«The Guardian» (UK)
Monday September 1 2008
Russia's cruel intention

Luke Harding

After three weeks in Georgia reporting on the war and its aftermath, I find one conversation sticks with me. I had arrived in Karaleti, a Georgian village north of Gori. I had gone there with a group of foreign journalists in a Russian army truck; our ultimate destination was Tskhinvali, in South Ossetia. Several houses along the main road had been burned down; an abandoned Lada lay in a ditch; someone had looted the local school.
Refugees from Karaleti and nearby villages gave the same account: South Ossetian militias had swept in on August 12, killing, burning, stealing and kidnapping. Sasha, our Kremlin minder, however, had a different explanation. "Georgian special commandos burned the houses," he told us. I demurred, pointing out that it was unlikely Georgian special commandos would have burned down Georgian villages north of Tskhinvali, deep inside rebel-held South Ossetia. Sasha's face grew dark; he wasn't used to contradiction. "Those houses suffered from a gas or electricity leak," he answered majestically.
Despite Sasha's inventive attempts to lie, it's evident what is currently happening in Georgia: South Ossetian militias, facilitated by the Russian army, are carrying out the worst ethnic cleansing since the war in former Yugoslavia. Despite the random nature of these attacks, the overall aim is clear: to create a mono-ethnic greater South Ossetia in which Georgians no longer exist.
Before Georgia's attack on Tskhinvali on August 7/8, South Ossetia was a small but heterogeneous region, a patchwork of picturesque Georgian and Ossetian villages. Georgia's government controlled a third; the separatists and their handlers from Russia's spy agencies controlled another third, principally around the town of Tskhinvali; the other third was under nobody's control. Surprisingly, both groups coexisted in South Ossetia.
A week after the conflict started I drove up to Akhalgori, a mountain town, 41km north-west of Tbilisi. South Ossetian militias, together with Russian soldiers from Dagestan, had captured the town the previous evening. Most residents had already fled; by the bus stop I found a group of women waiting for a lift. The town had no history of ethnic conflict, they said. Its population was mixed. Now almost all the Georgians had fled. I asked a militia leader, Captain Elrus, whether his men had ethnically cleansed Georgian villages between Tskhinvali and Gori. "We did carry out cleaning operations, yes," he admitted.
The Kremlin's South Ossetian allies have re-established the old Soviet borders of South Ossetia. This new, greater territory will, as South Ossetia's parliamentary speaker made clear on Friday, become part of the Russian Federation: a large Georgian-free enclave stretching almost to the suburbs of Tbilisi.
Back in Karaleti, meanwhile, villagers are continuing to flee. After August 12, dozens escaped on foot, walking for three days across the fields, hiding from the militias and eating wild plums. South Ossetian gunmen are preventing refugees from returning, and forcing the few elderly residents who remain to leave as well. The Russian military has done nothing to stop this. Its peacekeeping mandate is little more than a pretext for occupation. There are Russian checkpoints between Gori and Tskhinvali.
EU leaders meet today in Brussels to discuss how to respond to Russia's invasion and occupation of Georgia, and President Dmitry Medvedev's unilateral recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence. Already the European appetite for sanctions appears to be fading, with the French and the Germans signalling an unwillingness to punish Moscow. But the EU needs to be clear about what is happening. Russia is not merely redrawing the map of Europe but changing its human geography too.