Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Impasse or the impossible Georgian affair? (updated)

The Russian invasion of Georgia that Kremlin's bosses euphemistically call "peace enforcement operation" is turning hot. Just happened to watch the joint press conference of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Serguei Lavrov, and OSCE acting head the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Alexander Stubb on BBC. Aswers of the OSCE acting head were short, concise and diplomatic. However, the tone of the Russian Foreign Minister was grim when asked about possibility to find a solution to the present conflict. The Russian official simply reiterated announcements of the Russian PM (Putin), the Head of the majority United Russia Party and Speaker of the Russian Duma (Gryzlov) and Federation Council (S. Mironov) - that the current leadership of the Republic of Georgia must leave the office(!!!). After the collapse of the USSR Russia is back in its "near abroad", and without any disguise it acts like a bear in the porcelain shop.

It is just incredulous to hear from the current Kremlin's leadership (in a country without a real press freedom) that the democratically elected president of a neighboring country (Georgia) must step down! Since 1898 Fashoda incident no democracy has ever attacked other democracy in a modern era. It seems that Russia with its questionable behavior wants to officially disqualify itself from the honour to be called democracy for a foreseeable future!

Russian propaganda about the thousands of civilian casualties in the capital of South Ossetia Chinvali have not been proven by any other media channels except the Kremlin's controlled Russian ORT and RTR. Alexander Stubb confirmed that the Finnish president Tarja Halonen has negotiated with her Russian counterpart the right for Alexander Stubb to visit Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia) to asses the magnitude of the Kremlin's called civilian catastrophe. In the meantime Human rights watch, independent and other Russian media channels ask, where are those thousands of civilian casualties, that Kremlin controlled media has been blaming "the Georgian leadership of slaughtering" for days in a row now?

I just had to give an interview to the Latvian Public Radio and the correspondent asked me whether the Russian adventure might spill over to other areas of the former Soviet Union (Crimea in Ukraine, Northern Kazakhstan), and possibly Latvia? My answer was that although imminently unlikely it very much depends on Russian experience in Georgia, and that further actions of Kremlin's bosses will be determined by the outcome of its Caucasian adventure. To support their Georgian colleague in dire times Polish and Estonian presidents together with their Lithuanian and Ukrainian colleagues, and Latvian PM flew to Tbilisi, according to Postimees. In the meantime the French president should visit his Russian counterpart today, and later he should be in Georgia to meet president Mikhail Saakashvilli.

News just came in that the Russian president has ordered the Russian military to halt all military operations in Georgia, while the Georgian army has taken defensive positions around the capital city Tbilisi. It is a good news for an instant, while the military actions still take place in Kodori gorge in Abhasia!

It is really interesting how the mutually agreed position on conflict final resolution and future coexistence will be found, because Kremlin bosses have now publicly announced that they do not even want to speak with the current Georgian representatives?


French and Russian presidents should have a joint press conference any time soon. In the meantime there is a mass rally in Tbilisi. Whilst seeing the body language of public speeches and knowing the high number of ethnic Georgian refugees driven out from their homes in Abhasia and South Ossetia I feel that Kremlin has miscalculated again. With the latest adventure they have made their traditional and historic ally in Caucasus one of their staunchest foe for a long time.

Perhaps the peace will hold after all, and in the long run it will also settle the new development for the post-Soviet space. Rather ominously there were two looks into the future from the Baltic Sea area by Juka Rislaki and Ernests who published their latest cartoons in today's Diena.

Q: Is it a real end of the USSR?

(The Russian army is bombing Joseph Stalin's native town)

Medvedev&Putin: "We are the guarantors of peace and material abundance!"

Soviet ghost: "We feel sorry for the lost superpower"


Anonymous said...

Thank you! I like your thoughts and respect your opinion. But if we talk about some agression from Russias side against Baltic States i will call it a little bit arrogant. Russias "peace enforcement operation" is consequence of Russias and of South-Ossetian joint venture which is handled by bandits and checkists and Saakashvilli destroyed it. South-Ossetia is not a state or country, its a joint venture of checkists and ossetinian bandits to master money in campain against Georgia. But this is other story.... So with this i wanted to say as a big egoist that i really hope that Russias "peace enforcement operation" is exactly that what i mentionet previously BUT I totally agree that, let’s call it military incursion in territory of Georgia, is nonsense of 21st century and will make people who are JUST watching TV think about indispensableness of International Organisations…

Baltic said...

To KK:

I did not understand hat did you mean by arrogance?

Former Chess World Champion and unofficial leader of the fractional Russian opposition Mr Kasparob in his blog (http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=48A0537D80049) calls Russian aggression an aggression with historic precedent.

If we compare the South Ossetian events with ones in Bohemia and later dismemberment of the Czechoslovak state after 1938, then similarities are there.

However, today the story is more complicated and the economic nd political interdependence makes the playground more sophisticated and does not allow us to use simplistic comparisons.

Lets wait till the press conference of Nicols Sarkozy, and then lets see how the business evolves.

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